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GC 511

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GC 511: Oral Communication and Interaction Skills for International Teaching Assistants

Course Objectives:

      This course is designed to help students:

      • complete the oral English certification process
         
      • improve overall ability to communicate in English in an academic setting
         
      • develop discussion skills for participating and teaching in the American classroom
         
      • better understand the cultural aspects of American universities 

      How many times a week does the class meet?

            Twice per week:

      1. Weekly two-hour class session: The focus of the class is to help students communicate more clearly and effectively when participating in group discussions or leading them as part of their TA duties. You will actively practice fluency and specific conversation skills such as turn-taking, expressing opinions, elaborating, paraphrasing, and asking follow-up questions, while engaging in relevant cultural topics. In addition, you will build vocabulary and grammar through analysis of articles and videos.
      2. Weekly one-hour presentation workshop: Beginning in week 4, you will participate in 9 weekly presentation workshops outside of regular class time where you will either lecture/lead discussion or provide feedback to your classmates. You will lecture/lead for 20 minutes, on two separate occasions throughout the semester. 

      Course Description:

                 GC 511 is an academic discussion course that focuses on giving students the skills they need to participate in academic discussions and improve their academic vocabulary and grammar. The course meets weekly for a 2 hour class and a one hour required academic discussion workshop. Nine sections of GC 510 are being offered in Spring 2016. 

                 Students will actively practice fluency and conversation skills such as turn-taking, expressing opinions, elaborating, paraphrasing, and asking follow-up questions, while engaging in relevant cultural topics. In addition, students will have the opportunity to develop their presentation and academic discourse skills by leading class and group discussions.

                 This course provides a platform for deeper-level critical thinking and discussion. Some topics that may be visited in the course include: the American Dream, immigration, campus speech, higher education, and Chicago. Students will gain valuable background and cultural information on each of the topics, apply their own experiences in their discussions, and be able to dicsuss the current relevance of each topic.

      Course Elements:

      • Weekly two-hour class session: The focus is on interactive group discussion and leadership skills that include: taking conversational turns, handling miscommunication, summarizing,  agreeing and disagreeing, polite interruption, asking follow-up questions, elaboration, narration, and group management/boundary setting.
         
      • Weekly one-hour discussion group session: Throughout the semester, students will attend one-hour discussion sessions outside of regular class time. During these sessions, students will have the opportunity to discuss topics of their choice while actively using the group discussion and leadership skills that they have learned and practiced in class.
        • Students will receive individual feedback from the instructor on interaction and leadership skills, grammar and vocabulary, as well as elements of production such as vowel sounds, consonant articulation, word stress, and intonation. 

      Course Requirements:

       

      1. Class Attendance (75% = S): You must attend 75% of scheduled class time. There are 12 class sessions beginning in Week 2 of the semester and ending Week 13.

      2. Workshop Attendance (75% = S): You must attend 75% of scheduled workshops, which are held separately from the class. There are 9 workshops beginning in Week 4 of the semester and ending Week 13. You must also complete three presentations and self –reflections to receive an S for the workshop portion.

      3. Final Performance Evaluation (PE) (S/Unsatisfactory): You will receive an Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory for completing the final PE. Your PE score corresponds to your oral proficiency certification status and is separate from your grade from the course.

       *Note: It is possible to pass your final PE but receive a grade of unsatisfactory for the course. Similarly, you may receive a satisfactory for the course but not pass the final PE. Your grade will not affect your GPA, but it will appear on your transcript.

      For more information on the PE, click here.

       Observations: In addition to the above requirements, if an ITA is actively teaching (leading a lab or discussion section), an observation will be required at least once during the semester.

      How to register for a GC class: http://screencast.com/t/ZQnWeeBJe9E