K-12 Endorsement at Iowa State University
Our mission is to provide a top quality program for students preparing to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in the public schools of Iowa. At Iowa State University, ESL is an add-on endorsement, which means that students need to be certified in another area and to take all basic teacher preparation courses. The growing number of English learners in our public schools nationwide makes the ESL a useful addition to an endorsement in elementary education, secondary English, or secondary Spanish. This program is also suitable for students who wish to teach English abroad in programs such as the Peace Corps.
Courses, in accord with state requirements and the professional standards of TESOL, are designed to give students a framework in linguistics applied to second language education with appropriate methods and practice teaching. For further information, contact Dr. Tammy Slater, Assistant Professor and ESL Endorsement Coordinator.
Find out more about:
The requirements to get an ESL endorsement
The Department of English offers courses that can lead to a K-12 ESL Teacher endorsement. To add a K-12 teaching endorsement in English as a Second Language, students must earn credits in the following courses. In some cases, relevant special topics courses or experimental courses may be substituted. Some courses have prerequisites. Recommended courses are highlighted in bold face. (Effective Fall 2013, three new undergraduate courses will be offered to replace previous graduate course requirements. Note that ENGL 322 will be accepted instead of ENGL 514, ENGL 324 instead of 524, and ENGL 325 instead of 525. Students who have completed the graduate courses will not be required to take the newly listed courses. Students who wish to take the graduate courses in the future will need special permission.)
1. English/Linguistics 219: Introduction to Linguistics
2. English/Linguistics 220: Applied English Grammar (Or test out)
3. English/Linguistics 425: Second Language Learning and Teaching
4. English/Linguistics 322: Language and Society
5. English/Linguistics 518: Methods and Materials in ESL
6. Practicum courses taken through Curriculum and Instruction:
NOTE: If you are considering doing an ESL endorsement, please contact the ESL Endorsement Coordinator, Dr. Tammy Slater, to discuss the timeline of your program. Please contact Jaime Boeckman regarding the CI practicum courses.
Where recent graduates are working:
Ames Public Schools:
Shaeley Santiago (98): Ames High School
Ankeny Public Schools:
Julia Andrews (06): Northwest Elementary
British Virgin Islands:
Katie Sprinkle (06): Cedar Elementary School
Des Moines Public Schools:
Deenaree Cholvibul (03): Woodlawn and Wallace Elementary Schools
Fort Dodge Public Schools:
Jagdeesh Kraur (04): Fair Oaks Middle School and Duncombe Elementary School
Marshalltown Public Schools:
Jessica Cakrasenjaya (10): Marshalltown High School
Minneapolis Public Schools:
Hannah Bergstom (04): Center for Training and Careers (alternative school)
Perry Public Schools:
Laura Meyer (02): Perry High School
West Des Moines Public Schools:
Kerry Kennedy (02): Stilwell Junior High School
University of Missouri - Columbia:
Megan Broberg (04): International Student Adisor
Urbandale Public Schools:
Ashley Vande Zandschulp (11): Rolling Green Elementary
Practice Teaching in ESL at Iowa State University
Because students at Iowa State also become certified in another main area such as elementary education, English, or Spanish, the two student teaching experiences are often combined. Typically, students are placed in a school with a high percentage of English language learners and do additional weeks in ESL at the beginning or end of the semester working with ESL supervising and cooperating teachers. Practice teaching in ESL at Iowa State consists of 120 hours during which student teachers:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
1: I hear people talking about ESL, ELL, EFL, TESL, TEFL, and TESOL? Do these things have any thing to do with one another? What do these letters stand for?
These acronyms can be confusing. Here's the translation:
ESL= English as a Second Language
2: What's required to get an ESL endorsement in the state of Iowa?
The state has recently revised its ESL endorsement to be 18 hours of specified coursework in areas related to the teaching of English as a second language in addition to meeting the other requirements for basic education and professional educational courses. Iowa State University requires 21 credit hours in ESL, as noted above. See Requirements.
3: I only want to teach ESL. Can I get certified to teach ESL without getting certified in something else?
While this may be possible elsewhere, it is not the case at ISU. We treat ESL as an add-on endorsement, which means that students add the ESL endorsement to certification. They may have certification at either the elementary or the secondary level and certification at the secondary level may be in any number of areas. Spanish or English are the most popular choices. When students complete our program they leave with credentials that give them maximum flexibility and this is very appealing to school districts.
4: I'm interested in teaching in the US, but I'll probably leave Iowa. Will my ESL endorsement in Iowa transfer to other states?
