Education Career Spotlight: English as a Second Language

Assumption College Undergraduate

The population of Spanish-speaking Americans, the largest, fastest-growing non-English speaking group in the United States, will rise anywhere between 39 and 43 million by 2020, with the number of individuals speaking Spanish up 233 percent since 1980.

bachelors in education students working with ESL kidsAccording to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the District of Columbia and 24 states — including Massachusetts — from 2012-2013, six percent or more of public school students were English Language Learners (ELL).

This same year, 63,917 Massachusetts schools participated in programs for ELL language assistance, such as English as a Second Language (ESL).

Across the nation, districts struggle to fill teaching positions for ESL programs.

Bachelor’s in education students at Assumption College take EDU 302 Teaching English Language Learners. In this course, students will learn about the various ways in which pupils acquire language, and the particular learning needs of students currently learning English. Students in this course will also learn to design academic landscapes in which non-native English speakers can effectively learn in K-12 settings.

While pedagogical skills in teaching English language learners are useful for every teacher, education students can consider a career path working as a specialist in an English learning program.

In an article for the Atlantic, Laura McKenna explains that teachers specializing in English as a second language are in high demand, which has been the case for years, and that shifting demographics in student populations only suggest a growth in this demand.

If you think teaching English as a Second Language might be a good career fit for you, talk to your advisor about the steps to take toward certification, graduate school opportunities and specific coursework to take as an undergraduate student that would benefit your career.

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