Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA TESOL)

The Westcliff MA TESOL program prepares you for a career in TESOL instruction or administration. At Westcliff University you will

  • Work with diverse students, make teaching demonstrations, and lead projects based on the latest research in the TESOL field
  • Build a foundation in TESOL principles for teaching and for administration
  • Develop your ability to think critically and problem solve creatively
  • Take advantage of workshops and guest speaker presentations, offered throughout the year on both online and hybrid programs.
  • Network with students and faculty working in diverse TESOL backgrounds
  • Equally important, you will learn from professors who are experienced TESOL instructors, administrators, and curriculum and program developers

The mission of the MA TESOL Program is to prepare students to be competent and reflective TESOL professionals in the global community who possess the breadth and depth of knowledge in the theories and pedagogy necessary for varied ESOL teaching contexts and student needs.

MA TESOL Program produces graduates with the skills to train teaching faculty who excel in their roles as educators, creative scholars, and researchers.  This program will prepare teachers for a wide variety of positions both in the US and abroad.  Our students will be equipped with the specialized knowledge and field skills for teaching English to speakers of other languages.  Upon graduation, they will be competent professional educators with demonstrable leadership skills.

The performance outcomes which are required for the completion of the program include: class participation, response to discussion questions, writing research papers, group assignments, case study analyses, quizzes, mid-term and final examinations (Comprehensive Learning Assessments).

Westcliff University wants to produce capable and knowledgeable students who manifest an understanding of work and careers and an ability to adapt quickly to the expectations of employers and the work environment. To this end we strive to realize the following set of Program Outcomes for all our graduates from the MA TESOL Program.

The master’s degree in TESOL requires both academic and personal growth of its students, contributing to their success as classroom teachers.

The following educational outcomes are those of the MA TESOL Program:

  1. Demonstrate principles of language pedagogy and of current best practices in teaching English to speakers of other languages; relate how these principles are based on research of language acquisition and the teaching of the various skills
  2. Show proficiency in spoken and written English at a level commensurate with the role of a language model of the anticipated English teaching context
  3. Consider current TESOL pedagogy in the creation of effective lesson plans for diverse groups of learners in a variety of teaching contexts; evaluate materials, produce content and level appropriate lesson plans, and employ the skills required to explain the English language system
  4. Explain current theories concerning the cognitive, affective, social, and cultural factors involved in the acquisition and use of second languages and illustrate this knowledge in effective lesson design and classroom interactions with second language learners
  5. Identify and apply the skills necessary for effective leadership, collaboration, and communication in and out of the classroom and/or institution
  6. Analyze, discuss and integrate ethical values and issues in learning and teaching
  7. Select, assess, and implement technology in teaching English within a wide variety of contexts
  8. Formulate and build upon the application of analytical and quantitative reasoning and classroom research procedures to guide, support, and solve complex issues in the TESOL field
  9. Recognize when information and/or analysis is needed and develop skills to find, appraise, and effectively synthesize and compose needed information and content
  10. Construct and challenge critical thinking skills through inquiry and reflection on theory, practice, and beliefs of teaching and learning

Concentration: Educational Technology (EDT) * (9 Credit hours)

The MA TESOL concentration in Educational Technology prepares educators and professionals to create, enhance, and innovate their classrooms and curriculum with technology for learning. Opportunities for building technology skills and confidence, evaluating current trends and tools, and designing and implementing content and assessments based on current learning theories and best practices, will build a foundation for educators and prepare them to lead and contribute in their perspective contexts.

Four (4) courses required including practicum

TSL/EDT 591 Foundations of Educational Technology and Pedagogy:

The Foundations of Educational Technology and Pedagogy course looks at classic and contemporary educational and language learning theories and applying them through technological avenues and materials.  This course also focuses on issues in educational technology, transfer of pedagogy to an online context, and adaptive learning.

TSL/EDT 592 Digital Assessment in Teaching and Learning:

The Digital Assessment in Teaching and Learning course is an introduction to assessment and the digital assessment capabilities that can be used in language learning educational contexts.  The course focuses on the digital tools involved in assessments such as portfolios, needs assessments, surveys, tests, and rubrics. Students will create digital assessment tools as well as analyze the collected data.

TSL/EDT 593 Creating Digital Content for Teaching:

The Creating Digital Content for Teaching course consists of skill development at the technological level.  Through multiple tutorials and mini assignments, students learn to design and create courses on learning management systems, create educational websites, and develop professional development tutorials to use for teacher training opportunities.

* STEM Concentration

Student must complete thirty-six (36) prescribed credit hours with a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher.  Students may complete all 36 credits at Westcliff University. Alternatively, students may apply to be granted course waivers for up to 6 credit hours of the required MA TESOL Courses. Please refer to the Transfer Credit and Course Waiver Policies for more detailed information and requirements.

Students must apply for graduation and meet all academic and financial requirements.

