William & Mary – School of Education to offer master’s degree in ESL/bilingual education


by Jennifer L. Williams


October 2, 2017

A master’s degree in English as a second language/bilingual education will be added to the curriculum at the William & Mary School of Education.

Growing demand spurred the addition of the new degree program, according to Katherine Barko-Alva, assistant professor of ESL/bilingual education and ESL/dual endorsement program director. Establishing it was one of the expectations within the description of her job, which she began one year ago.

“Up until this past year, the school of education has worked in conjunction with the Department of Modern Languages and Literature to offer classes so that we can provide the ESL dual endorsement,” Barko-Alva said. “As the linguistic demands of our country increase, there is a need for a stand-alone M.A.Ed. in ESL/bilingual education program in addition to our dual endorsement option.”

Prospective students can apply in January of 2018, and classes will start in the summer of 2018. The curriculum will consist of six classes, including an internship, plus core classes offered by the curriculum and instruction department.

More teachers are using more than one language in the classroom and seeking opportunities to be able to help their students who are English learners, according to Barko-Alva.

“Dual language programs are growing in the country,” Barko-Alva said. “We started with around 200, and right now we’re up to approximately 2,000 dual language programs nationwide. And in Virginia alone we have close to 13, most of them in Arlington, but we have several of them in Virginia Beach and also in Newport News. Harrisonburg, as well, has done a beautiful job with dual language education.”

The master’s in ESL/bilingual education provides more advanced training for professionals specializing in ESL/bilingual education than the ESL dual endorsement certification, which consists of three classes, a practicum and 150 hours of…

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