Teaching English as a Second Language

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Dr. Battenburg gives a presentation to Syrian English language teachers

What Is the Cal Poly TESL Certificate Program?

The TESL Certificate Program was created at Cal Poly in 1991 to prepare prospective instructors to teach English to speakers of other languages. Theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical issues in second language teaching and learning are addressed along with a variety of concepts within both theoretical and applied linguistics. Undergraduate and graduate students may pursue this program that typically attracts those studying English, Modern Languages and Literatures, Liberal Studies, and Child Development. Students from all of the colleges at Cal Poly, however, have pursued this certificate.  

How Do I Begin the Program and How Long Does it Take to Complete?

Interested students should contact Program Director Dr. John Battenburg to discuss the program.  Although there is no formal application process, students are encouraged to begin taking courses early on to earn the certificate while at Cal Poly. The 30-unit program normally requires four to six academic quarters due to the scheduling of classes. 

What Are the Course Requirements?

Students must enroll in the following courses and pass them with a C to earn the certificate. A maximum of two non-core courses taken at other institutions may be transferred in.

Linguistics

• ENGL 290:  Introduction to Linguistics (for undergraduates) 
     OR ENGL 503: Graduate Introduction to Linguistics (for graduate students) (4 units)
ENGL 390: The Linguistic Structure of Modern English (4 units)
ENGL 391: Topics in Applied Linguistics  (4 units)
ENGL 495: Applied Language Study  (Variable course content may be repeated)  (4 units)

Communications

COMS 316: Intercultural Communications (4 units)  

Core TESL

• ENGL 497:  Theories of Language Learning and Teaching  (4 units)
• ENGL 498:  Approaches to Teaching English as a Second Language Dialect  (4 units)
• ENGL 499:  Practicum in Teaching English as a Second Language/Dialect (2 units)

Modern Language Requirement

In addition to the coursework for the TESL Certificate, students must satisfy the modern language requirement. One year of a modern language at the college study (or completion of a course such as FR, GER, or SPAN 103) is required. 

Why Should I Pursue the Cal Poly TESL Certificate? 

The TESL Certificate Program is offered through academic departments with faculty having significant teaching and research experience. The certificate adheres to TESOL International Association Guidelines, and it is recognized both in the U.S. and abroad for teaching English to speakers of other languages. Cal Poly TESL Certificate graduates who also earn the appropriate degree and/or credential teach in K-12, community college, and university classrooms. 

TESL Certificate graduates are prepared to address various challenges in teaching English language learners from diverse language and cultural backgrounds.  

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