TESOL and Bilingual Education

The TESOL and Bilingual Education programs are offered at the Master’s and Sixth Year Certificate levels. The MA degree programs are designed for prospective teachers seeking initial certification or certified teachers seeking a cross-endorsement in TESOL or in elementary or secondary bilingual education. Candidates in the certification programs are prepared to educate K-12 students who are learning English as a second or additional language. A TESOL MA only option for candidates interested in teaching adults is also available. Applicants interested in the bilingual education cross-endorsement must be certified teachers (elementary K-6 or secondary 7-12 in an academic area) and must demonstrate proficiency in English and at least one other language in accordance with current Connecticut State Department of Education regulations.

The Sixth Year Certificates (SYC) are designed for certified teachers with an MA in TESOL or bilingual education or an MA, professional development training, or some coursework in TESOL or bilingual education, and extensive experience working with language minority populations.

Fairfield University's TESOL Program Awarded National Recognition

Fairfield University's TESOL program has been "nationally recognized" by the TESOL International Association since 2009. A nationally recognized program is one that has systematically assessed candidates' learning and met rigorous standards developed by the specialty professional association (SPA) in that discipline. SPA recognition informs prospective students that the accredited college or university and nationally recognized program have met national standards for the profession and operate at a high level of educational quality and integrity.

Connecticut State TESOL Certification and Cross-Endorsement Testing Requirement

Effective September 1, 2013, Connecticut requires all TESOL initial certification and cross-endorsement candidates to pass the new PRAXIS Test Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Test #0362 with a score of 155. This score may change with new versions of the test.

Note: Candidates must meet all current state requirements when they apply for certification.

Leadership in English Acquisition Pedagogy (LEAP)

Fairfield University’s TESOL and Bilingual Education Programs offer new MA program tracks in Leadership In English Acquisition Pedagogy (LEAP). The LEAP tracks are designed for practicing teachers in K-12 schools serving English Learners. They provide scientific research-based programs of study and opportunities to develop evidence-based practices and strategies to ensure today’s English Learners’ academic success. Candidates in the LEAP program will deepen their knowledge of linguistics, second language acquisition, and second language reading development at different language levels and across content areas. Grounded in the science of teaching, LEAP prepares candidates to address the changing roles of TESOL and bilingual professionals: push-in language instruction; co-teaching; and working with teams to design and provide supplemental language support, instructional design, assessment, and progress monitoring of ELs.

Bilingual Education Programs

Fairfield University has one of the oldest bilingual teacher education programs in Connecticut. Bilingual education courses have been offered since 1974 and bilingual certification programs since 1981. Additionally, Fairfield's bilingual and TESOL programs have received continuous funding through federal grants since 1992. More than 200 certified bilingual educators and administrators in Connecticut have been supported through these programs. Open only to certified Connecticut teachers, the bilingual cross-endorsement programs are tailored to meet the specific needs of the context in which the candidate is employed.

Cross-endorsement Requirements for Bilingual Education

The Elementary and Secondary Bilingual Cross-Endorsements are for certified teachers or initial certification candidates who are completing their initial educator certification requirements in elementary education or a middle school/secondary academic subject (other than a world language). The cross-endorsement requires 18 hours of bilingual education coursework, and all coursework must be completed at one university.

Candidates must pass the American Council of Foreign Language Teachers (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Written Proficiency Test with a minimum score of "Advanced Low" in the world language of instruction.

TESOL/Bilingual Durational Shortage Area Permit

Completion of all prerequisites to student teaching is required for initial certification candidates seeking a University endorsement for a DSAP position. In lieu of student teaching, candidates will enroll in a two-semester, six-credit sequence of University-supervised teaching and a three-credit student teaching/DSAP I seminar the first semester of the DSAP assignment.

Certified teachers seeking a DSAP position in TESOL or bilingual education must be fully enrolled in an MA or SYC program and must have completed 12 hours before being considered for a University DSAP endorsement.


