New CUA Master's Program in
English as Second Language
July 13, 1998
o help meet the growing needs of an increasingly multilingual and multicultural population, The Catholic University of America now offers a master's degree in English as a Second Language.
Joan Thompson, assistant professor of education and coordinator of the degree program, which was designed by faculty from several departments, said that Catholic University's approach is unique because it incorporates courses in anthropology, English, education, history and modern languages.
"When you're working with students from many different cultures, there's no one method for teaching English," said Thompson. "This program is sensitive to cultural backgrounds and to what the kids bring to class. We want our teachers to know about the community and to involve parents, many of whom are not proficient in English. To be an ESL teacher you need to know how to involve parents in the process of working with the students."
The 36-credit hour master's degree meets state certification requirements for teaching grades K-12. A 30-hour ESL certification also is available for those who do not need a master's degree.
Thompson said the ESL program is an outgrowth of an undergraduate concentration in language and culture and the need of local schools for teachers who specialize in teaching English as a second language.
"There is a great need in the community," she said. "We have large Latino and Asian populations, for example. In one Montgomery County school 37 different languages are spoken."
CUA's education department's master's and doctoral programs prepare administrators, scholars and researchers committed to studying critical issues such as the teaching-learning process, instructional settings, and the role of cultural and religious diversity in education.
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