MA in TESOL Program

Vision and MissionPrint Friendly and PDF

I enjoyed every class I took in the TESOL MA program at Cal State LA. The instruction I received prepared me very well for my role as a full-time community college faculty member and administrator.


Megan Ernst | Non-Credit ESL Division,Glendale Community College

Program Vision

The TESOL MA program endeavors to prepare educators to be both informed practitioners and effective researchers by providing a pedagogically and theoretically sound knowledge base and by encouraging respect for differences in language, culture, belief systems, and values.    

Program Mission

The TESOL Program prepares teachers for a variety of classroom situations in English as a Second Language (ESL), English Master of Arts Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languagesas a Foreign Language (EFL), and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) settings, in elementary through adult instructional contexts, both in the United States and abroad. It is committed to providing a broad knowledge base in the following areas: linguistics, first and second language acquisition processes, social and cultural factors in second language learning, current theories and methods of second language teaching, testing and evaluation, research design and statistics, discourse analysis, and curriculum and materials design. Faculty and students accomplish this mission through collaborative efforts, locally, nationally, and internationally and through excellence in teaching, research, and professional service. The TESOL Program also provides educators with a research knowledge base that aids them in becoming effective consumers of research and prepares those who are interested to pursue advanced training in Applied Linguistics. A brief summary of each major area is presented below.

1. TESOL Foundations and Research Methods.

A basic introduction to linguistics and applied linguistics forms the basis for TESOL professionals in training. This includes a broad understanding of the core branches of linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, pragmatics, discourse, language variation, language acquisition, among others) and how these fields of study are applied in educational social contexts.

Inquiry is encouraged across the curriculum. Both quantitative and qualitative research approaches are stressed, and both process and product are explored in relation to language teaching and learning.

2. Second Language Acquisition Theory and Research.

The study of second language acquisition includes an understanding of innatist, cognitivist, functionalist, and interactionist perspectives on how languages are learned in a variety of settings inside and outside the classroom. The research areas which will be examined include, among others, universal grammar, individual differences, learning strategies, communication strategies, social factors, instructional contexts, input and interaction, and language transfer.

3. Second Language Pedagogy.

Instruction in second language pedagogy is designed to provide students with an understanding of how to apply integrated approaches to the teaching of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and grammar in the second language classroom, making use of the full range of technological tools. The classroom teaching methodologies covered include Total Physical Response, the Silent Way, the Natural Approach, Communicative Language Teaching, Content-based Instruction, Task-based Learning, multiple literacies.

Emphasis is placed on the view that language learning needs to be integrated across the curriculum and on the notion of language teacher-content instructor collaboration. Moreover, learner needs in professional or vocational settings must be taken into account in course and curriculum design. Second language pedagogy prepares second language teachers to meet the needs of diverse students such as those placed in Vocational and adult English as a Second Language programs, and English for Academic Purposes programs.

4. Language Assessment.

The study of language assessment includes an understanding of the different approaches to assessing first or second language ability for educational or employment purposes through formal and informal measures. Analyses of teacher-made tests and state-mandated standardized tests will be given priority. Incorporated into these analyses will be test quality concepts such as validity and reliability of test scores, fairness of test use and testing for linguistically diverse groups and test takers with disabilities.

5. Sociolinguistics.

The vast range of cultural, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds of language learners is reflected in their sociolinguistic diversity. In order to meet their needs, a foundation in sociolinguistic theory and research introduces students to both macro- and micro-sociolinguistic concepts including language standards, planning, and policy; language variation and language change across regions and time; language and interaction; and language and social identity. These concepts are applied to issues language learners face in institutional and noninstitutional settings, including intercultural communication, test-taking, classroom language learning, job-interviewing, and gender-related (mis)communication, to name just a few.