After an initial application review, successful applicants are invited to campus for an interview. The purpose of the interview is twofold: to offer applicants an opportunity to review the program with an advisor and help the advisor assess the applicant's potential for success as a graduate candidate. Once a formal admission letter is received, each candidate is expected to send an e-mail accepting the offer of admission and contact their assigned faculty advisor to finalize a planned program of study. Application deadlines are listed online.

Admission to the TESOL initial certification program with MA requires the following:

  1. An earned bachelor's degree.
  2. Completion of general education coursework as specified in the State of Connecticut regulations and program requirements.
  3. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.67. A minimum 3.0 GPA in the major or certification subject area.
  4. Testing Requirements for Programs Leading to Initial Certification. Candidates must take PRAXIS CORE, SAT, ACT, or the GRE. Candidates who do not have passing scores on one or more sections of the test may be required to remediate any deficient area. Remediation may include re-taking and passing the sections that were not passed, taking additional coursework, or other remediation activities. If additional courses are required, the candidate must complete the coursework at a grade of B (3.0) or above and provide an official transcript to the Dean's office prior to student teaching. Please see advisor for additional details and recommendations.
  5. Prior to Student Teaching: Candidates must complete all program courses required for certification.
  6. Prior to Certification: Candidates in the TESOL initial certification or cross-endorsement program must attain passing scores on the appropriate required subject area assessment(s): PRAXIS II Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Bilingual candidates must receive a score of Advanced Low on the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and the Writing Proficiency Test (WPT).

Any matriculated candidate whose relevant academic productivity is marginal or inadequate, who does not embody a socially responsible professional disposition, or who demonstrates unsuitable personal qualities, may not be recommended for continuation in the program, a student teaching placement, or state certification. Candidates are expected to behave in accordance with the State of Connecticut's Teachers Code of Professional Responsibility. In addition, the Disposition Statement presented in this catalog is applicable to this program as it is to all programs in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions.

SL 0099 Comprehensive Examination in TESOL and Bilingual/Multicultural Education0 Credits

SL 0419 Special Learners in the Bilingual/ESL Classroom3 Credits

Designed to familiarize bilingual and ESL teachers with the developmental learning needs of children and adolescents who are exceptional, this course examines the special learning needs of linguistically and culturally diverse children, exploring methods of identifying and working effectively with exceptional children and adolescents in bilingual or ESL classrooms. Crosslisted with SE 0419.

SL 0420 Linguistic Foundations of English Acquisition3 Credits

This course focuses on the various theoretical components related to developing linguistic competency in English and provides related information associated with the foundational knowledge of reading and language arts. A primary focus is phonology and related contrastive linguistics, and its relationship to reading decoding. Also addressed are the linguistic components of: (a) morphology and vocabulary; (b) syntax, grammar, and sentence structure; and (c) associated constructs of attention such as working memory and executive functions that impact maintaining newly learned information. Students will have the opportunity to: (a) explore current research regarding developing linguistic competency; (b) analyze linguistic similarities and differences between languages; (c) read about typical and atypical reading and language development of English learners (ELs); and (d) become acquainted with current technological tools to support ELs acquisition of linguistic skills.

SL 0421 Linguistics and Language Assessment3 Credits

This course focuses on the instuctional application of the theoretical concepts learned in SL 0420 to English learners' reading and language development. Areas of study include the following: 1) Assessment of English learners' development of English phonology, morphology, and syntax; 2) interpretation of assessment results for the purpose of diagnosing English development; and 3) the use of language assessment results to develop instruction and intervention strategies to support English learners in mainstream, as well as Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 programs.

SL 0422 Teaching Grammar in Second Language Settings3 Credits

Grammar is a necessary component of language programs. This course provides foreign/second language and bilingual teachers with techniques to facilitate their students' acquisition of grammar, to illustrate effective contextualization of grammatical principles, and to examine instructional strategies that draw the learner's attention to specifically structural regularities. The course also analyzes the theoretical considerations of second language grammar teaching.

SL 0423 Foundations of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education3 Credits

This foundation course examines research and theories underlying bilingualism. Candidates gain an understanding of the concepts and issues involved in using the principles of bilingualism in educational settings. The course also includes an overview of the historical development of bilingual education in the United States and other countries and a discussion of major programs and social models for bilingual education.

