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Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Frequently Asked Questions


 What degree and licensure do I get?

Degree: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) 4 Year Major Bachelor of Science

Licensure: Licensure in ESL Prek-12

 What are the goals of this program?

The TESOL major enables students to become knowledgeable about the theories of linguistics, research on social and cultural variables that influence language acquisition, the knowledge required to facilitate and assess language instruction in content areas, and laws governing the education of children for whom English is not their native language.

Specific goals of the program are aligned to Virginia Department of Education licensure requirements for Professional Studies (8VAC20-543-140) as well as English as a Second Language program competencies (8VAC20-543-300).

 Who is eligible to apply?

Anyone who already holds a high school diploma and is interested in a career as teaching English to speakers of other languages is eligible.

 When does it start and how long does it take?

A full-time student will be able to complete the program in 4-years. Part-time students are subject to varying timelines.

 What kind of practical experience will I receive?

Each student participates in four field experiences prior to doing a full semester of student teaching. The field experiences will be in community-based organizations and K-12 school levels: elementary, middle, and high school. You will work with students of various English language proficiencies and cultures.

 Where will I be taking courses and in what format?

Most teacher education courses take place on the JMU campus in Memorial Hall and are face to face courses. You will also take general education courses which can be offered all over the JMU campus.

 How many students are in the program?

The TESOL Program is a new program and was approved in May 2020. The program will have fewer students than in other education majors.  If you are a full-time student, you can expect to have the same group of classmates for most of your teacher education classes. Some courses are open to students in other programs and, consequently, may be larger.

 Can I student teach outside the area as opposed to near Harrisonburg?

Yes, you can petition to teach outside of Harrisonburg.

 What is unique about JMU’s program?

JMU is located in Harrisonburg in which the prek-12 public school students speak over 60 languages, and the emergent bilingual speakers/English learners make up over 30% of the school age population. The community provides an optimal setting for this program.

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