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Academics

ITA Screening & Course

Academic Spoken English for International Teaching Assistants

Are you a new International Teaching Assistant here at UMass Amherst?

If so, the ESL program is here to assist you throughout your first semester by offering though the Graduate School a non-credit course focused on aspects of academic spoken English, cross-cultural awareness, pronunciation, and best pedagogical practices relevant for teaching in university contexts within the U.S. To find out if you are eligible to partipate in the course, you will first need to take a spoken English proficiency screening. Current information on both the screening and the course can be found below.

Fall 2020 Information

Spoken English Proficiency Screening

Dates available:

08/10/2019 (Monday)

08/12/2020 (Wednesday)

08/14/2020 (Friday)

08/18/2020 (Tuesday)

08/20/2020 (Thursday)

     CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP (or copy-paste this link into your browser: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/805094AA9A82CA1FE3-itaspoken2

Location: Remote

All screenings take place remotely.  You will need internet access, a webcam, a microphone, and a browser that runs Flash. Specific instructions will be sent to your UMass emaill address a few days prior to your sign up date. The test will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and you will need to complete it in one sitting without breaks.

Course

ESL600 Academic Spoken English for International Teaching Assistants (NON-CREDIT)

Instructor: Simon Wang, swang@umass.edu
Section 1: Mondays 5-6:30pm; Section 2: Thursdays 5-6:30pm
Location: Zoom & Moodle

Information about the Course

Who is eligible to take ESL600 ASE for ITAs?

During your first semester of teaching as an international graduate teaching assistant, you will be contacted with information about signing up for a spoken English proficiency screening. The screening is scheduled in hour segments, but only takes about 30 minutes to complete. All screenings will be administered in the Language Lab in the basement of the Herter Annex. Based on the results on this screening, you may be eligible to attend this weekly non-credit course. The ESL program will notify you within 3 days if you are eligible and the course will begin the following week.

Please do not try to enroll in the course through SPIRE. Your instructor will enroll you via Moodle.

Other international graduate students, ITAs who pass the screening, or international faculty can also take the course if seats are available. Please contact adallas@umass.edu to find out if there are open seats in a given semester.

What will be covered in the seminar? What activities will you participate in?

The topics covered in this course include, but are not limited to:

  • Sounds of American English: American Phonetic Alphabet
  • Prosodic Features of American English: Stress, Thought Groups, Intonation, Emphasis, Reduction, & Linking
  • Characteristics of a “Good” University Instructor
  • Describing Visuals
  • Rapport Building with Students
  • Interactive Lectures
  • Leading Discussions & Labs
  • Solving Communication Breakdowns
  • Dealing with Difficult Situations
  • Office Hours

Activities you will participate in include discussions, role plays, and self & peer evaluation of teaching. 

 

For more information, please contact esl@umass.edu or adallas@umass.edu