International Teaching Assistant Program

The International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Program supports Temple University’s commitment to excellence in teaching, and linguistic and cultural diversity.

By law in Pennsylvania, all university classroom instructors who are not native English speakers must be certified in English before they may begin teaching.  International graduate assistants must register with the ITA Program to verify English language proficiency.

Steps to verification of English language proficiency:

1. Register as a Temple University ITA

2.  At the point of registration, you may:

a. Submit documentation for SPEAK test exemption, OR

b. Schedule an appointment to take the SPEAK practice and test

3.  If you do not receive a score of 50 or above on the SPEAK and you are not exempt, you must take the Graduate Level English Communication (GLEC) course which will provide language support through coursework that focuses on participation, presentation skills and pronunciation.  

FAQ

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 a teaching assistant or graduate student whose native language is not English, you can enroll in Temple University’s non-credit graduate course titled Graduate Level English Communication (IELPSP1239). Offered during both the fall and spring semesters, this course will prepare you to communicate effectively in and out of the classroom. You will improve your English fluency and your knowledge of university culture as well as learn effective teaching & presentation 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 IELPSP1239 until you do.

However, all non-native English speaking graduate students are welcome to enroll in the course, especially if you have no teaching experience or have not previously studied in a U.S. university. It will give you confidence in your English; especially in your ability to teach & present effectively in a U.S. classroom.