Student Expands Her World With TESOL Concentration in Online Literacy and Second Language Studies Master’s Program

The University of Cincinnati’s (UC) Master in Education Second Language Literacy (M.Ed in LSLS) equips you with a rich foundation and marketable skills to build a fulfilling career in language education, working in Ohio, anywhere in the US or abroad.

UC’s program is entirely online and focuses on reading, writing, and speaking as language processes. It trains and educates you on how to build tailored curriculums, interventions, and assessments for students. The practitioner-based experience takes you on a rewarding journey, paired with a faculty mentor, to broaden and deepen your understanding of the social, cultural, linguistic, and institutional factors that contribute to a learner’s ability to read, write, and speak in their first or second language.

UC student PaMela G. chose a TESOL concentration for her master’s program studies.

What Is TESOL?

UC’s M.Ed program gives you the opportunity to select a disciplinary concentration, including TESOL. TESOL is an acronym for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. It’s a term used in English language education and language teaching that encompasses various approaches to teaching English as a second or foreign language to non-native speakers. It refers to both the profession and the academic field of study related to teaching English to individuals who are not native English speakers, and it covers a wide range of contexts and educational settings.

With a TESOL concentration from UC’s online M.Ed. LSLS program, you can work in diverse settings — from language schools to public schools to universities, nonprofits, community centers, and online platforms.

UC student PaMela G. enjoys attending networking events in Thailand.

UC Student Shares Her Life-Changing Experience in Thailand

Get to know PaMela G., American expatriate in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and a current UC student. Here, she shares her experience pursuing her second advanced degree through the online M.Ed. LSLS with a concentration in TESOL.

(UC) What motivated you to enroll in the online M.Ed. LSLS program at UC?

(PaMela) In 2018, I chose to transition my marketing communications and corporate training career to something I felt was a better fit for my interests. I love cultural experiences and the training aspect of my roles. I taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to Chinese students, and it was super fun. UC’s online program was just what I was looking for to make the transition, as my master’s in marketing communications and my training experience wasn’t enough for teaching roles.

Why did you select the online program, and are you happy with your choice?

It seemed to be the best of so much of what I was seeking — teaching instruction, an emphasis on cultural sensitivity, and learning best practices in teaching/learning.

From UC’s M.Ed curriculum, was there a particular course you enjoyed?

There were many, but the course that blessed me tremendously was Literacy and Language as a Cultural Tool. We had to read a book called The Skin That We Speak by MacArthur Genius Lisa Delpit and Dr. Joanne Kilgour Dowdy. I’m African-American, and the book spoke about the importance of realizing that African-American English, Ebonics, or Black English (i.e., African-American Vernacular English) is not “incorrect” but has roots in West African or other African languages.

It touched on code-switching and validated that my Black English is not poor English but should be recognized as important as any other World English or second language.

As a 55-year-old African-American professional and lover of higher education, I’ve been code-switching for as long as I can remember to be taken seriously in academic environments and professional arenas. The book and the class blessed me and validated me as a person. It was extremely healing. I didn’t expect it in this program and so appreciate that it was added as a major component!

It was also helpful for my classmates in becoming culturally sensitive to people of color regarding their valid second language, including Black English.

How has your degree helped you in your career? Or how do you see it helping your career in the future?

I’m in Thailand right now, completing a study abroad for my final semester. I’ve officially moved here and am marketing myself for teaching roles. I talked to someone from a university recently about a teaching position. In discussing my program courses, he recognized I’m highly qualified without an extra certificate because of the nature of UC’s LSLS program.

Any advice for future students looking into this program?

The program is thorough, the staff is helpful and well-qualified, and the classes will give you the foundational, specialized training to improve or start your career as an EFL, English as a Second Language (ESL), or literacy professional.

For someone who may have never taken an online course before, how would you describe the experience?

This is my second time in an online master’s program. UC’s program is great because I can complete it on my own time. There’s also an online coordinator, Abbey Hurley, in case we have any issues. Abbey was a starting point for many services and provided much support throughout the program. She was thorough, responsive, and a really great help.

Would you consider going back to school to earn additional degrees or endorsements?

I’m a lover of continued and higher education. So, there’s no doubt I’ll be learning as long as I live!

Postcards from abroad: PaMela shared this photo of a Big Golden Buddha statue.

Benefits of an M.Ed. LSLS – TESOL

Choosing the TESOL concentration in UC’s 100% online Master of Education program opens a world of benefits where you can:

  • Enhance Your Teaching Skills – Gain advanced teaching methodologies and strategies specific to second language acquisition and a deeper understanding of how to effectively teach English to non-native speakers and second language learners.
  • Advance Your Education Career and Your Earnings – Many schools and language institutes require and/or prefer educators with a master’s degree for higher-level positions, including department chairs, curriculum developers, or teacher trainers. With an advanced degree, you can typically command a higher salary, while a specialization like TESOL can further boost your earning potential.
  • Expand Your Job Opportunities – A TESOL concentration enhances your qualifications for a wide range of job opportunities, including teaching English abroad, working with immigrants and refugees, instructing international students at universities and colleges, director or administrative staff for a program, developer of English language materials with a private company, government agency adviser, etc.
  • Grow Cultural Competency – Through coursework and practical experience, you develop cultural sensitivity and an understanding of diverse populations, helping you to relate to and support language learners from various backgrounds.
  • Benefit from Networking – Graduate programs offer you an opportunity to connect with fellow educators, researchers, and professionals in the field. Building a strong network can open doors for collaborative projects and job opportunities.
  • Develop and Grow Professionally and Personally – Master’s programs often incorporate ongoing professional development, ensuring you stay updated with the latest trends and best practices. Pursuing a master’s degree is intellectually stimulating, allowing for personal growth and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Make a Difference – With advanced TESOL training, you can make a profound impact on your students, helping them to become proficient in English and providing valuable language skills for their future endeavors.
  • Get a Global Perspective – By delving into the intricacies of language acquisition and second language literacy, you develop a global perspective that can be valuable in various educational and professional contexts.

Ready to Learn More?

Review UC’s M.Ed. LSLS program information for upcoming start dates, curriculum, fees and tuition and more. If you have questions about the program, contact us online or call (866) 629-6075 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday, to speak with a representative.

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