NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY HAS launched an innovative master of science program that combines Reading and Teaching English as a Second Language. Provided through NSU’s Fischler School of Education and Human Services in North Miami Beach, Fla., the initiative targets teachers seeking professional advancement and higher pay.
The program, Reading and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, or RESOL, provides a basis for certifi cation or endorsement in English as a Second Language and Reading.
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“It’s highly recommended that every teacher have strong reading skills, and that’s a key component of what we’re doing,” says Meline Kevorkian, Fischler’s associate dean of master’s and educational specialist programs. “We want all teachers to possess that strength.”
As a byproduct, teachers may find that studies in English as a Second Language strengthen them in other subject areas, including mathematics and the sciences, she says.
NSU has long offered these specializations separately, but only combined them in one master’s program beginning this term to meet student demand.
“Given the close methodological linkages between learning to read in a first language and learning literacy skills in a second language, combining these two areas of study will give students a clear overview of the process of language learning,” says George Iber, TESOL program professor. “It also will give them specific methods for teaching first-and second-language learners.”
Districts across the country are seeking highly qualified teachers in these two disciplines. National policy stemming from the No Child Left Behind Act emphasizes the teaching of reading and helping non-English speaking minorities to succeed in school. The K-12 student populations near NSU’s campuses in Central and South Florida, for example, are largely Latino or Haitian.
This program is not limited to Florida residents, however. NSU is a leader in field-based and other distance-education degree programs. The nonprofit institution is the sixth-largest independent university in the nation and operates in 30 states. Nova has four campuses and six Student Education Centers in Florida. It also has centers in Las Vegas, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
NSU boasts some 90,000 graduates. Currently, more than 26,000 students are enrolled at the university, which off ers associate, undergraduate and graduate degrees. Serving more than 15,000 students in almost 40 countries, NSU’s Fischler School of Education and Human Services is one of the largest schools of education at an accredited university (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools).
To fit students’ schedules, the university off ers evening and Saturday classes, as well as programs online. “Our mission is to work with the needs of the busy professional, whether it’s employment, family life or child care,” Kevorkian says. “We have online and face-to-face instruction. Many people start face-to-face, and then with time constraints, choose to go online.”
Students determine their pace of study. Some obtain degrees in only 10 months, others may take five years. “You can customize how quickly you want to go,” Kevorkian says.
The new program has two core sets of required endorsement classes in ESOL (15 credits) and Reading (15 credits), along with two elective options (6 credits). The program is open to those with a bachelor’s degree in Education or a related discipline. An undergraduate degree in TESOL or Reading is not required.
Faculty include four full-time Reading professors and many adjuncts. “The adjuncts have doctoral degrees and are practicing teachers in the field who can relate to what’s happening in the classroom,” Kevorkian says. “They keep themselves relevant.”
With career benefits they gain through the new program, graduates also are bound to become better educators, Kevorkian insists. “They can really make a difference in the classroom, and it trickles down to the students,” she says. “That’s what NSU and Fischler School are all about.”
For more information please visit www.FischlerSchool.nova edu/RESOL or call 1-800-986.3223.