Many states enthusiastically accept Iowa's certification; in fact, other states often come to campus to recruit our teachers for their schools. Still, it's best to check with the state or the local school system where you are considering employment.
5: Are there opportunities to teach ESL in Iowa?
Currently the demand for ESL teachers in Iowa is greater than the supply and projections indicate that opportunities in ESL are likely to grow. Because our population is not growing rapidly, if we want to stay economically sound we are going to need to encourage newcomers to our state. These are likely to include many immigrants whose first language is not English.
6: I want to go overseas. I hear there are lots of ESL jobs. Should I still get an ESL endorsement?
While it is true that it is possible for a native-speaker of English to teach English in some countries with a minimum of preparation, better positions usually require a major in English and/or ESL certification. For top positions, a Master's degree in TESL/Applied Linguistics is often required. A Master's degree is typically 30-36 hours, depending upon the background of the student. Iowa State University offers a Master's in TESL/Applied Linguistics that can be done in conjunction with the ESL endorsement.
7: Do I need to know a foreign language?
Though we highly recommend studying, if not learning a foreign language, this is not a current requirement. Proficiency in Spanish is a very valuable skill in today's public schools.
8: The endorsement in Iowa is K-12, but I only want to teach older children. Will my endorsement still say K-12?
Yes, it will. However, if you do not feel comfortable teaching students of a certain age, you should not accept a job in the area. Note, though, that you will need to complete a practicum with students outside of your normal grade preference.
9: How do I know when classes will be held; how can I plan ahead?
Classes are listed and updated two to three times yearly on our web site.You can check on class listings on the ISU web site under the class schedule listing.
10: Is there a practice-teaching (student-teaching) requirement for ESL? If so, what is it like?
You will participate in two practicum placements during your training. The first is a one-credit practicum (CI 280S) and the second is a more in-depth, supervised practicum (CI 480S), during which you will be observed and evaluated as you teach at least two lessons. Both these courses will typically be completed prior to your major student-teaching experience. Because the ESL endorsement is a K-12 endorsement, the state requires you to do some of your practicum experience at grade levels different from your main teaching area.
11: Are there opportunities for me to gain additional ESL experiences at ISU, beyond simply taking courses?
Yes, ISU has approximately 2000 international students on campus and many of them still need assistance and/or conversational practice in English. The conversation partner program sponsored by the Office of International Educational Services matches native-speakers with ISU students whose first language is not English. There are also opportunities to observe or assist teachers or tutor children in the public schools or to assist in the ESL 101 program as a peer mentor. Finally, there are adult education programs in central Iowa that welcome volunteers. These include Hawthorne Hill, Proteus, and the YMCA programs in Des Moines. Students are encouraged to take advantage of one or more of these opportunities.
12: Where do I begin?
f a student has not had any coursework in linguistics, English 219 (Introduction to Linguistics) or English 511 (Intro to Linguistics for graduate students) is a good place to begin. Another basic course, English 220 (Applied English Grammar) can be taken simultaneously. A test-out is also available for English 220. Completing these two courses prepares you for the more applied courses that follow and puts you 1/4 of the way toward completion of your ESL endorsement. They are also prerequisites for study in the graduate program in TESL/Applied Linguistics.
13: How much will courses cost?
This depends on whether you take courses as a full time undergraduate, graduate or a part-time non-degree student. Visit the Iowa State Registrar's Office for details.
The next four questions apply to those who already have a Bachelor's degree:
14: I have a Bachelor's degree, but I am not certified to teach. How long will it take to meet the requirements?
Since everyone's transcript is different, it is impossible to answer this question. You would need to talk with advisors in the teaching area that you are interested in pursuing.
15: Can I get graduate credit or even a Master's degree relevant to teaching ESL and fulfill the state requirements for an endorsement?
Yes, ISU offers both programs and they can be done simultaneously. Because of the overlap in the programs, it is often possible to do a Master's degree and an ESL endorsement without taking more than one or two additional courses. If a student is not currently certified to teach in the state of Iowa, additional courses will be necessary.
16: How do I find out more about the graduate program in TESL/Applied Linguistics?
17: I'm working full-time and can't always come to the ISU when the classes I need meet. Any suggestions?
Each semester we try to offer at least one course in TESL/Applied Linguistics on one evening each week; sometimes we offer courses via the internet We are currently exploring the expansion of our internet courses, so stay tuned for later developments; however, it is not currently possible to get ESL certification or an MA without coming to campus.