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UHV adds graduate English as Second Language concentration

Graduate students in the University of Houston-Victoria School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development soon will be able to pursue a concentration that focuses on teaching English or other languages to non-native speakers.

Students working to earn a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction can choose to pursue a concentration in English as a Second Language/Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. The concentration will start in the fall.

Liping Wei

“There is a considerable demand for teachers who are equipped to work with ESL students,” said Liping Wei, a UHV assistant professor of curriculum and instruction. “In the Houston area alone, there is a hugely diverse international presence, and those students need people who can teach them English and other languages. This program is suitable for those who want to teach or administer a program of not only English but also any language as a second language.”

The school developed the concentration in response to a growing need for ESL/TESOL educators in the U.S. and the world, Wei said. The need expands past an increase in the number of young students who need to learn English. There also are immigrants, refugees and international businesspeople who want and need to learn English. In addition, the program will teach students strategies for teaching other languages as well.

“With English serving as an international language, tens of thousands of people around the world learn English in order to achieve success in their careers and lives,” Wei said. “There is a considerable demand for qualified teachers of English and those who can take a leadership role in training teachers and administering programs in this high-need area within and outside the U.S.”

The concentration, which is part of the 30-hour Master of Education in curriculum and instruction, will be offered completely online. Of those hours, 12 will be education core courses, 15 will focus on the area of study; and three hours will be a professional research capstone course.

Fred Litton

The courses will focus on the skills necessary to teach English language learners and other foreign language students. Students will learn the methods, techniques, strategies and factors that contribute to an effective multicultural and multilingual learning environment.

Current teachers can pursue this degree to widen their professional opportunities and help their students learn English.

Graduates of the concentration can pursue positions as ESL instructors, curriculum developers, instructional specialists, program coordinators, administrators and professors in a variety of settings. These include K-12 schools, school districts, regional service centers, intensive English language programs, adult basic education programs, government or military schools, private international language schools, community-based language programs for immigrants and refugees, corporate training and consulting, and community colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad.

“The ESL/TESOL concentration will be an excellent addition to the School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development’s offerings,” said Fred Litton, dean of the school. “It is the school’s goal to meet the needs of the teachers, students and communities we serve, and this concentration will prepare the teachers to address the rising number of students who need these services.”