TESOL Certificate Program
Graduate students at Bowling Green State University have the opportunity to earn a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
Students wishing to earn the certificate take a total of four courses (12 hours) in the English department. We currently offer these classes two at a time so that students can complete the certificate in a single year or can spread the courses out over two years.
Student Spotlight: Andrew Van Lew
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I earned an M.A. in Cross-Cultural and International Education at BGSU in 2015, through which I earned my TESOL certificate. Prior to my time at BGSU I spent about a decade teaching EFL first through the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and then as a teacher and academic director of a private language institute in South Korea. Since graduating from BGSU I have been a foreign student advisor at the University of Arkansas. I have also continued to work in ESL within my community by being an instructor, board member and teacher trainer here at the Ozark Literacy Council here in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
What made you initially decide to pursue to TESOL certificate?
While I spent a lot of time teaching abroad, I never got a lot of full-time study to develop and refine my skills as an ESL instructor. It was mostly on-the-job training, short workshops and seminars, but never months at a time studying and reflecting on those studies. The TESOL certificate provided that opportunity.
If students choose the two-year cycle, we recommend the order given below:
LING 6150: Modern English Linguistics; offered online summer and fall semester
This is a starting point of the certificate cycle: An introduction to the study of languages and linguistics with an emphasis on the structure of the languages of the world. Topics include: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, language death, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, gender and language and first language acquisition.
LING 5170: Applied Syntax; Offered Spring Semester
An in-depth study of English syntax with a focus on areas that are difficult for second language learners. Emphasis is placed on how English differs from other widely-spoken languages, recognizing and diagnosing learners' errors and clearly and accurately answering students' questions about grammar and usage.
LING 5180: Applied Phonology; offered fall semester
An in-depth study of the sound structure of English and other languages. The consonants, vowels, syllable structure and intonation of English are studied both to discover how best to teach clear pronunciation and to predict what areas will pose difficulties for students. Emphasis is placed on developing exceptional phonetic transcription skills and developing strategies for teaching clear pronunciation.
LING 5100: Methods of TESOL; Offered Spring Semester
This class is, in many ways, the capstone of the certificate cycle: An up-to-date study of the theories and best practices of teaching a second language both in the classroom and in tutoring situations. Students in this class have access to the ESOL department's exceptional staff of ESOL instructors during this semester and may observe these courses. They will study the history of pedagogical thought on language acquisition and engage with important classroom issues.
As the demand for fluent speakers of English grows in national and international educational settings, the need for trained English teachers grows also. Although we do not currently offer an Ohio K-12 endorsement in TESOL, BGSU's certificate is designed to offer teachers and future teachers the technical information about linguistics, language pedagogy and the structure of English they need to work effectively in second language settings. This set of courses serves as excellent preparation for those who wish to teach English overseas or for those wishing to pursue further studies in linguistics.
The program is designed either as a stand-alone certification or as a complement to graduate degrees in English, Education, Spanish, German, French, MACIE, business, social work and related fields.
Students considering the certificate might also want to investigate:
- BGSU's modern Language Learning Center: a fully-equipped language learning laboratory
- The Cross Cultural Conversation Connection program: an ESOL program outreach which pairs American and international students for cultural exchange and language practice.
- The ESOL program: speaking, listening, reading and writing courses for those whose first language is not English. Although entering students must have a good command of English to begin TESOL classes, the availability of these courses means that non - native speakers of English can receive some language support themselves while studying for the TESOL certificate.
- Community English class: another outreach of BGSU's ESOL program: a non-academic English class for community members and families of BGSU students and employees.
Applicants should complete the online application through BGSU Graduate College, which will collect all necessary materials. Required materials include:
- Transcripts for each college or university attended.
- Application fee.
- A statement of purpose (roughly 2 pages, double-spaced).
- Three (3) letters of recommendation.
In addition, applicants must demonstrate sufficient command of spoken and written English to complete the coursework. English proficiency is demonstrated by way of an interview with the TESOL program coordinator or ESOL director.