International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Training Program


The University of Delaware’s International Teaching Assistant Training Program is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and administered by the English Language Institute (ELI). The program is held for four weeks in July/August and for two weeks in January before the international teaching assistants (ITAs) assume their instructional duties.

Note: This is not a program that students can apply for.

Participant Calendar
  • Acceptance Deadline: June 2, 2014 – you must return your registration form to OISS by this date.
  • Move-In Day: July 16, 2014 – This is the first day that registered participants can move into the dorms.
  • Start Date: July 16, 2014 – the program starts on this date with Registration and on-boarding for payroll.
  • SPEAK Test: July 16, 2014 – All students take an English intelligibility test.
  • UDIA Test: July 17-18, 2014 – All students take a teaching test on these days.
  • Opening Day: July 21, 2014 – All students and teachers meet for the program convocation. Classes start.
  • End Date: August 15, 2014 – the program classes ends on this date.
  • Final UDIA Test: August 14-15, 2014 – Final teaching tests for students who did not achieve a passing score at the beginning of the session.
  • Last Move-Out Day: August 15, 2014 – all program participants must move out of the dorms by this date.
  • Stipend: $1,100.00 – See below for an explanation of your stipend.

At the beginning of the program on July 16, 2014, you should report to the English Language Institute (ELI), 108 East Main Street, by 9:00 am for registration and on-boarding in the UD computer system. During the next three days, you will be tested for general English language proficiency and instructional/speaking skills in a classroom setting, using the SPEAK, the institutional version of the Test of Spoken English (TSE), and the UDIA, a test which assesses language in an instructional setting. The results of these two tests will be used to determine your readiness for instructional duties and to determine which courses you will participate in during the training program. The tests are re-administered at the end of the program. International teaching assistants who do not pass these tests at the end of the program and/or who are not recommended for instructional assignments should enroll in the fall semester International Teaching Assistant Language Tutoring program. Low test results will not cancel your fall semester funding, but will affect your instructional assignment. Failure to achieve appropriate scores by the end of December is likely to affect (perhaps cancel) your funding in the spring semester.

Program Description

Linguistically-oriented, the program focuses on language use for instructional purposes and provides an orientation to American classroom culture and basic pedagogy.

Linguistic Training

The program’s linguistic training activities include:

  • A drama-based oral intelligibility class which addresses specific aspects of ITA speech that affect comprehensibility: intonation, stress, rhythm, pitch, projection, reductions, fluency, idiomatic language, etc. This class works in close conjunction with afternoon tutoring.
  • Daily small group tutoring sessions of 1 1/2 hours, which focus on improving the individual pronunciation of ITAs whose speaking proficiency is particularly low.
  • Daily classroom communication activities during the culture/pedagogy class such as: listening and paraphrasing; compensating skills (use of the chalkboard, handouts, questioning); non verbal communication; humor; and idiomatic, colloquial, and student language.

Cultural Orientation

Cultural orientation to the American university classroom is addressed in mock teaching situations and feedback on these sessions. Additional presentations by members of the University administration and faculty address such topics as:

  • Issues of concern in American higher education and at the University of Delaware;
  • The background and selection of University of Delaware students;
  • Acceptable and unacceptable student behavior, and campus resources available for problem students;
  • The ITA experience and American students’ expectations of foreign instructors.


The pedagogical component of the program focuses on practicing skills such as:

  • Making effective oral explanations;
  • Asking and answering questions and leading discussions;
  • Tutoring and conferencing techniques;
  • Establishing rapport and a good classroom environment;
  • Preventing and handling cheating;
  • Recognizing and handling acceptable and unacceptable student behavior.

For observing teacher/student interaction and teaching styles, participants may also visit available summer session classes and/or laboratories in their departments, if available.

All instruction is contextualized in a series of videotaped sessions made by the participants in a variety of simulated teaching situations. Taped performances are reviewed and critiqued with the instructors for linguistic clarity, cultural appropriateness, and pedagogical effectiveness.

The ELI tests participants at the beginning and again at the end of the program for their oral English competency, using the SPEAK, a test of spoken English proficiency and the UDIA, a teaching test, which supplements the SPEAK by assessing overall language skills, cultural skills, questioning skills and basic teaching skills as the ITA teaches his/her subject to a group of students. Final testing determines participant readiness for instructional duties. Results of final testing will determine an ITA’s instructional duties.

Find out More

For more information, contact:

Ken Hyde, Coordinator
English Language Institute University of Delaware
108 East Main St. Newark, Ste. 200, DE 19711
Telephone: (302) 831-2567


Revised SPEAK and UDIA Scores for Instructional Assignment
Revised by a faculty committee in 1998

I 55 250 Instructor of record, i.e. full responsibility
for semester, winter, or summer session class. No appeal
into this category permitted.
II 50 250 Laboratory, discussion, review, problem solving
section for non-majors. No appeal into this category
III 50 230 Laboratory, discussion, review, problem solving
section for majors.
IV 45 240 Instructional responsibility for foreign language
class where language of instruction is a language in which
the ITA is fluent.
V 45 230 Grading, tutoring,
holding office hours, assisting in computer or language laboratory
VI 35 215 Laboratory set-up/assist instructor with preparation
of class materials. No verbal interaction with English-speaking

ITAs whose scores fall below 35 (SPEAK) or 215 (UDIA) will not be permitted to perform any ITA duties.

Comments are closed