We are linguists with tenure homes in a School of Education (SOE). We were charged with (i) reviving a languishing undergraduate Linguistics major, and (ii) creating a new TESOL Program for undergraduate students destined for NYS certification to teach English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) in K-12 settings. We argued for a subset of courses in the linguistics major to serve as the arts and sciences concentration for the TESOL major. We advise and teach both the TESOL and Linguistics majors. Our teaching loads are about half in the School of Education (SOE) and half in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). We recruit students when necessary; now we have two self-sustaining majors- Linguistics (30 students) and TESOL (50 students). Despite alarming demographics about the college population, both majors are larger than many others in either the SOE or CLAS. These fortuitous circumstances result in the fact that we see the same student multiple times in courses that focus on somewhat different enterprises. Thus it is possible for us to assess the students in ways that allow us to see where the programs as a whole (and course content) could be adjusted and improved. Our students in both TESOL and Linguistics take General Education courses, as well as courses about ‘language and x’ from other professors in allied fields. We don’t attempt to influence those professors; we stay in good contact with them. Through the years, we have made many programmatic adjustments and now our students in both majors are visible on campus and have a good reputation with other faculty and staff. Still, the more we work with TESOL students, the more we realize how difficult it is for them to meaningfully “bridge the gap” between linguistics in the classroom and things that happen in the real world- a case in point, language teaching. Our latest innovation is a course called Linguistics and Language Teaching (required in the TESOL major, and an elective in the Linguistics major) being taught for the first time in Spring 2013. This course aims to help the students pull together all that they have learned about language via linguistics and apply it to the problem of the teaching of English to speakers of other languages. If we are selected to be part of this special session, we will explain in greater detail how we see linguistics as a way (i) to help the TESOL students learn about English grammar in ways that will help them teach it to their future students, (ii) to deeply examine language form, and have a way to talk about it, (iii) to deepen students’ understanding of how to analyze problems in preparation for their futures as ESOL teachers, which will hold a great number of challenges. At SUNY Oswego, the TESOL and Linguistics programs function symbiotically for students and professors, and for both sets of stakeholders, each area of study and its preoccupations deepen the other.
To access PowerPoint slides for this presentation: Click the "Download" button on the upper right-hand side of the page.
Ann, Jean and Peng, Bruce Long, "Linguistics and TESOL at SUNY Oswego" (2014). Taking Linguistics Beyond Linguistics Programs and Departments Symposium. 8.