English Language Center

Director, Master of Arts in Teaching in English as a Second Language: James Hunter

The Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (MA/TESL) program offers courses and a practicum for students who are interested in the learning and teaching of English to speakers of other languages. The MA/TESL degree is designed to prepare professional and knowledgeable ESL teachers as well as language specialists who help students develop linguistic and intercultural communication skills. In addition to persons interested in pursuing TESL education preparation, current and future teachers of foreign languages are also invited to enroll in coursework dealing with language acquisition and language teaching methodology, which have broad applicability in a variety of settings.

The MA/TESL knowledge base examines these areas:

  • Knowledge about language, language use and culture and their interrelationship; understanding of how the target language is taught
  • Knowledge of both the theoretical and practical bases for language teaching and learning in schools and communities
  • Knowledge of the process of language acquisition as it concerns first and subsequent language learning and an understanding of the principles of language pedagogy

In the Gonzaga University MA/TESL program, theory and practice are integrated rather than sequenced. Courses and projects aim to provide authentic, holistic, and integrated opportunities to plan, teach, reflect, research and lead in the schools, community and within the university.

MA/TESL courses and experiences are rich and complex enough to support students from diverse backgrounds, with diverse goals, at varying stages of development. In addition, students from the diverse cultures and perspectives represented in the program are important resources, helping us to better understand issues of second language acquisition and learning and teaching in a pluralistic world.

Students and faculty work together to explore new ideas on learning and teaching. Students work with ESL faculty members on classroom projects. Students are introduced to, and encouraged to participate in professional organizations, and other ESL programs and schools.

In consultation with a faculty advisor and peers, students select experiences and courses that will meet their own goals, the stated goals of the MA/TESL program, and the University requirements for a master’s degree.

The program encourages the students and faculty to engage in research and critical reflection on the form and substance of language learning and teaching in order to understand the factors of communication and community building.