Interested in language, culture, teaching, or all three? Students interested in teaching English will now have the opportunity to obtain a TESOL minor at Covenant.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, or “TESOL,” is the study of methods and techniques of teaching English as a second language. The minor will  feature classes taught by Dr. Nola Stephens, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, and Dr. Brianne Stambaugh, Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages.

The TESOL minor will have six class requirements, four of them being Introduction to Linguistics, taught by Dr. Stephens; Methods in TESOL and Second Language Acquisition, taught by Dr. Stambaugh;a TESOL practicum; and two linguistics or intercultural elective courses. The minor’s courses are designed to be a blend of traditional classroom activities and hands-on experience, mixing reading, research, and class time with practical action in order to best prepare students for future teaching opportunities. Classes like Introduction to Linguistics will give students the tools to think about and interact with different languages as well as with the people who speak them.  

Dr. Brianne Stambaugh, who will be teaching several of the TESOL minor classes, double-majored in Spanish and Teaching English as a Second Language at Union University, before continuing to graduate work in Spanish and applied linguistics. Back in the fall, her Bagpipe faculty profile revealed her love for language and interacting with cultural backgrounds. Stambaugh’s  educational background and love of language allowed her to work as an English tutor for people from countries including India, Guatemala, and Spain. Now, she says, “The TESOL minor is an exciting development at Covenant because it will provide students with a way of meeting a linguistic need of many around the world.” Language allows for communication, and teaching English allows people from different cultural backgrounds to build relationships.

The TESOL minor will be especially helpful for people majoring or interested in community development, education, English, foreign languages, or missions, but it may also be appealing to anyone interested in working abroad or with immigrants to the United States.

English is  a widely spoken language, and therefore a powerful tool. Learning to teach English can lead to relationships with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds and aid in gaining of intercultural skills. The TESOL International Association, which exists to “advance professional expertise in English language teaching and learning for speakers of other languages worldwide,” promotes quality English teaching and works to bring together teachers, researchers, and students and includes helpful information about TESOL as a global pursuit. The main difference between TESOL and TEFL, teaching English as a foreign language, comes down to use and location. Often times, speakers of English as a second language live in an English-speaking country and require the use of the language in order to function in day-to-day life, in a work or social setting. Conversely, speakers of English as a foreign language often learn English for use in a different cultural context, like when travelling or doing international business in a foreign, English-speaking country.

Students interested in pursuing a TESOL minor or TESOL in general can talk to Dr. Stambaugh or Dr. Stephens, who are willing and happy to answer questions about TESOL, and encourage students to get involved.