International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP)


ITAP consists of English Language Center (ELC) and Center for Teaching (CFT) staff members working to assist and support international graduate students as they prepare for and begin their teaching duties at Vanderbilt. It is specifically designed for those international teaching assistants (ITAs) for whom English is not their first language and who have not completed a baccalaureate degree at an institution where English is the language of instruction.

ITAP staff members in collaboration with departmental representatives evaluate ITAs' teaching and language skills as they enter Vanderbilt and place ITAs into an appropriate language course offered by the ELC or the teaching practicum, offered in conjunction with the CFT (see below for description). Language courses typically include pronunciation and academic speaking. In all courses, the emphasis is on helping ITAs improve their oral English language skills for the classroom so that they can become fully integrated into the academic community at Vanderbilt.

The Student Consultant Program, run by ITAP, complements the work done in English language courses. Undergraduate students, working in pairs with one or more ITAs, assist international graduate students with language acquisition, familiarize ITAs with expectations in the American classroom, and serve as a resource about Vanderbilt culture. The English Language Center works closely with ITAP and student consultants in language development training. The Center's ITAP Internet Resources page provides links to some activities used by ITAs and student consultants.

Benefits to participants in ITAP include:

  • improving English language skills for classroom teaching,
  • learning about best practices for instruction in the American classroom,
  • interacting with undergraduates who are respectful of diversity and cultural differences, and
  • gaining confidence about communication skills in English.


International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) in all departments complete an online orientation prior to arriving at Vanderbilt. If they will assume teaching duties during their first year at Vanderbilt, they attend Teaching Assistant Orientation as well. All ITAs should make appropriate visa and travel arrangements so as to arrive in Nashville and secure an apartment, social security card, etc. before language evaluatins or TAO, as applicable.

Teaching & Language Evaluations

ITAP staff coordinate the evaluation of ITAs' teaching & language skills as they enter Vanderbilt and the placement of ITAs into appropriate English language courses or the teaching practicum. Visit the orientation and language evaluations Web page to learn more about teaching & language evaluations.

Teaching Practicum

The ELC and the CFT offer a semester-long course that presents ITAs a variety of practical means for improving their teaching.  A combination of teaching workshops, classroom observations, interviews with undergraduates, and practice teaching, the Teaching Practicum gives ITAs the opportunity to learn more about teaching in the American classroom and to hone their teaching skills.

Course Objectives

  1. to improve English language skills for classroom teaching,
  2. to learn about best practices for instruction in the American classroom,
  3. to become more aware of the expectations of undergraduates in lab and discussion contexts as well as during office hours,
  4. to strengthen effectiveness at presenting information, and
  5. to gain confidence about teaching at Vanderbilt.

For more information, contact Melissa Krasnove.



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