Speaking Courses

GRST 5480X. Improving Academic and Professional Speaking (2 credits)

* Offered Spring 2024

Skill building to improve oral presentation fundamentals for graduate students in any discipline. Principles and guidance in both personal speaking style and maximizing impact of presentation software. In-depth lectures and class discussions on all aspects of presentation skills. Video and anonymous peer review of individual speeches. 

If you are interested in signing up for GR ST 548X, contact Dr. Sarah Huffman at shuffman@iastate.edu

GRST 5400. English for Teaching Purposes (3 credits)

* Starting Fall 2023, ENGL 180 will be called GR ST 540

International teaching assistants (ITAs) are placed in GR ST 540 based on their results on the Oral English Certification Test (OECT). GR ST 540 courses can only be added to students' schedules by following the instructions below. Students CANNOT enroll in GR ST 540 via AccessPlus.


Spring 2024 Instructions for GRST 5400 registration

  1. Complete this Student Information Form (download here). Make sure you indicate the times that are available for you.
  2. Email your completed Student Information Form to Dr. Lily Compton (lcompton@iastate.edu) and include any additional information, e.g. course schedule, or questions, etc.
  3. Wait for confirmation email.

ITAs who are also required to take ENGL 990S based on their English Placement Test result can take GRST 5400 during the first semester followed by ENGL 990 during the second semester. See https://apling.engl.iastate.edu/english-placement-test/ 


Spring 2024 Schedule

Course SectionTime & PlaceInstructor

GRST 5400C

Section 1

Location: ROSS H 0028

MW 3:20 - 4:35 pm

Joan Chamberlin

GRST 5400D

Section 1

Location: PEARSON 2125

MW 3:20 - 4:40 pm


Sandy Peterson

GRST 5400D

Section 2

Location: PEARSON 3157

TR 12:40 - 1:55 pm


Sandy Peterson

General GRST540 information

Students whose native language is English cannot take GRST 5400 for credit. A student may take up to 3 sections of GRST 5400 (5400A, 5400B or C, and 5400D) in total. Only one section can be taken per semester. The credits of GRST 5400 do not apply toward graduation as the course is offered on a satisfactory-fail basis.GRST 5400 classes are offered each spring and fall semester.

Students are placed in GRST 5400 based on their results on the Oral English Certification Test (OECT). Classes are kept small to allow individualized instruction. Priority is given to students who are currently on TA appointments.

Section A - Low-Intermediate Spoken English: 3 Credits. The emphasis is on pronunciation improvement and greater fluency.

Section A is for those with lower scores on Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and TEACH, or with particular language problems such as pronunciation. The focus is on improving oral English skills through focused practice: working on increased language fluency; analyzing the sounds of American English and how they're produced; developing monitoring skills; discussing and practicing effective communication strategies, such as varied clarification questions; discussing cross-cultural issues; practicing basic classroom communication skills such as eye contact, use of the blackboard, and asking and answering questions appropriately. Students prepare for and give 2 presentations that are videotaped for feedback and practice.

Section B/C - Intermediate Spoken English: 3 Credits. The emphasis is on the prosody of speech as well as on interactive oral communication.

Section B (fall semester only) is for those with middling scores on the tests or a variety of communication problems. The focus is on communicating in an American classroom: improving spoken English, including fluency, pronunciation, and grammar; using communication strategies that compensate for language problems; observing and discussing cultural differences; creating an interactive classroom; handling and responding to student questions; presenting information in an organized and effective manner; giving videotaped presentations and receiving individual feedback on them.

Section C (spring semester only) is for those with middling scores on the tests, and often these students are in their second semester of GR ST 540. It combines parts of section A and parts of section B depending on the individual needs of the students in the class. In other words, it will include work on oral language, communication skills, and effective classroom and teaching techniques. Oral presentations will be videotaped for self-evaluation and instructor feedback.

Section D - Advanced Spoken English: 3 Credits. The emphasis is on presentation skills, developing explanations, leading discussions, etc. in a teaching environment.

Section D is usually for those who are at Level 2 on OECT. Students at this level are often already teaching recitations or labs for their departments. The class meets to discuss classroom and cross-cultural issues and practice skills such as explaining problems, leading students through a problem with questions, handling student questions and problems, organizing presentations, and pronouncing technical vocabulary. Students make several videotaped presentations which they evaluate themselves and discuss with their instructor. They observe and report on classes in their department taught by faculty and experienced TAs. The GRST 5400 instructor also observes the students' real classroom or lab teaching and gives them individual advice.

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