TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL): Initial K-12 ESL Certification

The Master of Science in Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages provides students with the knowledge base and practical skills related to English as a Second Language (ESL) acquisition by English language learners (ELLs). The emphasis is on developing proficiency and literacy in English as a Second Language and/or English as a Foreign Language. The program provides practitioners with the skills needed to assess language and implement instruction to improve learners' proficiency for competent second language use.

The MSEd in TESOL is the only degree of its kind in Maine and is designed to accommodate the needs and goals of a wide range of ESL professionals working with culturally and linguistically diverse students, including K-12 teachers, adult educators, and those who teach or want to teach abroad. International students are encouraged to apply. This 33-credit program may be completed in one and half years with careful planning alongside a faculty advisor. We maintain strong partnerships with local schools where field experiences and student teaching may be completed. The TESOL practicum (EDU 623) is a 40-hour field experience completed in a Maine school to prepare students for the TESOL internship (EDU 640), a 15-week, full-time student teaching experience completed in a Maine school to meet the state’s initial K-12 ESL certification requirements. The internship may be completed part-time over two semesters with careful planning alongside your program advisor. Though there is no fully online option with this initial certification program, the program offers courses in different delivery modes, such as online, blended, and on campus.

 

Program Requirements: 33 credits, plus prerequisite

Prerequisite: Maine certification Exceptionality Course SED 540, SED 335, or course approved by the Maine Department of Education Office of Certification. Passing scores for Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.

First Tier Courses (21 credit hours)

  • EDU 557 Teaching Writing to Multilingual Learners
  • EDU 558 Content-Based Curriculum for English Language Learners
  • EDU 559 Aspects of Reading for Multilingual Learners
  • EDU 561 Aspects of the English Language
  • EDU 562 Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom
  • EDU 563 ESL Testing and Assessment
  • EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques

Second Tier Courses (12 credit hours)

  • EDU 607 Teacher Research in Literacy and Language Development
  • EDU 635 Seminar in Second Language Literacy
  • EDU 623 TESOL Practicum
  • EDU 640 Professional Internship in English as a Second Language

Students must also pass the Praxis Subject Assessment for ESOL (5362); the passing score is set by Maine Department of Education. No comprehensive examination is required of initial certification concentration students.

TK20

TK20 (Watermark) is the comprehensive web-based, assessment management and reporting system used by all students in Educator Preparation programs at USM. All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an Educator Preparation program at USM and are accepted as a candidate for their internship year are required to subscribe to Tk20. Students use Tk20 (Watermark) to provide evidence they have mastered state and professional standards for their profession. The subscription fee of $103 covers some of the expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program.  For loan purposes, TK20 (Watermark) is eligible for consideration as part of educational costs.  The subscription is a one-time payment and must be made by each student after they have passed their candidacy process and before the first semester of their internship year.  Subscription instructions are posted on the Office of Educator Preparation website at http://usm.maine.edu/educator-preparation.

Please note Professional Education Council Policy:  In order for USM’s Education Preparation Unit program-completers to be recommended by the institution to the state for certification or licensure, the candidate must provide evidence of meeting all certification requirements including proficiency on the standards relevant to his/her state approved professional program and this evidence must be compiled and assessed within the context of the Unit’s data management system (i.e., Tk20).

Applicant Qualifications

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, and have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in a baccalaureate degree program.

Applicants who do not have a 3.0 overall GPA must enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete graduate studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied.

Passing scores for Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Reading, Writing and Mathematics

Prerequisite: Maine certification Exceptionality Course SED 540, SED 335, or course approved by the Maine Department of Education Office of Certification. Passing scores for Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.

Interview: The initial K-12 certification program in ESL requires a formal interview. Candidates to be interviewed will be selected on the basis of the application materials. Interviews may be conducted on campus or via videoconference.

Application Procedures and Required Materials

Application Deadline: Rolling with priority deadlines: March 1 for summer matriculation, May 1 for fall matriculation, October 15 for spring matriculation

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: Waived for all applicants
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Essay: Type a brief essay (300-500 words) explaining your interest in pursuing initial K-12 ESL certification. How have your personal and professional experiences prepared you to pursue certification as an ESL teacher? What particular qualities do you possess that will make you an ESL teacher who can help students from all cultural and linguistic backgrounds experience success in a public school setting?
  • References: Names and contact information of three references who can speak to the applicant’s interest in pursuing teacher certification.
  • Recommendation: One letter of recommendation attesting to the applicant's knowledge of current scholarship, capacity to connect theory and practice in posing and solving educational problems, achievement of excellence in educational practice, and demonstrated capability and motivation to engage in advanced graduate study.
  • Praxis Core passed based on Maine’s standards (provide score report).
  • Completed and signed Completion of Exceptionalities Course Form. Completion of Maine’s required exceptionality course for all teachers at USM or another institution. If not from USM, the candidate provides documentation that the course has been approved as an exceptionality course by the Maine Office of Certification and include an official transcript showing the course.
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

Where to send transcripts and application materials 

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.

International Applicants 

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

English Proficiency Test Scores

Official English proficiency examination scores are required from international applicants and/or applicants whose primary language is not English, unless the applicant has received a degree from an English-speaking institution. The University of Southern Maine accepts the following score reports sent directly from the testing agency.  TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for a graduate program

Transfer Credit

Previously completed graduate courses may be approved for transfer into a graduate program within the Literacy, Language, and Culture programs if credits for the courses were earned no more than five years prior to matriculation, with grades of B or better.

For previous work completed through the University of Maine System, up to twelve credits may be accepted if the courses meet the requirements above and are equivalent to core courses or elective courses in the relevant USM program of study. Up to six graduate credits completed at institutions outside of the University of Maine System may be accepted if the courses meet the requirements above and are equivalent to core courses or elective courses in the relevant USM program of study. A syllabus for each course submitted for transfer credit from outside the University of Maine System must be provided upon application.

Transfer of more than twelve University of Maine System credits or six non-University of Maine System credits may be approved by the program coordinator and faculty. These credits may include certificate of graduate study program courses and professional development in-service graduate courses. Requests for the transfer of credits taken more than five years prior to matriculation may also be evaluated and approved by the program coordinator and faculty.

Students should plan to complete First Tier courses before Second Tier courses.

First Tier Courses (21 credit hours)

  • EDU 557 Teaching Writing to Multilingual Learners
  • EDU 558 Content-Based Curriculum for English Language Learners
  • EDU 559 Aspects of Reading for Multilingual Learners
  • EDU 561 Aspects of the English Language
  • EDU 562 Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom
  • EDU 563 ESL Testing and Assessment
  • EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques

Second Tier Courses (12 credit hours)

  • EDU 607 Teacher Research in Literacy and Language Development
  • EDU 635 Seminar in Second Language Literacy
  • EDU 623 TESOL Practicum (3 credits)
  • EDU 640 Professional Internship in English as a Second Language (3 credits)