Houston is the model for metropolitan diversity, and English is the not always the first language for many of its residents.
This often presents obstacles for prospective college students and professionals seeking to advance their careers. Likewise, children in area classrooms also are challenged by language barriers.
Thanks to a collaboration between the University of Houston-Downtown’s (UHD) Department of Urban Education and the University’s English Language Institute (ELI), future educators will be better prepared to assist adult and adolescent English Language Learners (ELLs)
This summer, a new ELI practicum was introduced to offer real-world classroom experience to graduate Urban Education students. The 50-hour practicum places master’s students in ELI classrooms to work with its adult students who are learning English as a second language. The first student to complete this rigorous yet helpful practicum is Rosalinda Morgan.
Morgan is pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching with a specialization in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She also is a Houston Independent School District fifth-grade teacher and eager to implement what she learned during the practicum in the 2016-17 school year.
“Working with the ELI has been a wonderful experience and I have learned so much about teaching adults and English Language Learners,” she said. “I’ve also learned there are so many different cultures in ELI classrooms, and as a teacher, there are many things that one must prepare for before a lesson. However, knowing the cultures of your students is something that you should prepare for as well.”
Frances Le Grand, ELI program coordinator and English as a Second Language instructor, mentored Morgan during the practicum experience, introducing her to designing and implementing English language acquisition activities for adult ELLs.
“I’m excited about the collaboration between the ELI and the Department of Urban Education and looking forward to mentoring more students in the future,” she said.
This fall, the ELI practicum experience will be a key component of the newly developed course focused on teaching English as a second language for adult students (ESL 5336) — a required course for master’s students in the TESOL track.
UHD’s English Language Institute works directly with ELLs to prepare them for college or professional careers. Its instructors are experienced in English language instruction and educate approximately 240 students each semester.
The University’s Department of Urban Education prepares educators through both undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as specialized certifications. Students emerge from this department’s respective programs ready to help others achieve their dreams of academic success.