Ideal participants are international graduate students who have an advanced knowledge of English, but struggle to be understood by native speakers because of their accents.
We also allow spouses of grad students to participate alongside their partners, provided there is sufficient space. This encourages students to view language learning as a family activity, not simply something they do on campus.
In the Colloquium, we discuss English word stress patterns, accurate vowel and consonant sounds for Standard American English, phrase boundaries for English sentences and effective stress and intonation for teaching. Past participants have left with a greater sense of confidence in their English skills, as well as practical strategies for problem-solving language barriers in the classroom and lab.
Not only does the Colloquium help international grad students feel comfortable teaching their own subjects to English-speaking students at Baylor, but it also familiarizes students with cultural issues related to teaching undergraduate in the United States. In the past, we've covered Baylor campus culture (Greek Life, homecoming, football culture, "Sing", "Stomp Fest", etc.), American students' perceptions of grades, principles of effective class discussion or lecture, social expectations for email etiquette and common undergraduate's perceptions of international instructors.
Participants meet for 50 minutes each week (15 weeks total) in a class of 10-15 other international grad students. Students receive a resource workbook and accompanying CD at the beginning of the semester so that they can develop a plan for improving their English beyond the Colloquium.
The program will be managed by Joshua Boyd, a doctoral student in English and Coordinator of Professional Development for international Graduate Students. A select number of other grad students will assist Joshua with the facilitation of the program.
All participants, whether they have elected to participate on their own or have been referred to the program by their GPD, are expected to attend all meetings and must sign-in on an attendance sheet when they arrive. If a student misses more than three meetings, he or she will be dropped from the roll and his or her GPD will be notified that the student is no longer participating in the Colloquium. We maintain this attendance policy not only as a form of accountability for students but also because we have limited space in the program and want to accommodate wait-listed students if possible.
International grad students can choose one of two sections during the Spring 2015 semester to be held from January 12 to April 29:
Graduate Program Directors can refer international graduate students to the Teaching Colloquium before the start of each semester by emailing Joshua Boyd at Joshua_Boyd@baylor.edu.
Individual students may also elect to participate in the Colloquium. Contact your GPD to request to be added to the program.