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Speaking courses for international students

EFS offers four different types of speaking courses: 1) courses in one-to-one and group interaction, 2) courses in pronunciation, 3) a course in oral presentation, and 4) a course in professional communication, which includes writing as well as speaking

Interaction courses: EFS 690A, Interacting in English, and EFS 690B, Academic Discussion, and EFS 690C, Advanced Interacting in English.

EFS 690A is our most basic speaking course, and is aimed at students who have had little or no opportunity to use spoken English outside the language classroom. In addition to providing a foundation for 690B (discussion) it focuses on English for social interaction, including both talking with friends and acquaintances and communicating with strangers, such as service personnel. If you have 690A as a requirement or recommendation, you should take it during fall or winter of your first year. 690A is rarely taken by students after their second year.

EFS 690B is devoted to teaching you how to participate effectively in small group discussions typical of graduate seminars and research groups. You experience a number of fluency building activities, an introduction to the culture of the small group discussion in the US, and practice with specific phrases and strategies for communicating effectively within the group. The course may be taken any quarter, and most students can go directly into 690B. If you have the course as a requirement, you should try tocomplete it before the end of your first year.

EFS 690C is aimed at taking students to higher levels of fluency and accuracy in unrehearsed social and academic situations. Students with more advanced proficiency, especially those who have been in the US for several years, may go directly into it; others should complete 690A and/or 690B first.

Pronunciation courses: EFS 695A, Pronunciation and Intonation, and EFS 695B, Advanced Pronunciation 

EFS 695A is the foundation course for students who want to improve the clarity of their speech. It includes an overview of the sound system of English along with an understanding of common stress, rhythm and intonation patterns. The course includes practice both in class and at home. Students submit recorded assignments for instructor review and meet bi-weekly for individual sessions. Students who take this course should be aware that their regular, outside practice is critical to success, and that the amount and quality of such practice is strongly correlated to the amount of progress to be expected. 

EFS 695B is primarily intended as a followup to EFS 695A This class is designed to review and reinforce the sound, stress, and intonation patterns of English in order to improve spoken proficiency and gain confidence in speaking. Students will be analyzed to identify individual problems and those of the group, and will receive a personal inventory of speech errors. They will practice correct speech patterns in class exercises and on individual tapes to be handed in every two weeks. You may not normally take 695B unless you have taken 695A or an equivalent. If you have not met that prerequisite but believe you can go directly into 695B, contact the 695B instructor, Carole Mawson, (, to discuss your request. 

Public speaking courses: EFS 691, Oral Presentation, and EFS 698C, Writing and Presenting Research

EFS 691 is a course in public speaking for academic purposes, though it also has value for professional development after Stanford. The course includes description, demonstration and analysis of effective speaking techniques, including the use of visual aids. Language work includes a review of discourse-level pronunciation and academic vocabulary common in spoken presentations. Students typically prepare and present at least five talks for both descriptive and persuasive purposes, receive in-class feedback from the instructor and peers, and are regularly videotaped for self-evaluation and individual tutorials with the instructor. If you plan to take either EFS 691 (oral presentation) or EFS 692 (speaking and teaching in English) and you have a 695A requirement, you must complete 695A first, and 695A is recommended preparation for those courses for any student with perceived pronunciation problems irrespective of any requirement.

EFS 698C combines presenting and writing of research. The course is intended for advanced students, including those working on research that will be presented at conferences and then written up as a paper or part of the conference proceedings. Besides reviewing key elements of successful oral and written presentation, it also provides opportunities to receive feedback both from the instructor and from the other students in the course.  It should normally be taken after both 691 (oral presentation) and 698B (advanced graduate writing) and is offered in the fall. For further information, contact the instructor, Phil Hubbard ( 

Professional communication course: EFS 694, Communication Strategies in Professional Life

EFS 694 is a course in communication for business purposes outside academics. It is an advanced course, combining reading, listening, speaking and writing in the professional setting. The course is intended for advanced students, especially those in their final quarter before graduating or going TGR. It is offered in fall and spring.

EFS writing courses
EFS listening courses
International TA Training 
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Updated September 22, 2011