University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Support for Nonnative Speakers of English

Language and Teaching Consultations

Individual consultations are available to instructors who wish to enhance their spoken language proficiency or discuss strategies for teaching students in the United States. You may choose between one-time, short-term or ongoing sessions.

Fine Tune Your Accent Workshop Series

In this workshop series, international faculty, scholars, and graduate students will uncover the nuances of English pronunciation that matter most for conveying meaning effectively in U.S. academic settings: fluency, emphasis, and tone of voice. Participants will learn and practice research-based speaking strategies to enhance classroom teaching and conference presentations. Registration is limited.

Navigating U.S. Academic Culture Workshop Series

In this workshop series designed for international faculty, scholars, and graduate students, we will discuss how differences in educational culture impact academic communication. Participants will learn and practice nuanced communication strategies that work in the U.S. multicultural academic environment.

Online Resources

Communication Strategies for International Graduate Students: Surviving and Thriving in American Academia

This e-manual is designed to orient international and newcomer graduate students to communication norms and expectations related to teaching, working with supervisors, and applying for jobs. The book is free when you register and log in with a email account.

Common Questions for International TAs

These listening materials are designed to help you become better acquainted with a variety of typical student questions, common idioms used within them, and fast, reduced speech, a manner of speaking often used by American students.

Praat Language Lab

This tutorial will help you learn a listening and speaking tool called Praat. Praat allows you to receive visual feedback from spoken sound and thus to improve your spoken English.

Wiki of Language and Teaching Sites

This selection of websites represents those found to be most useful by instructors in the International TA Program. Most are English language learning sites, but there are a few that emphasize teaching and classroom language.

Partners in English Volunteer Program

The Partners in English program is a resource for language and teaching practice and for cultural exchange. Volunteers are paired with international graduate students for conversation and/or practice teaching sessions in English.

Sessions are structured as one-to-one meetings between volunteer and international partner or as small group meetings
depending on the preference of volunteer and students. Meeting sites include offices in the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University Office Plaza or locations agreed upon by volunteer and partner.

If you would like to get involved as either an international student seeking a volunteer partner, or a volunteer seeking to help international graduate students to practice speaking/teaching in English, please sign up for Partners in English.

NOTE: Due to a high demand for volunteers, participants are limited to work with a volunteer for a maximum of one academic semester or one summer session.