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

Joint Limited Residential Contractor Licensing Class Planned By Chattanooga State And CSCC

Chattanooga State’s Economic and Community Education Department is partnering with Cleveland State Community College to offer a 30-hour Limited Residential Contractor Licensing class. The class will meet two consecutive Fridays and Saturdays, March 18-19 and March 25-26 at Cleveland State’s campus located at 3535 Adkisson Dr. in Cleveland. Class cost is $449 and limited to 20 ... (click for more)

Dalton State School of Business Maintains Elite Accreditation

Maintaining Dalton State’s Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business Accreditation keeps the College in an elite group that can offer business students a higher quality education.  Dalton State’s School of Business was recently re-accredited by the AACSB International, a global nonprofit organization of educational institutions and businesses devoted to the advancement ... (click for more)

Firefighters Stop Fire At Local IHOP Restaurant

Chattanooga firefighters did not have far to go when fire broke out at the IHOP on Highway 153 in Hixson around  9 a.m.  on Friday. Battalion Chief Don Bowman and firefighters with Quint 16 had just enjoyed a nice breakfast there while having a morning staff meeting. When the firefighters returned to their fire truck and were getting ready to drive off, one of the firefighters ... (click for more)

City Councilman Chris Anderson Gearing Up For Election A Year Away

City Councilman Chris Anderson is already gearing up for the next city election, though it is over a year away. In the financial disclosures due Feb. 1, he reported receiving $24,165 for the reporting period from July 16, 2015 to Jan. 16, 2016. He spent $4,887 during that period. Councilman Yusuf Hakeem took in $11,110 during the period. Councilman Russell Gilbert reported ... (click for more)

Black History Month Hero - Theodore McGraw (Kidd) AKA "Pongee"

I grew up in "Old St. Elmo" on 39th Street behind the Incline. As a child I remember my older brother "Pongee" as being my hero. This month of February being Black History Month, I cannot think of a better person to be honored than my late older brother, Theodore McGraw (Kidd) aka "Pongee" of St. Elmo (Gamble Town). Growing up without my father, Theodore was always available ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Chatt2.org’ Needs You Now

A diverse yet powerful panel of community leaders in Nashville delivered a letter to the Metro Nashville Board of Education last week. It was signed by some top men and women who represent a wide-ranking cross section of Tennessee’s largest city and includes education, business, religious and diversity superstars. You need to understand the urgency behind the letter. Davidson County ... (click for more)