SPOTLIGHT: STUDENTS CHOOSE ESL ENDORSEMENT, EDUCATION MAJOR

ALEXA GANZEVELD, KNIGHTLIFE EDITOR

Wartburg’s education major is the third most popular among students and features 17 endorsements. One in particular is English as a Second Language (ESL), which is for students whose primary language is something other than English.

ESL teachers work with English Language Learners (ELL) to help the students become fluent in English, in both spoken and written word. “Approximately 4.7 million, or 10 percent of the nation’s students in grades K-12 were classified as English Learners in 2007-2008,” according to the U.S. Department of Education.

ESL teachers are also utilized for creating a cultural bridge for students, connecting a student’s native culture with customs of the United States. “Spanish was the home language of 3.79 million (ELL) public school students in fall 2016, representing 76.6 percent of all ELL students and 7.7 percent of all K-12 students,” according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Behind Spanish, the next most commonly reported home languages include Arabic, Chinese and Vietnamese. “A common misconception is that people think you need to speak a foreign language to get the ESL endorsement, but the focus of the endorsement is working with that student population with different strategies,” Stephanie TeKippe, assistant professor of education, said.

The courses required for the endorsement include Language Development, Sociolinguistics and Bilingual Education, Assessment Practices in Pre K-12 ESL Classrooms, Methods and Pedagogy in Pre K-12 ESL Classrooms, Field Experience in ESL, Structure of English and Intercultural Communication.

“There is always time to pick it up,” Liz Stange, third-year Secondary Education major with an endorsement in ESL, said. “I picked it up this year. It doesn’t take a lot and it really does make an impact. You get to meet and help so many different types of learners in this endorsement field.”

ESL isn’t just for first- or secondgeneration immigrants. Students that speak another language at home may also benefit from ESL classes. “ESL is different than special education or other specialized learning because students are learning a new language as well as learning content.”

Bree Gryp, Secondary Education major with endorsements in ESL, Special Education, and Reading, said. “Lessons, activities and assessments are different based on the levels of language proficiency students show.”

For more information, contact Maryam RodSzabo at maryam.rodszabo@wartburg.edu.

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