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Course Sequence

M.S.Ed. in English as a Second Language (ESL) Program

Department of Instruction and Leadership in Education | Duquesne University

Students who plan to pursue language teaching careers in adult settings including at language teaching centers or higher education institutions can enroll in our ESL M.S.Ed. program. After taking the five prerequisite courses in ESL (the 16 credits for the specialist certificate), these students take five additional courses related to different areas in education. In addition to providing the candidates with fundamental ESL domains and competencies related to theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and dispositions to successfully work with second language learners, the M.S.Ed. program allows students to select a related concentration through courses ranging from multicultural education, reading disabilities, and instructional technology to adolescent literature and the teaching of language arts. This program is also very well suited to international students and US students who plan to teach English as a foreign language (EFL) abroad.

I. Required Courses for the M.S.Ed. in ESL Program (18 credits)
 Subject Code            Title                                                                                                                 Offered                         Credits             
GESL 508 Culturally and Lingusitically Diverse Learners Fall 3
GESL 510 Theories and Practice of Second Language Learning Fall 3
GESL 512 ESL Curriculum and Assessment Spring 3
GESL 515 Sociolinguistics and the ESL Classroom Spring 3
GESL 518 Integrated Literacy in the Content Areas Summer 3
GESL 520 Advanced English Grammar and Applied Linguistics Fall 3

II. Elective Courses - for the ESL Program Specialist Certificate   (12 credits)

Methods, Reading and Curriculum, and Technology

Subject Code                   Title                                                                                                                                          Offered                   Credits                     
GILT 511 Technology and Education Fall, Spring & Summer 3
GILT512 Instuctional Design Fall & Spring 3
GRLA 521 Reading Programs and Instruction Fall, Spring & Summer 3
GRLA 524 Psychology of Reading Fall, Spring & Summer 3
GRLA 525 The Teaching of Writing Fall & Spring 3
GRLA 529 Reading in the Secondary Schools Fall, Spring & Summer 3
GRLA 625 Reading Disabilities Fall, Spring & Summer 3
GSCE 637 Teaching English in Secondary School Fall & Spring 3
GSCE 540 Adolescent Literature Spring 3
ENGL 562 Introduction to Linguistics Spring 3
ENGL 564 Modern English Grammar Fall 3
GESL 690 M.S.Ed. Practicum Experience Fall & Spring 3

Course Descriptions


GESL 508 - Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
This course provides the knowledge, skills and dispositions that enable K-12 teachers to facilitate learning among students from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds. It integrates theory and research with practical classroom applications to address the needs of teachers who work with limited English proficient students of all language background. Intended to focus on access to literacy and educational opportunity for ESL learners, the course will engage class members in discussions around a variety of topics in educational practice, research, and policy. Specifically, the course will (1) explore variations in personality, educational background, social class, ethnicity, national origin, language, and culture; (2) analyze the issues of race, racism, and culture in historical and contemporary perspective, (3) explore strategies for teaching multicultural and multilingual ESL learners in K-12 settings, and (4) identify obstacles to participation in the educational process by diverse cultural and ethnic groups. Students will be required to complete field experiences and classroom activities that enable them to reflect on their own belief systems, practices, and educational experiences. Field experience is articulated with course outcomes and assignments. Offered in the fall.


GESL 510 - Theories and Practice of Second Language Learning
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to theories and research of second language acquisition (SLA), explores factors that influence L2 learning process, compares the similarities and differences between first and second language acquisition, and discusses the implications of these theories for second language teaching. Topics will cover SLA theoretical models, (e.g. UG, processing models, the input hypothesis, the socio-educational model, multi-competence model, and socio-cultural model), individual differences (e.g. motivation, attitude, age, cognitive styles, memory, learning strategies), second language teaching styles (e.g. the academic style, the audio-lingual style, the communicative style, the mainstream EFL style), and teaching of a particular aspect of second language (e.g. grammar, pronunciation, listening, reading, writing) based on SLA research. Offered in the fall.


GESL 512 - ESL Curriculum and Assessment
This course provides a general overview of curriculum and assessment for ESL education. It exposes participants to a wide variety of strategies used to assess ESL students' at K-12 levels language proficiency as well as presents abundant approaches to plan ESL curriculum. ESL curriculum involves (a) the study of learners' needs, (b) the setting of objectives, (c) the development of a syllabus, teaching methods and materials, and (d) the evaluation of the effects of these procedures on the learners' language abilities. Assessment involves measurement and evaluation of the ability of a student, the quality or success of a teaching course, and the implementation of an ESL program. The major focus of this course, thus, includes aligning curriculum with ESL and PDE standards, integrating teaching methodology with curriculum design, considering the syllabus and lesson planning, examining the authentic and innovative assessment practices, investigating various types of language assessment, evaluating the appropriateness of assessment measures, and assessing cultural appropriate testing situations. Students will be evaluated on the basis of class attendance/discussion. Offered in the spring.


GESL 515 - Sociolinguistics and the ESL classroom
This course addresses the relationship between language use and the social world. It provides an overview of the main topics of sociolinguistics and an introduction to the most important methods used in sociolinguistic research and analysis. The lectures will be built around a discussion of topics and notions, such as the speech community, dialect, code-switching, language variation, pidgins and Creoles, bilingualism, multilingualism, diglossia, address systems, language and gender, language planning, language maintenance, and language shift. The course also covers an introduction to the basic levels of language (phonetics and phonology, morphology and semantics, syntax, pragmatics) with special emphasis on the relevance of linguistic concepts to education. Students will explore the relationships between language and society as well as between sociolinguistics and education by assigned readings, classroom discussions, written assignments, oral presentation, and final examination. Offered in the spring.


GESL 518 - Integrated Literacy in the content Areas
Classroom success depends upon the ability of ESL students to master academic language. This course is designed to incorporate ESL strategies in the content area classrooms for English language learners. The emphasis of this course will be focused on the techniques and strategies for improving second language learners' listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the content area classrooms. Content area language instruction will cover ESL teaching in courses such as Reading, Writing, Science, Mathematics, Social studies, Music, Arts, Physical Education, Health Education, and Business Education. Offered in the summer.

GESL 520 - Advanced English Grammar and Applied Linguistics
This course aims to support current and prospective ESL/EFL teachers in expanding their knowledge and skills in three main areas within TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages): 1. Advanced English Grammar, which explores the associated metalanguage of grammar and pedagogical principles for teaching grammar to L2 users as a tool for communication; 2. Key Applied Linguistics concepts and areas, such as the NS/NNS dichotomy, the role of identity in language acquisition and use, critical Applied Linguistics, and alternative approaches to language acquisition; and 3. Qualitative and quantitative inquiries and paradigms in Applied Linguistics.


GESL 600 - Practicum Experiences
The practicum consists of 60 hours of related field experiences, embedded in courses across the program aims to provide ESL teacher candidates with learning experiences in situations and settings that are similar to the settings in which the candidates will teach upon the completion of the ESL specialist certificate program. For each course to which the practicum is tied, there will be a practicum assignment with clearly explained goals, TESOL standards, and evaluation methods. The practicum will be conducted under the guidance and mentorship of the ESL program faculty and the supervision of a certified ESL teacher. All students must have their clearances: Act 33 (Child Abuse) / Act 34 (Criminal History) / Act 114 (FBI)/TB Test, submitted to the Office of Student and Academic Services prior to field experiences. Offered in the fall and spring.