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

Lee English Class Hosts Film Showing, Discussion

Dr. Donna Summerlin’s Young Adult Literature class at Lee University hosted two showings and discussions of the film “The Maze Runner” for the community. Students from Tennessee Christian Preparatory School, Cleveland High School, and other area schools were in attendance.  “The screening of ‘The Maze Runner’ was an amazing theater experience coupled with an enthusiastic ... (click for more)

Lee University Hosts Young Writers Contest

Lee University is hosting the Young Writers Contest now through Nov. 13. All middle and high school students in Bradley and surrounding counties are encouraged to participate, and submissions are currently being accepted.  The contest is being facilitated by Lee’s Language and Literature faculty Dr. William Woolfitt and Dr. Katherine Carlson, “This is an opportunity for ... (click for more)

2 Pedestrians Struck By CSX Train

Chattanooga Police responded on Thursday at 2 p.m. to 900 North Sanctuary Road  to an accident involving a CSX train and two pedestrians. Both victims were transported to a local hospital. Chattanooga Police are working with CSX police on the investigation.   Information will be updated as it becomes available. Chattanooga Police ask anyone with information ... (click for more)

Volkswagen US President Says Probe On To Find Out Who At VW Authorized "Defeat Devices"; VW Will Not Try To Certify 2016 Diesel Models

Volkswagen US President Michael Horn told a House committee on Wednesday that VW is conducting a thorough investigation to determine how "defeat devices" came to be placed on its emission devices. He said Volkswagen first admitted the massive deception in a meeting with EPA and California regulators on Sept. 3. Mr. Horn also said that Volkswagen will not try to certify 2016 ... (click for more)

Erlanger Settlement Understandable, But Disgusting

Re: Erlanger Reaches Settlement With Former CEO Understandable from a legal liability standpoint but disgusting non the less. Gus Bryan (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Unfortunate Sentence

There was a most unfortunate line in a recent email written to me and, in retrospect, I should not have included it in some examples of the huge response regarding the bicycle lanes now being installed on Broad Street. I’ll admit I misread the line because I feel certain I know what the writer was trying to convey. As a matter of fact, I received enough of an outcry I want to clarify ... (click for more)