2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jun 18, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Teaching English Language Learners (First Certification), MS

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Louise Wilkinson, 200 Huntington Hall, 315-443-4757, lwilkin@syr.edu


The Teaching English Language Learners (TELL)/First Certificate program prepares teachers to help students develop proficiency in English for academic and social purposes in integrated and free-standing services, compatible to current school programs, and to become effective advocates for integrated, fully inclusive classroom-based programs that draw on student strengths and address student needs. The program is grounded on the principles that the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of English language learners are valuable resources and that students best acquire and develop English language literacy - speaking, listening, reading and writing-in rich language contexts.
Through academic work, TELL degree candidates gain knowledge of theories, strategies, and methodologies in teaching English language learners and become conversant in socio-cultural and socio-linguistic issues that impact acquisition of English as an additional language. The combination of coursework and practical experience prepares teachers as specialists in educating English language learners by providing them a thorough understanding of how theory is connected to effective practice in promoting second language acquisition and developing literacy for social and academic purposes.

This program is designed for those without certification in another teaching area or an education background, and is a 40-credit course of study typically pursued full-time over 15 months, beginning in May  (a summer-fall-spring-summer sequence).  It meets the academic requirements for the New York teaching certificate to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (for all grades, PreK-12).   

The program also requires a minimum of 12 credits in a language other than English as an entry requirement. 

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Acquire knowledge of each student, and demonstrate knowledge of student development and learning to promote achievement for all students.

2. Know the content they are responsible for teaching, and plan instruction that ensures growth and achievement for all students.

3. Implement instruction that engages and challenges all students to meet or exceed the learning standards.

4. Work with all students to create a dynamic learning environment that supports achievement and growth.

5. Use multiple measures to assess and document student growth, evaluate instructional effectiveness, and modify instruction.

6. Demonstrate professional responsibility and engage relevant stakeholders to maximize student growth, development, and learning.

7. Set informed goals and strive for continuous professional growth.

Master’s Level Course Requirements

Required Seminars

To be eligible for these New York State teacher certifications, students in the Teaching English Language Learners programs must complete or have completed training in:

  • Child Abuse Prevention
  • Child Abduction Prevention
  • Violence Prevention
  • Fire and Arson Prevention
  • Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Abuse
  • Highway Safety
  • Dignity for All Students Act


Students must complete this requirement prior to their first student teaching experience.

Liberal Arts Course Requirements

The requirements of this program include several undergraduate social science and distribution courses. It is not unusual that an applicant will have one or more of these courses left to take. These do not need to be completed before applying and may be taken at an institution other than Syracuse University. However, some of the courses need to be done before starting the graduate program, and all must be finished before a degree can be granted. The program helps students identify appropriate courses.

Liberal Arts Concentration or Major

A liberal arts concentration or major of at least 30 semester hours, with 15 upper division credits, or equivalent, is required. The program does admit students with college majors in non-liberal arts areas.. The transcript review process includes determining the best concentration area choice and how many additional courses students may need to take. If appropriate, concentration courses may also be used to meet the distribution course requirements listed below. 

Interested students should contact the program coordinator as early as possible (including before applying) to have unofficial transcripts reviewed against the liberal arts requirements. This allows more time to enroll in needed courses.

Liberal Arts Distribution course requirements:

Language Other than English 12 credits or equivalent of a language other than English must be completed no later than the semester before EDU 508.  Equivalency would include such things as passing the Level II CLEP examination in a foreign language; or completing one or more college courses at a level beyond introductory, such that the college credits earned plus the credits represented by the lower level courses that were waived would equal 12 or more semester hours.


One course in each of the following

  • Writing
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Science
  • Artistic Expression
  • History
  • Social Science other than History

Humanities (If not otherwise met, may be met by the linguistics (LIN) requirements in the program.)

Degree Awarded: M.S. in Teaching English Language Learners (First Certification)

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