Course Descriptions

Required Textbooks for Courses

Please note: Any required textbooks for the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Specialist Certification must be located and purchased by the participant. Textbooks will not be provided or paid for by the Intermediate Unit for the ESL Certification Program and are not covered in the scholarship tuition reimbursement program.

ESL 1: Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language

This course will introduce participants to the five domains of teaching English language learners—language, culture, instruction, assessment, and professionalism. Emphasis is placed on Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) teaching standards and Pennsylvania K–12 and Common Core standards. Teachers will examine research-based practices in those five domains and identify their role as an ESL teacher.

ESL 2: Developing Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity

This course examines the cultural background of English language learners, cross-cultural differences in an educational context, and the role of culture in behavior, cognition, and learning. The course will enable participants to understand how their own cultural background impacts their views of education and to create a curriculum and classroom environment responsive to a culturally diverse student population.

ESL 3: Observing, Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction

This course will allow teachers to examine the theories, principles, and practices that assist English language learners in achieving academic proficiency in the content areas. Planning standards-based instruction and adapting instruction in the content areas is emphasized. To promote the academic success of English language learners, teacher will involve the family and community, and analyze the learner to establish learning goals and assessment measures that are appropriate for the individual.

ESL 4: Language Acquisition and Development

This course will explore the processes involved in second language acquisition and development. Participants will learn the theories of seconds-language acquisition, the styles of and strategies used in language learning, and the socio-cultural and cross-linguistic influences on language learning. Participants will also conduct research on the structure and nature of language with a view to assisting students to adjust to the challenges of learning a new language.

ESL 5: Assessment and Support

This course will allow teachers gain exposure to the tools necessary to be able to assess English language learners appropriately and in a timely way. The course will offer knowledge on benchmarks for different proficiency levels. An ESL teacher will need to know, demonstrate, and share knowledge and techniques of appropriate assessment with a range of stakeholders. This will include the ability to implement required testing as well as to make accommodations to such testing where appropriate; the expertise to help colleagues and families understand how assessment can be designed and interpreted to best demonstrate what English language learners (ELLs) know and can do; the use of data generated by multiple measures of assessment to ensure that ELLs have access to a quality language instructional program; and to make forward progress toward benchmarks in language and academic proficiency while enrolled and exited the program.

ESL 6: English Language Learners Family, Community, and Professionalism

This course is geared toward equipping ESL teachers with the necessary tools to give ESL students the support they need while they undergo the challenges of transition. Issues that may arise concerning the support of students in the classroom, school, and the community will be addressed. Professionalism is regarded as a key domain for second language teacher educators. Not only do ESL teachers need to establish themselves as highly qualified experts in their field, they must serve as sources of knowledge about current language policy. To advocate for the profession and their students, ESL teachers must be able to take full advantage of professional resources and relationships at local, regional, and national levels.