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English Language Proficiency

The Center for Teaching Excellence’s English Language Proficiency (CTE-ELP) program is a linguistic resource provided to Texas A&M’s international instructors (and prospective instructors) who wish to improve their spoken English skills. Support services are confidential and at no additional cost to the participant.


International teaching assistants (TAs) must be language certified per Grad School policy (https://grad.tamu.edu/academics/academic-success-resources/elp). TAs are graduate students who are employed to instruct and communicate with students who are enrolled in their course for a grade. (HR titles include Graduate Assistant – Teaching [GAT], Graduate Assistant - Lecturer [GAL], Graduate Assistant - Instructor [GAI], and Graduate Teaching Fellow [GTF].)

Level 1 = Certified (eligible to be hired as a TA)
Level 2 = Conditionally certified (conditionally eligible to be a TA)
Level 3 = Not certified (ineligible to be a TA)
(See recognized tests and minimum scores for each level.)
You can check your eligibility (or that of your student) by using a handy interactive questionnaire at u.tamu.edu/TA-ELP.

Conditionally-appointed TAs and TAs with Emergency Deferral of English certification are required to participate in the CTE-ELP program (see requirements below). For everyone else, participation in the CTE-ELP is optional. International students who are not current TAs are invited to participate in the CTE-ELP for their professional and personal development.

To begin participating in the CTE-ELP at any point in the year, please fill out this survey where you will provide your contact information and indicate the particular services you are interested in (see details below). 
The recommended starting point is a one-time, private diagnostic consultation called an "intake assessment." During high-peak times such as the start of the semester, priority goes to current TAs with Level 2 English proficiency, TAs with emergency deferral of certification, and to faculty members. If you are in one of these high-priority groups, please email cte-elp@tamu.edu so that your request can be expedited.
Questions about resources or English language proficiency policies? Please call the Language Lab at 979.458.3966 or email cte-elp@tamu.edu.

ELP Services in Detail


Classroom Observations  

Participants teach in their class/lab while being observed by an English Language Proficiency consultant. Feedback on comprehensibility and student-centered teaching techniques is provided in a later consultation. Current TAs and professors may request this service.

Private Consultations

Participants communicate their goals for language acquisition and, with the diagnosis and recommendations of English Language Proficiency consultants, create an individual improvement plan. They practice and receive feedback one-on-one. Current TAs and professors, and soon-to-be TAs, may request this service.

Conversation Partnerships

Through authentic dialogue with a native speaker of English once a week for ten weeks, participants develop fluency and an awareness & appreciation for cultural difference. International graduate students may request this service.

Microteaching & Videotaping Feedback 

Participants practice teaching and giving oral presentations, focusing on clear pronunciation, appropriate body language, effective use of visual aids, engagement with the audience, and confidence. They receive immediate feedback from an English Language Proficiency consultant. International graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty may request this service.

Practice Groups

This 10-session workshop series "English Language Proficiency for Instructors" prepares participants for the ELPE and for their teaching assignment. Participants rehearse functional language for instruction; learn to anticipate and repair common communication breakdowns; develop peer support, pronunciation, and fluency; and cultivate an appreciation for cultural differences. International graduate students and professors may request this service. If space permits, these workshops are open to international post-docs and visiting scholars as well.

Lunchtime Conversation Circles Participants converse informally in a small group facilitated by an ELP staff member, on any topic they are interested in discussing. This promotes speaking fluency, listening comprehension, and social small talk. International graduate students, undergraduate students, and professors may request this service. If space permits, these workshops are open to international post-docs and visiting scholars as well.
Workshops Participants develop phonological awareness and an appreciation for linguistic diversity. They identify resources and techniques that meet their individual linguistic needs. International graduate students, undergraduate students, and professors may request this service. If space permits, these workshops are open to international post-docs and visiting scholars as well.
Language Laboratories

In both language labs, participants develop pronunciation accuracy, listening discrimination, understanding of the vocal tract, and automaticity. Both are open to international graduate students, undergraduate students, professors, post-docs, and visiting scholars.
Physical Language Lab (Nagle Hall 305G)
The software program "American SpeechSounds for Academics" and other digital language-learning exercises are available. Reserve a computer workstation in advance, or simply walk in during our open lab hours.

Virtual Language Lab (Canvas LMS)
This Canvas community allows you to practice listening and speaking English at your convenience, since it is online and available 24/7 from the privacy of your own home. As you progress through exercises, you receive feedback from many sources: machine, native speakers, and linguists.

To begin participating in the CTE-ELP, please fill out this survey.

Where We Are

Offices and language lab are located in suite 305 on the third floor of the Nagle Building (NGLE) (https://aggiemap.tamu.edu/?bldg=0506) on main campus. Upon arrival for an appointment, please check in at the reception desk. Workshops are held in various locations on the College Station flagship campus and via Zoom videoconferencing.

Requirements for Conditionally-appointed TAs

These requirements apply also to TAs who were granted an emergency deferral of certification. Per Grad School policy, international graduate students who are not yet language certified (Level 1 or alternatively certified) are permitted to be hired as TAs for one semester only under special circumstances, provided that they meet the following conditions:
 1. Begin participation in the CTE-ELP program with an intake assessment no later than Week 2 of the semester;
 2. Participate in the CTE-ELP program for 5 hours per week, following their Individual Improvement Plan;
 3. Retest and earn a Level 1 score by the end of the semester.
Otherwise, they are ineligible for future teaching assignments.

The highest score submitted to Texas A&M (not the most recent score) counts.
Conditionally-appointed TAs should email cte-elp@tamu.edu or call (979) 458-3966, provide their UIN, and request an intake assessment. In that hour-long interview, the ELP consultants listen to the TA’s speech and identify strengths and weaknesses. In a follow-up appointment, the TA and an ELP consultant co-draft a unique Individual Improvement Plan by selecting services from the menu of CTE programs that best address the TA’s unique language needs, keeping in mind the TA’s preferences and schedule.

The CTE-ELP program may report the TA's adherence to their Individual Improvement Plan but keeps the content confidential. Periodically, the ELP consultants assess the TA’s speech to recommend an appropriate time to attempt a retest of the ELPE. They can even authorize an early retest if the TA has been adhering to their Individual Improvement Plan and has demonstrably improved. Those who retest and earn a Level 1 score are immediately English Language Proficiency Certified and are no longer required to attend any CTE-ELP programming, but are welcome to continue, space permitting.


Additional Information