Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA TESOL)

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The Westcliff MA TESOL program prepares you for a career in TESOL instruction or administration. At Westcliff University you will

  • Work with diverse students, make teaching demonstrations, and lead projects based on the latest research in the TESOL field
  • Build a foundation in TESOL principles for teaching and for administration
  • Develop your ability to think critically and problem solve creatively
  • Take advantage of workshops and guest speaker presentations, offered throughout the year on both online and hybrid programs.
  • Network with students and faculty working in diverse TESOL backgrounds
  • Equally important, you will learn from professors who are experienced TESOL instructors, administrators, and curriculum and program developers

MA TESOL Program Description

MA TESOL Program produces graduates with the skills to train teaching faculty who excel in their roles as educators, creative scholars, and researchers.  This program will prepare teachers for a wide variety of positions both in the US and abroad.  Our students will be equipped with the specialized knowledge and field skills for teaching English to speakers of other languages.  Upon graduation, they will be competent professional educators with demonstrable leadership skills.


MA TESOL Program Objectives

The following educational objectives are those of the MA TESOL Program:

  1. Demonstrate principles of language pedagogy and of current best practices in teaching English to speakers of other languages; explain how these principles are based on research into language acquisition and the teaching of the various skill areas
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in spoken and written English at a level commensurate with the role of a language model by illustrating knowledge of the English language and skills required to explain the English language system
  3. Apply current TESOL pedagogy in the creation of effective lesson plans for diverse groups of learners in a variety of teaching contexts; integrate new technology into these lesson plans
  4. Explain current theories concerning the cognitive, affective, social, and cultural factors involved in the acquisition and use of second languages and apply this knowledge in effective lesson design and classroom interactions with second language learners
  5. Identify the skills necessary for effective leadership in and outside the classroom; apply these skills to individual professional development in and outside the classroom
  6. Integrate ethical values in learning and teaching

MA TESOL Program (36 credit hours)

  
TSL 502 Vocabulary Instruction3 credit hours
TSL 507 Pronunciation Instruction3 credit hours
TSL 512 Writing Instruction3 credit hours
TSL 515 Second Language Acquisition3 credit hours
TSL 520 Grammar Instruction3 credit hours
TSL 527 Methods of Teaching ESL/EFL3 credit hours
TSL 532 Listening & Speaking Instruction3 credit hours
TSL 542 The English Language in Society3 credit hours
TSL 545 Reading Instruction3 credit hours
TSL 552 Special topics in TESOL3 credit hours
TSL 590 Curriculum Design3 credit hours
TSL 600 Practicum3 credit hours
Total MATESOL program 36 credit hours

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete prescribed credit hours with a cumulative G.P.A of 3.0 or higher. Students must apply for graduation and meet all academic and financial requirements.


MA TESOL Course Description

TSL 502 Vocabulary Instruction(3 credit hours). This is an in-depth course in vocabulary instruction, based partly on morphology, or the structure and classification of words. Processes involved in word form variation will be reviewed, with a focus on methods for teaching vocabulary to English L2 learners.

TSL 507 Pronunciation Instruction (3 credit hours). This is an in-depth course in pronunciation instruction, based partly on phonology—the study of speech sounds. It covers both segmental (vowel and consonant) and suprasegmental (stress, rhythm, intonation, and connected speech features) aspects of language, with focus on effective teaching of pronunciation to non-native speakers of English—including explanation of challenges that these learners face.

TSL 512 Writing Instruction (3 credit hours). This course is designed to give the EFL/ESL teacher various skills, strategies, and theories to teach writing to L2 learners.  The course goes into detail on ways to analyze various writing pedagogies, develop writing courses, create tasks and assignments, assess student writing, give feedback to students, and develop language skills through writing.

TSL 515 Second Language Acquisition (3 credit hours). This course provides an overview of second language acquisition; traces source and development of major trends and issues in teaching English; illustrates practical ways ESL/EFL teachers can incorporate these ideas in their own teaching practice. The course links the socio-cognitive foundations of second language acquisition and their applications as relevant, realistic, and effective pedagogical practices which will be demonstrated and taught throughout the course.

TSL 520 Grammar Instruction (3 credit hours). This course provides a thorough introduction to the grammar of spoken and written contemporary English. Included in the course is a focus on how spoken and written English differ and a look at current theories of syntax. Also included is a focus on how to effectively teach grammar to non-native speakers of English.

TSL 527 Methods of Teaching ESL/EFL (3 credit hours).This course provides an overview of the field of language teaching by examining past and present teaching approaches and related research. There is a balance between theory and practice–that is, between providing necessary background information and relevant research, on the one hand, and offering a host of techniques and strategies that support the best principles for language learning with an emphasis on writing effective lesson plans which include supportive assessment.

TSL 532 Listening and Speaking Instruction (3 credit hours). This course explores the conceptual frameworks currently defining ‘speaking’ and ‘listening’ – what it is we are teaching and the processes involved. This theory is balanced with a focus on practical teaching strategies. Also included are lesson planning and skill assessment techniques.

TSL 542 The English Language in Society (3 credit hours). This course presents a thorough introduction to sociolinguistics, the study of the ways in which societal factors affect the ways in which language is used among various interlocutors. Included in the course is an examination of the various social contexts of language use (both in and out of school), dialects and regionalisms, the effects of cultural background on the acquisition of literacy, and the ways in which learners interact in cross-cultural settings.

TSL 545 Reading Instruction (3 credit hours). This course focuses on how English language learners learn to read and how they can be helped to achieve the goal of increased literacy. Included is a focus on theories of literacy acquisition (e.g., phonics, whole language) and the role of exposure vs. explicit instruction in the development of reading skills. As one of the course assignments, students create and deliver lesson plans aimed at helping emerging readers improve their reading skills.

TSL 552 Special Topics in TESOL (3 credit hours). This course focuses on current topics in TESOL regarding pedagogy, Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), how to do research and become familiar with the various aspects of the field of TESOL, which includes knowledge about the multiple environments in which teachers can teach.

TSL 590 Curriculum Design (3 credit hours). This course presents a thorough introduction to the dynamics of designing a language course. Included in the course is an examination of the systems approach and the various contexts that influence the design of a language course and lesson planning.

TSL 600 Practicum (3 credit hours). The TESOL Practicum is a two-part course that enables students to gain real experience as teachers of English to speakers of other languages:

The first part of the 8-week course is a 4-week fieldwork assignment, which includes classroom observation with a participating school or educational organization. The second part, which consists of the last 4-weeks of fieldwork, involves students creating and teaching a lesson that incorporates theories and teaching methodologies learned over the course of the degree program and via independent research. 

This course requires students to submit a video recording of a lesson presentation and to compile an extensive reflection and critical analysis of the different teaching techniques observed in the classroom. Students present their lesson plans and constructively evaluate them online, sharing their practicum experience with peers using an audio recording presentation such as PowerPoint with voice recording, a Voice Thread presentation, etc.