SL 0433 Elementary TESOL/Bilingual Advanced Practicum3 Credits

Prerequisite: SL 0436 or SL 0451.

This course provides TESOL/Bilingual Education candidates with opportunities for supervised internships in TESOL or bilingual elementary classroom settings. Students complete a minimum of 48 hours fieldwork in classroom settings where they will observe instructional practices and interact with and plan instruction for students learning English as a second language. In practicum seminar, candidates will reflect on and deepen their understanding of the ways in which the educational context and diverse educational needs of students have an impact on their learning and academic progress.

SL 0436 TESOL Methods and Materials Development3 Credits

Designed for second language teachers and prospective teachers, this course explores methods, techniques, strategies, and instructional media relevant to teaching English language learners, emphasizing the development and enhancement of communicative environments in language classrooms. Participants examine a variety of innovative methods and discuss the adaptation and development of materials and assessment instruments. This course meets the state requirement for the certificate for teaching English to adult speakers of other languages.

SL 0439 Methods of Foreign Language Teaching for Elementary School3 Credits

This course is designed for pre- and in-service World Language teachers seeking the Elementary World Languages cross-endorsement. Candidates will gain an understanding of current theory and methods of teaching foreign languages in the elementary school (FLES) grades K-6. They will examine similarities and differences between FLES program models and develop and understand of the issues related to program development. Topics will include the selection of developmentally appropriate strategies and materials for elementary foreign language teaching, lesson planning and curriculum development, and use of technology-assisted instruction. Candidates will develop their ability to integrate the ACTFL and CT World Languages Standards into FLES instructional program development and lesson planning.

SL 0441 Teaching and Learning within Multicultural Contexts of Education3 Credits

This course explores and addresses the multifaceted aspects of multicultural education with the aim of engaging in a teaching-learning process where participants explore their commitment to the well-being and learning of all students; develop a deep understanding of the needs of all students; develop strategies to promote caring, justice, and equity in teaching; learn to respect linguistic, racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity; investigate how students construct knowledge; demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between students' daily life experiences and education; and critiquesystematic processes of discrimination that marginalize and silence various groups of students. Crosslisted with ED 0441.

SL 0450 Second Language Methods for Secondary Teachers (Grades 6-12)3 Credits

Prerequisites: SL 0423, SL 0527*.

This course provides an overview of second language theory and methods, curriculum models, materials selection and development, and content-based ESL for teaching secondary English language learners. The role of literacy in second language acquisition and the appropriate integration of technology to enhance second language teaching and promote secondary students' learning will be examined. Culture, language, dialect variation, and diversity and their implications for the secondary school curriculum will also be addressed. (* indicates concurrency allowed)

SL 0451 Infusing Content Language Instruction into TESOL/Bilingual Programs3 Credits

Prerequisites: SL 0423 or SL 0467; SL 0436.

Designed for ESL and bilingual teachers, this course explores teaching strategies that enable the English language learner to understand the discourse of content subjects. Topics include strategies to develop academic language, oral presentation skills, content specific syntax and grammar, and writing. Participants will examine textbooks and develop materials that infuse content-area language into the ESL program. Procedures for assessing student progress in content area language development will be discussed.

SL 0453 Differentiated Instruction for English Language Learners3 Credits

Designed for foreign/second language/TESOL and bilingual teachers, this course will also assist content area and classroom teachers. Its purpose is to explore the basic concepts, research, and principles of differentiated instruction as a means to meet the diverse needs of students in today's classrooms. Participants will be able to align the concepts to their present teaching environments.

SL 0461 Reading and Writing in a Second Language3 Credits

Designed for second/foreign language and bilingual teachers, this course examines current theory and research underlying first- and second-language reading and composing processes. Additional topics includeprocedures for understanding and analyzing the problems that characterize second language readers and writers; strategies for assessing student performance; evaluating and adapting materials; and enhancing the comprehension and creation of written second language discourse.

