Speaking Courses

GR ST 540. 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.


Fall 2023 Instructions for GR ST 540 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 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 99S based on their English Placement Test result can take GR ST 540 during the first semester followed by Engl 99 during the second semester. See https://apling.engl.iastate.edu/english-placement-test/ 


Fall 2023 Schedule

Course SectionTime & PlaceInstructor

GR ST 540B

Section 2

Ross Hall 0031(In-Person)

MW 3:20 - 4:35 pm

Joan Chamberlin

GR ST 540D

Section 1

Pearson Hall 2158 (In-Person)

MW 3:20 - 4:40 pm


Sandy Peterson

GR ST 540D

Section 2

Black Engineering 1026 (In-Person)

TR 12:40 - 1:55 pm


Sandy Peterson

GR ST 540D

Section 4

Carver 124 (In-Person)

TR 3:40 - 5:00 pm

Sandy Peterson

General GR ST 540 information

Students whose native language is English cannot take GR ST 540 for credit. A student may take up to 3 sections of GR ST 540 (540A, 540B or C, and 540D) in total. Only one section can be taken per semester. The credits of GR ST 540 do not apply toward graduation as the course is offered on a satisfactory-fail basis.GR ST 540 classes are offered each spring and fall semester.

Students are placed in GR ST 540 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 GR ST 540 instructor also observes the students' real classroom or lab teaching and gives them individual advice.

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