Language, Literacy and Culture
The Language, Literacy and Culture program aims at promoting teacher candidates’ understanding of language and literacy development of adolescents, particularly second language acquisition, English as a second language (ESL), and multilingual and multicultural education. We strive to create a dynamic synergy among these areas in order to better address the needs of English language learners (ELL) and learners with special needs in the mainstream subject matter classroom.
In response to the New York State teacher certification requirements, both secondary undergraduate and graduate initial certification programs require all teacher candidates to take SEYS 340 at the undergraduate level and SEYS 700 at the graduate level in order to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to work with ELL students and learners with special needs in the mainstream classroom.
Program Alignment with Professional Teaching Standards for Certification
All the courses in the Language, Literacy and Culture program at Queens College are aligned with the Core Values of the Education Unit “promoting Equity, Excellence, and Ethics in urban schools and communities.” Specifically, the Education Unit is committed to preparing teachers and educational professionals who:
· Build inclusive communities that nurture and challenge all learners (Equity)
· Demonstrate professionalism, scholarship, efficacy, and evidence-based and
reflective practice (Excellence); and
· Value diversity, democracy, and social justice (Ethics).
The SEYS 340 and 700 courses have the following objectives:
(1) Teacher candidates will gain an in-depth understanding of the influence of language,
literacy, and culture in education through the study of:
A) the historic and theoretical foundations of second language and literacy learning in
secondary school settings
B) characteristics, language and literacy learning histories, and needs of secondary ELL
students and students with special needs
C) program support and resources for these students in New York City schools
D) linguistic and cultural diversity and its role in education, Standard English and dialectical
variations, bicultural and bilingual education
(2) Teacher candidates will gain an in-depth understanding of language and literacy acquisition
and learning through the study of:
A) sociocultural, psychological, developmental, and linguistic perspectives on second
language acquisition and learning for academic purposes in secondary schools
B) differences and similarities between first language and literacy acquisition and learning and
English as a second language and literacy acquisition and learning
C) disciplinary specific language and literacy demands in secondary subject matter classes
D) the impact of culture, including ethnicity, race, gender, social economic status, etc. on
language and literacy acquisition and learning
(3) Teacher candidates will develop the skills and disposition through the study of:
A) curricular and instructional materials and strategies used to tap into students’ prior
knowledge and address the unique needs of ELL students and students with special needs
C) strategies used to assess English language and literacy competencies for ELL students and
students with special needs
D) cross-cultural communication and understanding and culturally responsive and
E) the development of equitable classroom practice that facilitates the development of
language and literacy skills of ELL students and students with special needs
Although both the SEYS 340 and 700 courses address state requirements and share common objectives, they are different in the following ways:
While students attending SEYS 340 are undergraduate students who are pursuing a BA degree and the state initial certification, students who attend SEYS 700 are graduate students who have already earned a BA in a subject matter area and are in the middle of pursuing the initial certification. While SEYS 340 enrolls students with no or minimal classroom experience; SEYS 700 enrolls students who may have some tutorial or classroom experiences.
Due to the differences in the student body and level, the course content is different. SEYS 340 introduces students to general language and second language acquisition and development in adolescence and multicultural, multilingual and biliteracy issues in education. SEYS 700 was designed to deepen and broaden students' understanding of language and second language acquisition and development in adolescence and multicultural, multilingual and biliteracy issues in education.
Because of the differences in student populations and course content, SEYS 340 and 700 have different requirements as well. For example, while SEYS 340 requires students to do a lot of experiential learning as the course instructor models appropriate and effective methods and techniques used to teach linguistically and culturally diverse students and students with special learning needs, SEYS 700 requires students to read research articles and do teacher research in addition to experiential learning. During the teacher research, students read research articles and focus on particular aspects of second language and literacy learning in order to critically reflect on the reading. They are asked to try out the research-based method on their tutees or students whom they are observing.
Students enrolled in both SEYS 340 and 700 courses are required to observe in an ESL setting. While SEYS 340 students are required to observe a total of 20 hours, SEYS 700 students are required to observe a total of 25 hours. This can be done in a resource room, self-contained ESL classroom, Bilingual classroom, etc. Through observations, they are required to make the crucial connections between observations and course readings and discussions. They are also required to compare and contrast the mainstream classrooms and ESL classrooms for a deeper understanding of course content by applying and analyzing classroom interactions, materials, and pedagogy in relation to educating ELL students and students with special needs. As mentioned above, SEYS 700 students are required to use their observational site as a teacher research site to experiment with methods and techniques that are research-based.
Useful Websites for Professional Organizations and ESL Instruction:
Official website of international organization of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
Office of English Language Learners, New York City Department of Education
National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Position Paper on the Role of English Teachers in Educating English Language Learners
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Position Statement about Mathematics for Second-Language Learners
The Science and English Language Learners (ELL) conference on Science and English Language Learners (ELL) funded by the National Science Foundation
Contains comprehensive ESL teaching resources
Created by an award-winning ESL teacher, includes lesson plans, teaching tips, resource picks, and online bulletin boards and discussion forums.
Comprehensive K-12 teacher resources for ESL/ELL.
National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition in the Classroom http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/classroom/index.htm
Practical resources for linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms.
Language and Education Links
Includes, among others, sections on Bilingual Education & ESL, Language & Culture, and Technology.
NCELA Online Library
Access hundreds of articles and publications on educating linguistically and culturally diverse students.
State Resources for Educating Linguistically & Culturally Diverse Students: Oregon
Online Directory of ESL Resources
A searchable database of the most useful ESL resources, primarily for teachers and students, from the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education and the ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics. Look especially in the pre-formed search for megasites.
English Second Language (AskERIC)
Annotated list of resources, including lesson plans, internet sites, listservs, and organizations.
ESL Department (NWREL)
Annotated list of resources