Lee To Add TESOL Major This Fall

Saturday, July 26, 2014
Lee TESOL student Michelle Overman helps ESL camper Isabella Hayes with a project at camp earlier this month (camper Cesar Rivera pictured in background).
Lee TESOL student Michelle Overman helps ESL camper Isabella Hayes with a project at camp earlier this month (camper Cesar Rivera pictured in background).
- photo by Nathan Bivens, Lee University

Beginning this fall, Lee University’s Department of Language and Literature will offer two new tracks in its Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program. Previously offered as a minor only, students can now opt between a BAT or a BA in TESOL.

“There is an increasing demand for teachers that can teach English as a second language, and Lee is responding to that need,” said program director Dr. Chris Blake, assistant professor of TESOL and Linguistics. 

English learners constitute the fastest growing segment of the school-age population. According to the U.S. Department of Education, one in nine public school students in K-12 comes from a home where a language other than English is spoken. In 1990 the figure was only one in 20. By 2025, it will be one in four. 

Dr. Blake added, “Our TESOL program will prepare our students to be leaders in public schools with English-language learners (ELLs) as schools face this huge influx of international students.”

Lee’s current program has grown from 30 TESOL minors in 2011 to 70 minors this past year, and 16 students have already been accepted into one of the two TESOL major tracks for this fall. 

The bachelor of arts in TESOL with teacher certification (BAT) prepares students for a career in teaching English as a second language in grades PK-12. The bachelor of arts in TESOL (BA) prepares students for a career in teaching English as a second or foreign language in a context outside of U.S. public schools.

"The course requirements are actually designed in a way to allow TESOL majors interested in doing missions to feasibly double major,” said Dr. Blake. He added that students will be able to earn a degree in intercultural studies (Lee’s traditional missions track) along with a TESOL degree, which will be useful overseas and upon return to the U.S. The TESOL BA is also well suited with other majors such as communication, foreign language, or anthropology.

According to Dr. Blake, one of the factors that distinguishes Lee’s TESOL program from others is the strong preparation in linguistics. “Preparing students to understand how language works provides them with a greater understanding of the language systems of the students they will be teaching, whether inside or outside the U.S.”

Another distinction is the hands-on experience Lee’s TESOL students acquire working with ELL in the community through the university’s English Language Center.  Students graduate with up to two years of experience, often only found in master’s level programs. They will also have the opportunity to teach overseas as part of their cross-cultural experience. 

English is the world’s lingua franca – the language of the wider community. Knowing English provides economic mobility as it is the stepping stone for many to succeed around the world, enabling them to rise above poverty. Because of this emphasis on learning English, programs to prepare teachers of English to non-English speakers are also in great demand, said officials.

According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, the United States tops the chart by far in terms of total missionaries, sending 127,000 in 2010.  Dr. Blake feels that this new program will better equip many of the missionaries who get their training at Lee. “TESOL is such a good fit for Lee,” he said, “because so many Lee students want to make a difference in this world.” 

So whether one wishes to travel abroad for mission work, overseas teaching, business, or graduate school, or plans to stay stateside and help develop English speakers in the U.S., Lee has moved into a better position to provide preparation for those plans, said officials.

For more information about TESOL at Lee, visit http://www.leeuniversity.edu/academics/arts-sciences/language-literature/ or contact Dr. Blake at cblake@leeuniversity.edu or 614-8223.


Campers, students, staff and faculty pose for a group photo during Lee’s ESL camp this month.
Campers, students, staff and faculty pose for a group photo during Lee’s ESL camp this month.
- Photo2 by Whitney Caylor, Lee University

Public Education Foundation Hosts Free College Knowledge Lunch Breaks

High school parents & educators from all over the Tennessee Valley are invited to attend the Public Education Foundation's free College Knowledge Lunch Breaks.  Other adults who work with or advise students on the road to post-secondary success are invited as well.   These monthly lunch time workshops will focus on college related topics such as essay writing, ... (click for more)

Lee University To Present Homecoming Music Festival 2014

As a part of the Lee University Homecoming activities, the School of Music will present its annual Music Festival on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Conn Center. This year’s festival program will include familiar student ensembles Campus Choir, Chamber Strings, Evangelistic Singers, Jazz Band, Ladies of Lee, Lee Singers, Symphonic Band, Voices of Lee, and a group new to the ... (click for more)

2 People Shot Saturday Night On Carousel Road

Two people were shot Saturday evening on Carousel Road. At  9:11 p.m. , Chattanooga Police responded to 1406 Carousel Road on a call of a person shot. One victim on the scene suffered minor injuries.  Another victim was transported by personal vehicle to a local hospital. The s econd victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  The suspect ... (click for more)

Teenager Killed In ATV Accident Thursday Night

Damon Lee Jones, 15, was killed Thursday night in an ATV accident in Walker County. It was reported he was riding with a 17-year old, when they tried to enter a church parking lot, but ran into a cable barrier. The accident happened on Dunwoody Road in LaFayette. The other rider, identified as Timothy J. Wallin, was not injured.   (click for more)

Tom Dugan Was A Good Man

Tom was my boss for most of my 36 years at Carta.  At the ceremony where I was awarded my 30-year service award, Tom said, "Don disagrees with 85% of my decisions, but I wish I had 80 more employees just like him." This kind of indicates our relationship. When I asked him to help with my plans for a reunion for the group of Veterans that I served with in Vietnam, he quickly ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: More Sunday Funnies

On the last Sunday before Daylight Savings Time disappears next week, let’s go to my jokes back for some grins and giggles: * * * An old gentleman was on the operating table awaiting surgery and he insisted that his son-in-law, a renowned surgeon, perform the operation.  As he was about to get the anesthesia, he asked to speak to his son-in-law. “Yes, Dad, what is ... (click for more)