To obtain to the certification K-12 ESL Program Specialist  by Pennsylvania Department of Education, the following courses need to be completed:

MED 574: “Foundations of English as a Second Language”

This foundations course will introduce and provide background on English Language learners including the psychological, social, cultural and linguistic components of the developmental processes in learning a second language. The course provides an overview of first and second language acquisition. Planning, implementing, and managing instruction within the framework of research and best practices will be emphasized. The course also explores what we as teachers can do to provide appropriate instruction and assessment based on the Pennsylvania Academic Standards and Assessment Anchors. The course includes a 10-hour practicum experience with an English Language Learner.

MED 576: Introduction to Linguistics
What is language? What does it mean to know a language? How do humans process and use language? Candidates in this course will examine these questions and many others through an introductory study of language and principles of linguistics. The main areas of linguistics to be explored include: phonology (sounds), morphology (word structure), syntax (grammar), semantics (meaning), sociolinguistics (language in context), pragmatics (speech acts), psycholinguistics (how we process language), and applied linguistics (pedagogical approaches to language). Candidates in the course will collect and examine data on language structures and use, processes of language learning, and how languages change to develop critical approaches to language learning and linguistic principles.

MED 578: Culture and Life Experiences of English Language Learners
This is a 3 credit course that examines the different dimensions of culture (i.e. world views, power, and privilege), its impact on achievement of students from diverse racial and cultural groups and their ability to participate in the target language community. Participants will examine their understanding of diverse cultural beliefs, values and etiquette including environmental, personal and socioeconomic characteristics of individuals from varying racial and cultural groups to help them understand their unique educational concerns. In addition, course participants will examine how their own culture impacts their views of teaching, learning and classroom expectations, exploring the varied roles of teacher, parent, and student. Embedded in this course are observations, cultural self-study activity, cultural awareness self-reflections and discussion boards as well as a 5-hour field experience centered on the cultural experiences of an ESL family in the school or community.

MED 682: Second Language Acquisition
What is the difference between language acquisition and language learning? What does it mean to acquire a second language?  How do we acquire a second language? What factors impact second language acquisition? In the Second Language Acquisition (SLA) course, these questions and many others will be of primary focus.  This course serves as an introductory approach to current theoretical and empirical research on how a second language is acquired and the pedagogical implications. Candidates will explore numerous factors in SLA including (but not limited to) neurolinguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives on SLA in children and adults to identify pertinent pedagogical approaches in diverse contexts. Candidates will also examine and analyze language learner data sets to critically reflect on language and develop instructional methodologies and strategies that address the needs of each language learner. Five to eight hours of fieldwork will allow candidates to examine and assess SLA perspectives and develop a critical SLA research study that addresses a specific linguistic feature within a candidate-designed pedagogical framework.

MED 684: Assessment and Instruction of English Language Learners
In this capstone course, taken concurrently with a 40-hour internship experience, students will develop and practice a repertoire of assessment and teaching skills specific to English language acquisition, including how to differentiate instruction and assessment for English Language Learners at various proficiency levels.  Collaboration with professionals and families in order to enhance ELL’s academic and social success, are emphasized and practiced.


Academic Advisor

Sister Margaret Anne Dougherty, RSM, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Graduate Programs in Education

Admissions Staff

Kelly Burr, M.Ed.
Coordinator of Graduate Admissions & Student Services
School of Graduate and Adult Education

Phone: 610-796-8296
Fax: 610-796-8367

Cynthia Mensch
Director, Alvernia University
Schuylkill Center

1544 Route 61 Hwy S. Suite 6190
Pottsville, PA 17901

Dana Baker
Director of Philadelphia Center
School of Graduate and Adult Education

1355 West Cheltenham Avenue
Melrose Park, PA 19027

ESL Program Specialist Certification