AAE 452 – Language of the American Classroom for ITAs

This course is designed to help prepare non-native English speaking international graduate students to teach undergraduate classes at Michigan State University by providing them with extensive practice with the language necessary for classroom instruction. The course will focus on understanding the cultural components of the American university classroom as well as the grammar, vocabulary, and suprasegmental features of English necessary to effectively performs teaching tasks such as defining terms, explaining graphics, explaining a process, giving instructions, making announcements, clarifying, correcting, etc. Students will practice a variety of presentation skills and classroom interaction strategies that will enable effective and culturally-appropriate classroom communication. This course is best suited to those students who have not yet passed the MSU Speaking Test and who would benefit from additional practice in the specific language of classroom instruction.

Students in AAE 452 will work to achieve the following student learning outcomes:

  • Recognize the suprasegmental features of English (word stress, sentence stress, rhythm, intonation, pausing, phrasing, linking) that contribute to comprehensibility and the factors that govern the use of these features
  • Demonstrate effective suprasegmental features of English in conveying information, clarifying, correcting, and performing other language functions central to teaching
  • Identify and accurately produce a range of field-specific vocabulary and vocabulary of instruction and classroom management
  • Employ effective strategies to compensate for linguistic weaknesses (including teaching strategies)
  • Identify gaps between their linguistic needs in the classroom and their current abilities.
  • Identify ways in which teacher and student roles in American universities are similar to and/or different from teacher and student roles in their own cultures.
  • Demonstrate sociolinguistic competence/knowledge in the handling of student/teacher interactions.
  • List common qualities associated with effective teaching in the U.S. and ways these qualities are manifest in the structure and language of the classroom
  • Effectively perform teaching tasks typical in their field, such as defining terms, explaining graphics, explaining a process, giving instructions, making announcements, etc.
  • Employ effective presentation skills to deliver an intended message clearly and coherently

AAE 451 & 452 Eligibility

Students with an MSU Speaking Test score of 40 or 45 may request enrollment in AAE 451 or 452.  The ITA Program coordinator will work with students to determine whether AAE 451 or 452 best suits their needs.

Registration & Tuition

Students do not enroll directly into ITA support courses.  To request an ITA support course, eligible students must first initiate a request online through the MSU Speaking Test System. Prospective students in the course will then be contacted by the ITA Program coordinator with further information and instructions.  In most cases, students will be invited to attend an ITA advising session where the ITA Coordinator will gather information in order to make the most appropriate course recommendation.

AAE 452 meets three times per week for ten weeks.  Tuition is calculated at the rate of a 3-credit course and students may use part of their tuition waiver if they have one.  The prerequisite for enrolling in the course is an MSU Speaking Test score of 40 or 45 and placement by the ITA Coordinator.  Priority in enrollment is given to students who already have TA appointments.

ITA Program Course Policies

  • Students in ITA support courses will be assigned grades for coursework on the 4.0 MSU scale.  However, AAE 451, 452, and 453 are in the university Pass/No Grade system, which means that the final semester grade that appears on students’ transcripts will be a P (Pass) or an N (No Grade).
  • Students in any ITA language support courses are required to maintain at least 90% attendance and 80% satisfactory completion of all coursework. If students are absent more than 10% of the course, including time missed due to coming late or leaving early, they will not be able to achieve a score of P (Pass) in the course.  Similarly, if they fail to complete course assignments or do not do so satisfactorily, they will not be able to achieve a final semester score of P (Pass).
  • Successful completion of AAE 451 and 452 makes a student eligible to take the ITAOI (International Teaching Assistant Oral Interaction).  This test is administered and scored by the ELC Testing Office.  Students will receive information about this test directly from the testing office toward the end of the semester.  For more information about the test or testing policies, please visit the ELC Testing Office ITAOI website or email the office at testing@elc.msu.edu.
  • Achieving a P (Pass) in an ITA support course does not clear a student to teach at MSU.  In order to teach at MSU, students must demonstrate adequate proficiency on one of the oral proficiency exams administered by the ELC Testing Office.  For more information on these policies, please see the MSU Policy page for ITAs at https://grad.msu.edu/tap/speak or the ITA Program home page.

For questions about ITA support courses AAE 451, 452, or 453, contact ITA Program Coordinator Alissa Cohen at ITAprogram@elc.msu.edu.

For questions about the MSU Speaking Test or ITAOI, contact the ELC Testing Office at testing@elc.msu.edu.