International GTAs

Teaching Support for International GTAs and GLAs

International GTAs/GLAs can receive guidance and support in the form of coursework, seminars, and observations/coaching.

1)   International GTA/GLA Course

 ESL 7500 Teaching at the University for International GTAs is a semester-long course designed to improve the classroom communication and general teaching skills of international graduate teaching assistants. The course provides instruction and practice in classroom language and intercultural skills, as well as general teaching techniques. During the semester, students give several short field-specific presentations, which are videotaped, and receive feedback from classmates and the instructor. Students also observe undergraduate courses in their field of study to focus on classroom interactions, lesson presentation, or instructor’s communication with students to confirm understanding.

This 3-credit hour (pass/fail) course is offered during the fall and spring semesters. It can stand alone as a general foundation course for new teachers or serve as a vital supplement to departments’ pedagogy courses often designed for native English speakers.

For class schedule listings, go to GoSolar and search for English Second Language or contact Sarah Kegley, ESL Director, Department of Applied Linguistics/ESL, skegley@gsu.edu or 404-413-5191.

Prerequisite: If students are recommended to complete ESL 7250 per their ISSS GSTEP evaluation, they must successfully complete that course before registering for ESL 7500. For information about the GSTEP, contact the GSTEP Testing Coordinator at 404-413-5200.

2)   Workshops for International GTAs/GLAs

 Workshops for international GTA/GLAs are available through the Center for Instructional Innovation (CII). Topics include effective classroom communication skills, practical teaching suggestions for enhancing the multicultural classroom, and giving effective feedback. Check the CII events calendar at http://cii.gsu.edu or request a specific workshop by contacting Viviana Cortes, vcortes@gsu.edu , 404-413-5195.

3)   International GTA/GLAs Teaching Observations

Both new and experienced instructors can benefit from discussing their teaching with colleagues. Faculty trained in second language acquisition/classroom teaching can visit your class or lab and talk with you about your teaching (e.g., classroom communication skills, differing cultural expectations of your students, presentation styles, lesson planning). The observer will meet briefly with you to discuss your needs, visit your class/lab, and offer oral and written feedback and coaching. Observations are confidential.

To request an observation, contact Viviana Cortes, CII ESL/Cross Cultural Communication issues, vcortes@gsu.edu  or 404-413-5195.

4) TIPS FOR TEACHING:  Non-Native English Speaking Students

Today’s GSU students come from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and many are nonnative English speakers (NNES). Teaching these students can present puzzling challenges. Some students, for example, do well on tests but rarely speak in class; when they do speak, they may be difficult to understand. Others may be vocal and sound native-like but struggle with academic reading and writing tasks.

NNES students at GSU tend to fall into two categories:

(1) international students who completed their secondary education in another country

(2) residents who have U.S. high school degrees but who may speak a language other than English outside the classroom. International students are often more challenged by listening and speaking in English than by writing and reading.

NNES residents are generally comfortable with conversational English but may be challenged by academic tasks.  Mastering the language of academia requires time, especially for tasks performed in real-time, such as note-taking, in-class discussions, and writing against time limits.
To help NNES students succeed, professors need not revamp their teaching style, but
modifications can help. The following suggestions (Tips for Teaching Non-native English Students) are based on observations from teachers in GSU’s ESL Credit Program and the Intensive English Program; from surveys of NNES students at GSU; and from advice compiled from teaching centers of other U.S. universities.
–Margareta Larsson, Lecturer
Applied Linguistics and ESL, GSU

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