ALS 5780

What is ALS 5780?

ALS 5780 is designed to support and accelerate your learning at Cornell.

Over the past five years, over 450 students speaking 26 different languages have taken ALS 5780. More than 46% of students in ALS 5780 can TA while taking the course. Most of these students only need to take the course once. Just under 54% must take ALS 5780 before TAing. Most of these students need to take the course fewer than two times to reach the oral English proficiency standard set by the University.

ALS 5780 (the International Teaching Assistant Program Course) helps international students who have been appointed to be teaching assistants build and refine their oral English proficiency. It is designed to equip students to meet Cornell University's standards for academic proficiency necessary to serve as a teaching assistant, while also better preparing them for success at Cornell and across their careers. The course strategies include small group seminars, bimonthly conferences with instructors, audio journals, and teaching practica. The focus is on oral communication and incorporates discussion activities on topics related to the student, intercultural classroom communication, and teaching techniques

ALS 5780 is a deliberately experiential course focused on improving oral English proficiency. This structure is based on evidence and experience that show oral proficiency is developed most rapidly through practice. The course is highly interactive and designed to give you a maximum number of opportunities to practice English language speaking skills. It is a 2-credit course graded on an S/U basis.

Who can Participate?

The course is open to graduate international teaching assistants. Enrollment space in ALS 5780 is based on the immediacy of the teaching assistant appointment, as well as the language assessment outcome. The goal is to provide as much support as possible to refine oral English proficiency to meet Cornell University expectations for teaching.

When is ALS 5780 Offered?

Date: Fall and spring semester course sections are offered.

Time: Please check the Student Center for semester course offerings. Within the Student Center, scroll down to see all available section days/times.

What are the Desired Outcomes?

The ALS 5780 course learning outcomes are aligned with ACTFL OPI Advanced Low criteria. Within the first week of the course, instructors share and discuss the ITAP language assessment criteria and scores with students. Student assignments and rubrics used for self, peer, and instructor feedback provide students with opportunities to practice, discuss, and reflect on their language using ITA language assessment criteria each week.

ALS 5780 is intended to help students:

  • develop and refine oral communication proficiency through interactive activities in authentic academic contexts. Areas of focus include:
    • pronunciation of specific phonemes (vowel and consonant sounds)
    • intonation and rhythm of American English
    • grammar and time frames
    • fluency and vocabulary development
    • culturally defined rhetorical and speech compensation strategies
  • examine issues related to teaching and learning in intercultural higher education settings (Cornell in particular). Areas of focus include:
    • planning and presenting information clearly and effectively
    • developing interactive, student-centered teaching strategies
    • managing a classroom
    • understanding issues related to diversity
    • seeking support in teaching situations
    • developing individual teaching philosophies and identities
  • practice communication skills to build advanced oral English proficiency through activities in authentic language contexts. These activities include role-play scenarios, leading discussions, peer feedback, teaching practica, and consultations.

Please see the ALS 5780 FAQ for additional information.

Registration Process

Graduate students register for ALS 5780 via the Student Center. Please note that section spaces fill quickly, so pre-registration and early registration are encouraged. Because the course is designed to offer interactive practice in oral English proficiency, it is not possible to audit the course.

For additional support, please contact ITAP or speak directly to your instructor.