MA TESOL Program (36 credit hours)

TSL 502 Vocabulary Instruction 3 credit hours
TSL 507 Pronunciation Instruction 3 credit hours
TSL 512 Writing Instruction 3 credit hours
TSL 515 Second Language Acquisition 3 credit hours
TSL 520 Grammar Instruction 3 credit hours
TSL 527 Methods of Teaching ESL/EFL ** 3 credit hours
TSL 532 Listening & Speaking Instruction ** 3 credit hours
TSL 542 The English Language in Society 3 credit hours
TSL 545 Reading Instruction 3 credit hours
TSL 552 Special topics in TESOL ** 3 credit hours
TSL 590 Curriculum Design 3 credit hours
TSL 600 Practicum 3 credit hours
Total MATESOL program

** Not required for STEM Concentration

36 credit hours

Students must complete prescribed credit hours with a cumulative G.P.A of 3.0 or higher. Students must apply for graduation and meet all academic and financial requirements.

TSL 502 Vocabulary Instruction(3 credit hours). This is an in-depth course in vocabulary instruction, based partly on morphology, or the structure and classification of words. Processes involved in word form variation will be reviewed, with a focus on methods for teaching vocabulary to English L2 learners.

TSL 507 Pronunciation Instruction (3 credit hours). This is an in-depth course in pronunciation instruction, based partly on phonology—the study of speech sounds. It covers both segmental (vowel and consonant) and suprasegmental (stress, rhythm, intonation, and connected speech features) aspects of language, with focus on effective teaching of pronunciation to non-native speakers of English—including explanation of challenges that these learners face.

TSL 512 Writing Instruction (3 credit hours). This course is designed to give the EFL/ESL teacher various skills, strategies, and theories to teach writing to L2 learners.  The course goes into detail on ways to analyze various writing pedagogies, develop writing courses, create tasks and assignments, assess student writing, give feedback to students, and develop language skills through writing.

TSL 515 Second Language Acquisition (3 credit hours). This course provides an overview of second language acquisition; traces source and development of major trends and issues in teaching English; illustrates practical ways ESL/EFL teachers can incorporate these ideas in their own teaching practice. The course links the socio-cognitive foundations of second language acquisition and their applications as relevant, realistic, and effective pedagogical practices which will be demonstrated and taught throughout the course.

TSL 520 Grammar Instruction (3 credit hours). This course provides a thorough introduction to the grammar of spoken and written contemporary English. Included in the course is a focus on how spoken and written English differ and a look at current theories of syntax. Also included is a focus on how to effectively teach grammar to non-native speakers of English.

TSL 527 Methods of Teaching ESL/EFL (3 credit hours). This course will provide an overview of the field of language teaching by examining past and present teaching approaches and related research. There will be a balance between theory and practice that is, between providing necessary background information and relevant research, on the one hand, and offering a host of techniques and strategies that support the best principles for language learning with an emphasis on writing effective lesson plans which include supportive assessment.

TSL 532 Listening and Speaking Instruction (3 credit hours). This course explores the conceptual frameworks currently defining ‘speaking’ and ‘listening’ – what it is we are teaching and the processes involved. This theory is balanced with a focus on practical teaching strategies. Also included are lesson planning and skill assessment techniques.

TSL 542 The English Language in Society (3 credit hours). This course presents a thorough introduction to sociolinguistics, the study of the ways in which societal factors affect the ways in which language is used among various interlocutors. Included in the course is an examination of the various social contexts of language use (both in and out of school), dialects and regionalisms, the effects of cultural background on the acquisition of literacy, and the ways in which learners interact in cross-cultural settings.

TSL 545 Reading Instruction (3 credit hours). This course focuses on how English language learners learn to read and how they can be helped to achieve the goal of increased literacy. Included is a focus on theories of literacy acquisition (e.g., phonics, whole language) and the role of exposure vs. explicit instruction in the development of reading skills. As one of the course assignments, students create and deliver lesson plans aimed at helping emerging readers improve their reading skills.

TSL 552 Special Topics in TESOL (3 credit hours). This course focuses on current topics in TESOL regarding pedagogy, Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), how to do research and become familiar with the various aspects of the field of TESOL, which includes knowledge about the multiple environments in which teachers can teach.

TSL 590 Curriculum Design (3 credit hours). This course presents a thorough introduction to the dynamics of designing a language course. Included in the course is an examination of the systems approach and the various contexts that influence the design of a language course and lesson planning.

TSL 600 Practicum (3 credit hours). The TESOL Practicum is a two-part course that enables students to gain real experience as teachers of English to speakers of other languages:

The first part of the 8-week course is a 4-week fieldwork assignment, which includes classroom observation with a participating school or educational organization. The second part, which consists of the last 4-weeks of fieldwork, involves students creating and teaching a lesson that incorporates theories and teaching methodologies learned over the course of the degree program and via independent research.

This course requires students to submit a video recording of a lesson presentation and to compile an extensive reflection and critical analysis of the different teaching techniques observed in the classroom. Students present their lesson plans and constructively evaluate them online, sharing their practicum experience with peers using an audio recording presentation such as PowerPoint with voice recording, a Voice Thread presentation, etc .