SL 0467 Language Acquisition3 Credits

This course introduces the core hypotheses of current theory on language acquisition. Participants learn to recognize fundamental patterns of social and cultural contexts that facilitate language acquisition, build upon the processes and stages of language acquisition and literacy to provide comprehensible input, facilitate communicative competence and evaluate teaching and learning strategies across ability levels and within discipline-specific content areas. Approved for the Elementary Foreign Language cross-endorsement.

SL 0475 Sociolinguistics3 Credits

This course examines variability in language use according to region, race or ethnic background, gender, and personality with the goal of developing sensitivity to variation in one's own language and that of others, and examining language variation using the methods and insights of contemporary linguistics.

SL 0477 Culture and Second Language Acquisition3 Credits

Designed for second language and bilingual teachers, this course treats culture and language as interdependent phenomena, exploring the basic concepts, research, and principles applicable to culture and language learning with an emphasis on the practical application of these concepts to the language classroom. Participants also gain an enhanced awareness of their assumptions regarding their own and other cultures, and an understanding of how these assumptions influence language teaching and learning.

SL 0489 Secondary TESOL/Bilingual Advanced Practicum3 Credits

Prerequisite: SL 0436 or SL 0451.

This practicum provides TESOL/Bilingual Education candidates with opportunities for supervised internships in the TESOL or bilingual secondary classroom settings. Students complete a minimum of 48 hours of fieldwork where they will observe instructional practices and interact with and plan instruction for students learning English as a second language. In practicum seminar, candidates will reflect on and deepen their understanding of the ways in which the educational context and diverse educational needs of students have an impact on their learning and academic progress.

SL 0498 Thesis Seminar3 Credits

Candidates who have selected the thesis option for completion of the M.A. degree develop their research proposals, carry out the research, and complete their theses during this seminar. An approved thesis mustbe submitted to fulfill this degree requirement.

SL 0504 English Language Learners in the Regular Classroom3 Credits

Designed to familiarize the mainstream teacher with the learning needs of children and adolescents who are linguistically and culturally diverse, this course employs an overview of second language acquisition theory as the framework for discussing ways to meet the needs of English language learners. Teachers also learn strategies for developing and adapting materials for creating communicative classroom environments and assessing student performance.

SL 0522 Emergent Literacy in Bilingual Early Childhood Education3 Credits

This course is designed to prepared teachers of early childhood education (Pre-K to 3) to work effectively with culturally diverse children who are learning English as an additional language in pre-school and school contexts. The course focus is on first and second language development in the young child with implications for emergent literacy teaching and learning. Culture and childrearing practices, their impact on schooling, and strategies to build successful partnerships with families and communities will also be discussed.

SL 0526 Historical and Sociopolitical Issues in Bilingual/Multicultural/ESL Education3 Credits

This course, which is conducted as a seminar, provides an overview of the historical events and philosophical issues underlying bilingual/multicultural/ESL education and discusses contemporary socio-political controversies surrounding bilingual/multicultural and ESL instruction.

SL 0527 Testing and Assessment in TESOL and Bilingual Programs3 Credits

Prerequisites: SL 0423 or SL 0467; SL 0436.

Designed for TESOL and bilingual teachers, this course provides an overview of formal and authentic techniques for assessing second language and bilingual proficiency. Participants evaluate standardized instruments currently in use; analyze techniques for assessing factors relevant to second language and bilingual proficiency such as academic achievement, language aptitude, and competence in reading, writing, speaking, and listening; and discuss controversial issues affecting languageassessment.

SL 0528 Second Language Curriculum Development3 Credits

This course familiarizes foreign/second language and bilingual teachers with the theory underlying the development of second language curricula. The course emphasizes devising curricula in accordance with the needs of learners and presents strategies for analyzing needs, developing curricula that focus on communication, and evaluating and choosing appropriate materials and assessment instruments.

SL 0530 Content Language & Reading Acquisition for English Language Learners and Students with Special Needs3 Credits

Using a train-the-trainer model, this course develops literacy leadership skills to train others and develops understanding of foundational reading concepts and strategies to better prepare prek-12 teachers to teach EL students how to read. This course is designed for candidates to learn about the developmental learning needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students, exceptional learners, and bilingual students with special needs, as well as working in collaborative data teams. Candidates will explore the similarities and differences between bilingual/TESOL students and students with-special-needs with a focus on reading skills development (e.g. phonology, orthography, morphology, syntax, semantics, etc.) Candidates will learn about instructional strategies that all teachers can use in their classroom to support reading development for all students. Crosslisted with RLD 0530.

