Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

WCE Offers New MAT in TESL; Redesigns AIG Programs

Friday, November 07, 2014

ESL Image

In fall 2015, the Watson College of Education will introduce a Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program with specialization in teaching English as a Second Language. The program is designed to meet growing demand from K-12 schools, community colleges and non-profit organizations such as literacy centers for professionals with knowledge and certification to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). The program is also appropriate for professionals who want to teach English as a foreign language overseas.

“There has been a shortage of ESL teachers for many years in North Carolina,” said Eleni Pappamihiel, WCE professor and ESL program coordinator.

The majority of English Language Learners (ELLs) in North Carolina are native Spanish speakers. The state’s Hispanic population increased by 111 percent between 2000 and 2010, and the ELL population statewide in the 2011-12 school year was roughly 7 percent of the K-12 enrollment, or just under 100,000 students, according to an article in Education Week that cited federal data. In the Wilmington area, there has also been an influx of refugee families from Burma who speak Karen, Pappamihiel said.

ESL is a stand-alone certification in North Carolina. WCE has offered an ESL Add-On Licensure program since 2007, and a Master of Education (M. Ed.) with specialization in ESL was added in fall 2013. The new MAT provides a pathway for students who hold a bachelor’s degree but have little or no experience in education. Knowledge of Spanish or other languages is not required.

The flexible online, instructor-led format makes it possible for professionals across the state to participate in the program. The MAT is a two-year program, with one semester dedicated to student teaching prior to graduation. Upon successful completion of the program, individuals will be eligible to apply for North Carolina certification to teach ESL in grades K-12 in the state. Students seeking certification must also pass the appropriate Praxis tests.

WCE is currently accepting applications for fall 2015. For more information, visit www.uncw.edu/ed/itfse/esl/ or email Pappamihiel at pappamihieln@uncw.edu

WCE Offers Redesigned Add-On Licensure and M.Ed. with Specialization in AIG

WCE offers Add-On Licensure and a Master of Education (M.Ed.) with specialization in Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG). Both programs have been redesigned with working teachers in mind. They now feature a series of courses using the seven-week model; half the length of a traditional semester allowing participants to complete the requirements for the AIG Add-On Licensure in one regularly scheduled academic year. The courses are offered online and the “in place” practicum experience can often be completed at the school where the teacher is employed.

“North Carolina is a leader in the country for AIG education,” said Angela Housand, WCE associate professor and AIG program coordinator. “The state provides a mandate and funding to identify and serve AIG students in grades K-12.”

Still, there is a scarcity of teachers in the state who are qualified to serve the unique needs of gifted and talented students, she said.

Sarah Gubitz, AIG supervisor for New Hanover County Schools hopes the new programs will incentivize more teachers to seek AIG licensure.

“I have found it challenging to find qualified teachers to serve gifted students in our county,” Gubitz said. “I was excited to hear about the new format for the AIG Add-On Licensure as I think it will enable more teachers to attain licensure and increase the pool of applicants for AIG positions in the district and across our state.”

Housand said students like the course format and enrollments in AIG licensure programs have more than doubled for the 2014-15 academic year. She hopes enrollments will continue to grow as more teachers become aware of the redesigned programs.

For information on AIG Add-on Licensure, visit www.uncw.edu/ed/aig/licensure.html

For more information on the M.Ed., visit www.uncw.edu/ed/aig/med.html

UNCW AIG Reboot Conference

UNCW will host an AIG conference for K-12 educators on April 17, 2015. The event titled, “Utilizing Technology to Support Advanced Learning,” features nationally acclaimed experts in gifted education and talent development, including Ian Byrd and Brian Housand.

For information or to register, visit www.uncw.edu/ed/aig/conferences.html