About TESOL

TESOL stands for the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

UT Arlington offers an Undergraduate Certificate, a Graduate Certificate and a Master of Arts in TESOL. These are professional programs designed for those who wish to work with learners of English. The educational objective is to prepare teachers for work outside the American public school setting, in either the United States or other countries.

Students pursuing a degree or certificate in TESOL divide their class time between theory and practice. All UT Arlington TESOL students acquire not only a working knowledge of how to be an effective teacher of English to speakers of other languages, but also a sense of how other languages operate. Included in the curriculum is a required practicum course, a course on curriculum development, and options to take elective courses in other departments (including UT Arlington's College of Education, the Department of English, and the Department of Modern Languages.) The successful student will obtain theoretical and practical knowledge about those factors that constitute a sound language teaching program, language acquisition processes, language in its socio-cultural settings, language program structures, and support for achievement of learner objectives.

Frequently Asked Questions

"ESL" stands for "English as a Second Language," and is what non-native speakers are learning. "TESOL" stands for "Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages," and is what future instructors practice in order to teach ESL students.

If your goal is to work with adults (e.g. at the community college level), then you would be better coming to talk with the TESOL Advisor. Each of the two academic units at UTA has specific roles, responsibilities and options when it comes to preparing you for a career in ESL. The College of Education works primarily with K-12 preparation. They also see to the administrative aspects of certification and endorsement, as well as opportunities to enroll in courses that deal specifically with issues of education. The College of Education also offers 12 hours of graduate-level coursework that can be applied to an ESL Endorsement. The Linguistics Department, on the other hand, oversees a second set of ESL-specific courses, which are either geared to teaching adult learners or to teaching ESL in a foreign country. The Linguistics Department does not handle issues directly related to certification and/or endorsement of public school teachers; Linguistics does, however, offer coursework that can be used as part of meeting the state's requirements for ESL endorsement.

Certification is the State of Texas' way of "okaying" you for teaching in public schools. Earning certification involves several steps, including coursework, on-site training & observation, and examinations. Endorsement is a status that can be added to an existing certificate, thereby allowing you to teach in a limited number of more specialized areas (e.g. ESL). If you are interested in earning ESL Endorsement on your existing (or anticipated) Texas Teaching Certificate, you must speak to the staff in the College of Education about taking the ExCET examination.

NEITHER of these – certification or endorsement – are related to the Graduate or Undergraduate Certificates in TESOL offered by the UT Arlington Department of Linguistics and TESOL. Those are more like “minors” that give you background to go out and teach abroad, or to teach adult learners.

The UT Arlington Linguistics Department offers a graduate-level certificate in the TESOL. This is a 19-hour program; all courses taken as part of this program must be taken at the graduate level. Our department’s Undergraduate Certificate in TESOL is available for students who have not yet completed their BA. It is a cluster of 15 hours of undergraduate classes.