International Teaching Assistant Program

The International Teaching Assistant Program supports Temple University’s commitment to teaching excellence and linguistic and cultural diversity. It also fosters a learning environment where undergraduate students can benefit from interaction with international teaching assistants.

By law in Pennsylvania, all university classroom instructors who are not native English speakers must be certified in English before they may begin teaching.  


How does Temple know that my English is good enough to let me work as a teacher’s assistant?

Temple University administers the Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) test to evaluate the English-speaking ability of teaching assistants whose native language is not English.

All international teaching assistants, including those who have received the minimum scores required in the TOEFL iBT, are required to contact the International Teaching Assistant Program to obtain a Certification of English Language Fluency before the beginning of the semester. 

Find out more about the SPEAK test.

How can I improve my language skills?

If you are an instructor whose native language is not English, you can enroll in Temple University’s three-credit graduate course titled English for Foreign Students (ITA 5221). Offered in both the fall and the spring, this course will prepare you to communicate effectively in the classroom and during office hours. Improve your English fluency and your knowledge of university culture and learn effective teaching practices in the classroom, the studio and the lab. 

Am I required to take this course?

Students who receive below a 50 on the SPEAK test must take this course. (See the information about SPEAK test scoring.) If you have not yet received your SPEAK test score, you must register for and attend ITA 5221 until you do.

However, we recommend that every international teaching assistant take this course, especially if you have no teaching experience. It will give you confidence in your English and especially in your ability to teach an American class effectively. 


How to Apply

Register with the ITA Program and for the SPEAK test, and submit exemption documents here.


For more information about Temple’s International Teaching Assistant Program, contact Janice Duenas-McKnight at

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