SL 0540 Capstone Seminar in English Acquisition Pedagogy3 Credits

This course provides candidates in the TESOL and Bilingual Education MA programs with the opportunity to conduct an action research project in their classroom related to teaching English language learners. Through the course seminar and discussions, as well as individual conference sessions, students will deeped their understanding of the ways in which the learning environment, personal challenges, and educational needs of ESL and bilingual students from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds impact their academic progress. By conducting research in field settings, course participants will become familiar with the various issues and factors that influence the development and implementation of programs for second language learners and those who teach them. The research practicum will enable candidates to apply their understanding of prior bilingual and ESL coursework to the development and implementation of instructional support activities and/or a reserch project related to the education of ESL and Bilingual K-12 students. Candidates must have completed 24 credits in their program of study before enrolling in this course.

SL 0568 Special Topics (Shell)1-3 Credits

Prerequisite: Completion of 12-15 credits of program coursework or advisor permission.

The special topics course in TESOL and Bilingual Education varies in content, as needed, in order to provide timely opportunity to explore time-sensitive, new and emerging topics and foci on a one-time basis, or to offer a pilot section of a new course in development.

SL 0581 Directed Observation and Supervised Student Teaching6 Credits

This course for candidates who have been approved as qualified candidates for teaching in TESOL or bilingual education involves candidates in observation and teaching five days a week for one semester. In accordance with certification regulations, candidates spend half of the student-teaching period in an elementary setting and half in a secondary setting. The course emphasizes classroom management dynamics, teaching techniques, lesson plan organization, and faculty duties. Candidates participate in group seminars and individual conferences; the university supervisor(s) and the cooperating teacher(s) assist, observe, and evaluate each candidate. Prerequisites: Formal acceptance into teacher preparation program and completion of all certification requirements

SL 0582 TESOL/Bilingual Student Teaching and DSAP I Seminar3 Credits

Candidates take this weekly seminar concurrently with student teaching or DSAP: Part I. The seminar focuses on the issues and problems faced by student teachers and on the culture and organization of the schools. Although much of the seminar's subject matter flows from the on-going student teaching experience, it address issues such as school governance, school and district organizational patterns in TESOL and bilingual programs, classroom management, conflict resolution, communication with parents, and sensitivity to multicultural issues and inclusion, as well as the job application process, including resume writing, interviewing, and the development of professional and teaching portfolios.

SL 0588 Directed Observation I for TESOL/Bilingual DSAP Candidates3 Credits

Prerequisite: All requirements for student teaching; approval of program director and dean.

This course is designed for candidates working in a public elementary or secondary school under a DSAP. Two semesters of observation are required. Candidates are observed and evaluated by a University supervisor a minimum of three times each semester. The supervisor collaborates with the candidate, his/her mentor, and with school personnel who are assigned to assess the candidate at the district level. Concurrent participation in a collegial reflective seminar is an element for this field experience.

SL 0589 Directed Observation II for TESOL/Bilingual DSAP Candidates3 Credits

These courses are designed for candidates working in a public elementary or secondary school under a DSAP. Two semesters of observation are required. Candidates are observed and evaluated by a University supervisor a minimum of three times each semester. The supervisor collaborates with the candidate, his/her mentor, and with school personnel who are assigned to assess the candidate at the district level. Concurrent participation in a collegial reflective seminar is an element for this field experience.

SL 0590 Sixth Year Certificate Advanced Research Practicum in TESOL/Bilingual Education3 Credits

Candidates solve a practical problem in classroom teaching, applying educational research to a specific ESL/bilingual school situation.

SL 0595 Independent Study3 Credits

Candidates complete individual study with the written permission of the department chair, having submitted their proposals prior to registration.

Associate Professor

Campbell, Director