Training available to teach English

Lucy Li, Copy Editor

A new English Language Learner course is offered this semester, said an Aug. 20 email from an English professor Brian Burke.

The course is one of the four new courses that are part of a proposed English as a Second Language Program Specialist certification, according to the email.

The program will build on the current Introduction to English as a Second Language Course, and it is a requirement for all education majors.

According to Burke, the reason for the addition of this new course is because of the increasing demand for educators trained in English as a second language.

“Pitt-Johnstown already has the initial English Language Learners course which is required for all majors. (We) recognized that there is much more to the field of (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Foreign Languages) that this course does not cover.  In the past, students have expressed an interest in this field and now the Education (Division) is meeting that demand. 

“These courses are also recognized as the courses students can take under the World of Knowledge electives that count toward a student’s degree at (Pitt-Johnstown),” Burke said.

He said that the course being offered this fall is called the Theoretical Foundations of (English Language Leaner) Instruction, and covers linguistic theories, and he said the course should prepare students for a cultural course and a language acquisition course offered in spring 2019. 

“Currently, we have a healthy handful of students taking the Theoretical Foundations of (English Language Leaner) Instruction course,” Burke said.

In order to get the English as a Second Language program specialist certification, students need to complete (three) more courses: Contexts for Teaching and Learning English, Language Acquisition and Development of English Language Learners, and Curriculum and Assessment for (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Foreign Languages) Language Learners, Burke said.

The email said that students will gain understanding of how to adapt standard-based lessons for English language learners. 

Students are to develop cross-cultural competence through interactions with English learners, teachers and school staff after taking the course, according to the email.

Junior Eileen Schmidt, an education major, said that she did not take the course this semester.

She said that she felt that the course can provide a crucial skill and make individuals more unique in the job market.

“I would love to gain the course under my belt before leaving (Pitt-Johnstown), but I didn’t take this course because of the limited time restrictions for the class,” she said.

Burke agreed that the course provides crucial skills and makes students more unique in the job market.

“This (English as a Second Language) Program Specialist Certification is very beneficial for the future educators, as well as beneficial for those who will enter the real world of multi-cultures and languages. It will make students more marketable as there is a documented growing need for this training,” Burke said.