Cathryn Crosby, program coordinator for the Department of Instructional Design/ Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages programs, has proposed a TESOL and applied linguistics undergraduate program. Emporia State currently offers the TESOL program as an endorsement for teachers as well as a master’s degree.
The proposal, which requires no additional funding or faculty, is led by Crosby. According to Crosby, the program would include a vast array of intro to sociolinguistic theory courses ranging from gender to pedagogical practices.
“In order to understand one language I think it’s really important for us to understand another language, especially if we are going to teach it to non-native speakers and especially if we are a native speaker of that language,” Crosby said. “Studying English as another language as native speakers is really important because we get to look at our own language in ways that we haven’t looked at it because we acquired our language like all native speakers do.”
The program’s proposal will be decided by the end of the academic year.
“It would be really beneficial if it was a program of its own,” said Hannah Lingard, junior English education major. “It’s something I would have wanted to do when I was first starting school. It would focus more on a variety of teaching methods.”
Katherine O’Meara, director of composition, said she believes the program would help fill in some gaps in what the college offers.
“It doesn’t matter what field you go into; it makes you instantly more marketable to say that you’ve dealt with multilingual populations,” said O’Meara in a phone interview.
Having taught multilingual students and focusing on teaching secondary language classes O’Meara said it is a particularly rewarding experience. According to O’Meara, the endorsements for teacher licensures are not nearly as formal as the proposed undergraduate degree.
“It’s really exciting because having that sort of knowledge helps you reach out and help all different types of populations,” O’Meara said. “Obviously there are challenges, but the juice is worth the squeeze.”
If approved by the college, the proposal will go to the Kansas Board of Regents for final approval before it is implemented in the 2020-2021 academic year.