Western Kentucky University

Teaching English as a Second Language

Teaching English as a Second Language

Q: What does an ESL teacher do?

A: An ESL teacher works with non-native speakers of English and helps them develop social and academic language skills. In addition, ESL teachers frequently are cultural ambassadors and even teachers of content areas (math, science, geography, social studies, etc.)

Q: Where do ESL teachers work?

A. ESL teachers work in elementary and secondary schools, community colleges, adult education programs, colleges and universities, private language institutes, and private businesses. These are just some of the possibilities that ESL teachers might have in the United States and abroad.

Q: Is it hard to get a job as an ESL teacher?

A: That all depends on where you want to work. If you are interested in teaching in public schools, there are many opportunities. In private language institutes in the United States, there will probably be fewer jobs. If one wishes to teach abroad, there are plentiful opportunities in various parts of Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe.

Q: I don't know another language. Can I still teach ESL?

A: Yes. One need not be like a native speaker of another language in order to be a successful ESL teacher. However, the more you know, the more able you will be able to communicate with students and their parents. Likewise, you will have more insight into the various cultures from which they hail. Finally, learning a second language gives you much credibility in the eyes of your students because they know that you understand how they feel.

Q: I'm interested in teaching ESL. Do you offer an ESL program at WKU?

A: Yes. We have a 16-hour program leading to an ESL endorsement at WKU. This endorsement allows one to teach ESL in Kentucky public schools. Coursework leading to the endorsement differs for undergraduate and graduate students. More information is found below.

Q: I'm interested. How do I apply?

A: Undergraduate students in good standing should contact Dr. Poole for advising. Graduate students should contact the Graduate College to learn more about entrance requirements.

Q: I'd like to apply; however, I work all day and live two hours away from Bowling Green. Is there anything I can do?

A: Fortunately, our classes are offered either on-line or in the evening. This makes it convenient for those who, for one reason or another, are not able to physically regularly attend daytime classes.

Q: I don't want to teach ESL, but I would like to take some coursework. Can I sign up for a class?

A: If you have been admitted to the university, yes, you may enroll in coursework. In fact, many people who deal with non-native speakers of English can benefit by knowing more about such an already large and growing segment of the American population. Additionally, those who are current or aspiring foreign language teachers find our courses beneficial.

Q: If I'm not planning to teach in public school, do I still need to obtain a state teaching certificate?

No, those students not wishing to teach in public schools do not need a state teaching certificate. Such students generally teach in intensive English programs, community colleges, and institutions abroad. WKU offers a Graduate Certificate in TESOL for students interested in these options. See below for more information.

Q: I still have more questions. Whom should I contact?

Alex Poole, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of English

TESL Program Director

Area of Specialization: TESL

CH 6A or 270-745-5780

alex.poole@wku.edu

Or you can look into our TESL Minor.

 

Program requirements for those seeking the ESL Endorsement for Kentucky public schools

Undergraduate students:

-English 407 Linguistic Analysis
Prerequisite: ENG 104, or 302, or 304, or the equivalent
A study of current linguistic theory that includes the important levels of language as a means of communication, as well as various theories and applications of linguistic theory to other fields of study, particularly language teaching.

-English 408 Sociolinguistics and Psycholinguistics
Prerequisite: ENG 407
A study of how sociology and psychology contribute to the study of linguistics. Emphasis is given to social and regional dialects, first and second language acquisition, and speech production.

-English 469 Theories of Second Language Acquisition
Prerequisite: One linguistics course
A study of theories, methods, and approaches for teaching English as a second or foreign language and of other foreign languages

-English 470 TESL Materials and Methods
Prerequisite: ENG 469
A course designed to develop skills, procedures, and strategies for teaching and utilizing commercial materials and for developing teacher-made materials for teaching English as a second/foreign language and for other foreign languages.

-English 471: TESL Practicum
Supervision, observation, and instruction in public schools or other appropriate settings, culminating in the production of a portfolio. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to designated or assigned sites. The class consists of 30 clock teaching hours and 15 class hours.

-Six semester hours of a modern (foreign) language (or its equivalent)

-Certification in elementary, middle grades, or secondary education

-ESL Praxis exam score of 157 (effective Sept 1, 2010) for those wishing to teach in the state of Kentucky


Graduate Students:

-English 407G Linguistic Analysis

A study of current linguistic theory that includes the important levels of language as a means of communication, as well as various theories and applications of linguistic theory to other fields of study, particularly language teaching. Pre-requisite: ENG 104, or 302, or 304, or the equivalent

-English 408G Sociolinguistics and Psycholinguistics

A study of how sociology and psychology contribute to the study of linguistics. Emphasis is given to social and regional dialects, first and second language acquisition, and speech production. Pre-requisite: ENG 407G

-English 565 Integrated TESL

Solid foundation in the theories of child-adult classroom-based language learning and methods for English language instruction. Field experiences in public schools or other appropriate settings away from campus are required. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to designated or assigned sites.

-English 566 Teaching and Testing ESL Grammar
Investigation of ESL learners' grammatical difficulties, approaches to solving them, and ways to test their grammatical development. Field experiences in public schools or other appropriate settings away from campus are required. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to designated or assigned sites. Pre-requisite: ENG 407G

-English 471G TESL Practicum
Supervision, observation, and instruction in public schools or other appropriate settings, culminating in the production of a portfolio. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to designated or assigned sites. The class consists of 30 clock teaching hours and 15 class hours.

-Six semester hours of a modern (foreign) language (or its equivalent), at the undergraduate level

-Certification in elementary, middle grades, or secondary education

-ESL Praxis exam score of 157 (effective Sept. 1, 2010) for those wishing to teach in the state of Kentucky

 

  Graduate Certificate in TESOL

-English 407G Linguistic Analysis

A study of current linguistic theory that include the important levels of language as a means of communication, as well as various theories and applications of linguistic theory to other fields of study, particularly language teaching. Pre-requisite: ENG 104, or 302, or 304, or equivalent.

-English 408G Sociolinguistics and Psycholinguistics

A study of how sociology and psychology contribute ot the study of linguistics. Emphasis is given to social and regional dialects, first and second language acquisition, and speech production. Pre-requisite: ENG 407.

-English 565 Integrated TESL

 Solid foundation in the theories of child-adult classroom-based language and methods for English language instruction. Field expereiences in ublic schools or other approporiate settings away from campus are required. Students are responsible for arranging their own transporation to designated or assigned sites.

-English 566 Teaching and Testing ESL Grammar

 Investigation of ESL learners' grammatical difficulties, approaches to solving them, and ways to test their grammatical development. Field experiences in public schools or other appropriate settings away from campus are required. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to designated or assigned sites. Pre-requisite: ENG 407G

-English 471G TESL Practicum

Supervision, observation, and instruction in public schools or other appropriate settings, culminating in the production of a portfolio. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to designated or assigned sites. The class consists of 30 clock teaching hours and 15 class hours.

-Six semester hours of a modern (foreign) language (or its equivalent), at the undergraduate level.

 

Full-time Faculty

Lesa Dill, Ph.D., University of Georgia, Associate Professor of English
-Area of Specialization: Linguistics

Alex Poole, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, Associate Professor of English, TESL Program Director
-Area of Specialization: TESL

Elizabeth Winkler, Ph.D., Indiana University, Associate Professor of English
-Area of Specialization: Linguistics

 

Dr Poole teaching English 304

Above and Below: Dr. Alex Poole teaches English in Cherry Hall.

Dr. Poole teaches English 304


 Last Modified 7/22/13