English as a Second Language (ESL) Specialist Certification (K-12): Robert Morris University English as a Second Language (ESL) Specialist Certification (K-12) | Robert Morris University

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There is an ever increasing demand for ESL-certified teachers. The US population of non-native English speakers has nearly tripled since 1993, and currently one in five children lives in a home where English is not the primary language. Most second language learners come in with anxieties and go through phases of cultural adjustments. Without the necessary support, it is hard for them to transition smoothly and be able to learn English quickly.

RMU’s program in English as a Second Language is a collaboration with the Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit.  It prepares teachers to promote the academic success of English language learners, and prepares candidates for the ESL Program Specialist certificate awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The 18-credit curriculum is offered fully online, and explores culture, instructional planning, language benchmarks, assessment, and professionalism. It helps teachers to be more effective addressing their students' needs through working with families and communities to establish appropriate learning goals and assessment measures. It also teaches how to conduct research on the structure and nature of language with the purpose of assisting English learners in academic and non-academic settings. 

Applicants must provide the following evidence to apply for the ESL Program Specialist Program:

  • PA Instructional I or II certification or its equivalent from another state
  • Demonstrated English proficiency- Bachelor’s degree documentation from an accredited U.S. college or university. Foreign applicants submit ACTFL test “English Language, OPI”. According to ACTFL, a rating of 3 constitutes evidence of acceptable English language proficiency. A candidate with a rating of 3 demonstrates sufficient control over grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary to effectively participate in most formal and informal conversations on social and professional topics. A rating of 3 also indicates a high level of comprehension when listening to English spoken at a normal speed. Foreign applicants must have a minimum OPI score of 3 for entry to the program
  • GPA - 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Transcripts - From every institution attended
  • Teaching Certificates - Copies of professional teaching certificates held
  • Resume - Current resume accurately reflecting teaching and work experience
  • Application Form

Showing the interconnectedness of culture and cognition, the curriculum provides historical exploration of immigration, cultural perspectives, and teaching practices. 

All six courses are three credits, and each course progresses from introductory to higher level and known to unknown in complexity:

  • Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language
  • Developing Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity
  • Observing, Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction
  • Language Acquisition and Development
  • Assessment and Support
  • English Language Learners, Families, Community, and Professionalism
The 18-credit curriculum is offered fully online, and explores culture, instructional planning, language benchmarks, assessment, and professionalism. It helps teachers to be more effective addressing their students' needs through working with families and communities to establish appropriate learning goals and assessment measures. It also teaches how to conduct research on the structure and nature of language with the purpose of assisting English learners in academic and non-academic settings.

The English as a Second Language Specialist Certification Program, like all RMU programs, focuses on practical education with a professional focus, with real-world applications. Candidates for ESL Certification complete a planned sequence of field experiences, of which at least one is in a public school setting, and which are aligned with competencies in the coursework.

The School of Education and Social Sciences faculty is comprised of caring individuals who accept the responsibility for educating the "whole" student at RMU. Consequently, our faculty members are specialists in their areas of expertise who effectively implement sound instructional practices when teaching and just as importantly, they engage students in a variety of purposeful enrichment activities outside the classroom setting. As all faculty possess related work experience as practitioners in the field, such as principals, superintendents, teachers, researchers, authors, psychologists, counselors, etc., students learn from them first-hand what it takes to succeed.