Welcome. This brief presentation is meant as an introduction to the TESOL and Bilingual Education programs in the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University. You may be viewing this as part of a virtual open house to get a better sense of the options and opportunities that our programs offer.
My name is Meg Burns, and you'll be hearing my voice throughout the presentation. I am an Assistant Professor of TESOL and Bilingual Education.
Why explore our programs? Well, in Massachusetts and nationally, emerging bilingual students, who you more commonly will hear referred to as English Learners or ELs, are the fastest growing population of K-12 students, so there's a real need here. And they're also a diverse group of students with complex backgrounds and strong linguistic and academic assets. They make teaching really fun. It's a fun group of students to work with. They often in school experience inequitable learning conditions, meaning that the opportunities that they need and deserve are not always presented to them. So if you're someone who's becoming a teacher because you have a sense of equity and justice in education, this can be a great place to hone your skills with this population.
And from a pragmatic standpoint, if you're thinking about getting a job and getting hired, many districts in our state experience shortages of teachers who are qualified to work with this population, either as ESL teachers or bilingual teachers, or teachers in sheltered English classrooms. We always work closely with our district contacts to help them meet their hiring needs. So this is a great way to get into a district, especially if you have a passion for this area.
And then, finally, you're going to be positioned in our program not just as a teacher, but as a leader. Because we use what we refer to as an asset-based approach to language teaching, you're going to leave our program feeling and knowing that your emerging bilingual students have assets that they bring to the classroom. They have skills. They have abilities. They have knowledge, and that's going to help you advocate for them. So you won't just be isolated in your classroom as a teacher, you're going to be thinking about the bigger picture of what bilingual learners need in the field of education.
Our programs have two areas of concentration. The first is the most common. It's called TESOL, which stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. And this is the name given to the broader field of study in which ESL teachers are prepared. So if you're interested in becoming an ESL teacher, this is the concentration to focus on in our program. We have a Master's in ESL, we have a License Only and we have an Endorsement Only. So you have a few different options in terms of how many credits and what what type of program you're looking for. Both the master's and the license include a practicum experience, and you work with our field placement office to get placed in a school in the area to complete that practicum requirement. And the License Only option, if you go with that, you can get your ESL License either as an initial license or an additional license. So if you already have, for example, your Elementary License or your Special Education License, and you decide to add a license, you can do that as well. But ESL is also an initial license.
The second area of concentration is one that we have coming up in the fall of 2020 to start, and this is Bilingual Education. This is where you have folks who are bilingual, who speak more than one language and are teachers or are becoming teachers, and they're working or preparing to work in settings where instruction is delivered in two languages. In Massachusetts, these are most commonly referred to as dual language schools. Most of them are in Spanish. We have some Portuguese dual language. We have a few other languages as well. So we will have a Master's in Bilingual Education, where you get your ESL license and your Bilingual Endorsement because there is that practicum piece. But at the state level, there is no Bilingual License, there's only a Bilingual Endorsement, so you also have the option to just get the endorsement. In order to do this, you do need to have an initial license already. But everyone who's working in dual language schools in Massachusetts is required to have this Bilingual Endorsement. So we offer that as well.
All of our coursework is available online, and we work with our faculty, both our core faculty and adjunct faculty, to make sure that the quality of online teaching is high quality. Courses are interactive, engaging, and faculty regularly use video conferencing tools to meet with individual students and with groups of students, so you do get the face-to-face experience. Some courses will also occasionally meet in person, sometimes on campus, sometimes in off campus cohorts based in districts. So if you have a connection with a district, you might be part of a cohort that way. In the master's, there are two electives that are required, and those are on campus electives, and we offer flexible starting throughout the fall, spring or summer.
The faculty in our programs are skilled teachers. We all started out as teachers. We're teachers at heart. We're also cutting edge researchers engaging in research projects in schools around the state. And we're also local policy advocates. We work with local organizations, professional groups, to advocate for the rights of bilingual students and bilingual education. These are the three core faculty that we have at this time. Dr. Laura Schall-Leckrone is our program director. Dr. Meg Burns, that's me, I'm in the middle. We also have a visiting assistant professor in spring of 2020, Dr. Rocio Sanchez Ares. We have a wonderful team of expert adjunct faculty, so we work very closely with them. We're in communication with them, and they are people that we trust and respect in our field as well, and so they will teach many of our courses as well.
Laura and I always love hearing from potential students. We love connecting with you and talking about your options, so please don't hesitate to reach out to us and to learn more about our programs. We have more information we can share with you, and we look forward to getting to know you.