Looking for a good academic home?
It might be with our program of Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second and Foreign Language.
Here are some reasons why.
- Our Expertise
In 1978, about 20 years after initiating our theoretical linguistics program, we started our MA Linguistics: TESL program preparing educators for Teaching English as a Second Language. In the Sunshine State, our program is one of the oldest in a relatively young field. At the same time we began our TESL track program, we opened our INTO USF English Language Program. We have used INTO ever since as a venue for excellence in ESL education, where we implement research, mentoring, and interning. You will get to know INTO throughout your time as a graduate student with us. You will be able to practice teaching with our international students, even in your first year courses. You will also be able to intern in this Institute during your second year.
- Faculty-Student Relationship
Mutual appreciation and respect mark the faculty-student relationship in our program. Our faculty, all of whom hold Ph.D. degrees, bear warm respect for our graduate students. The level of instruction is set to challenge students, yet faculty also help students achieve. Our students enjoy graduate courses devoted to graduate students: we do not "cross register" undergraduate and graduate courses. Students receive additional faculty attention since typical class sizes are around 15 students per class. The faculty show respect for students in other ways. In addition to inviting students to open office hours, faculty also hold parties for the students once or twice a year. The faculty and students have together reactivated the student Linguistics club, LINGO, which allows more faculty-student events. Our students appreciate the respect and collegiality in our program, and value the special relationship with faculty.
- Alumni Employability
Our program prepares students for a broad range of opportunities in language education. Moreover, our students will be prepared with a wealth of experiences and professional tools, like the portfolio, when they explore the job market. A recent graduate informed the program that he was offered every job he applied for. His challenge was not finding a job but choosing the best one. The strength and breadth of our program is evident if you consider where our alumni are employed. Our graduates teach ESOL in the US public school system; others teach EFL in international settings; some direct language institutes; a few have careers in sales or marketing related to international educaton; others have proceeded to earn doctoral degrees.
- Two-Semester Internship
You need not be concerned if you lack teaching experience when you enter our program. You will have solid hands-on experience by the time you graduate, since our program features two semesters of interning. The first semester focuses on observations and discussions with some practice teaching. In the second semester, you have full responsibility for teaching an ESL class. (During both semesters you'll be teamed with a mentor. This is a splendid experience that gives you close access to an experienced TESOL professional.) If you intern at INTO USF, you will earn a stipend as well as a partial tuition waiver during your second semester internship. (An off-campus internship can usually be arranged for those who teach in nearby schools. INTO USF does not fund these internships.) Our extensive professional internship is one more reason why our graduates are in demand in the job market.
Human and professional growth is warmly fostered in the Applied Linguistics: TESL programs. We promote growth by respecting our students, challenging and enabling them throughout their course of study here. Many of our alumni remain in contact with us for years after graduating. As a graduate student, you will develop professionally during your studies and through your direct teaching experiences. You will have early teaching experiences (in TSL 5371, for example) as well as the two-semester internship. In this internship, our graduate students are matched with TESOL professionals for supportive mentoring experiences. The mentor aids the intern in the nuts and bolts of teaching. So positive is this professional relationship that often it blossoms into long-standing friendship.
- Theory plus Practice
Every class blends theory with practice. Yes, you will learn "what to do on Monday morning" but you will go beyond that! With a solid foundation in L2 theory and research, you will know why to take a particular instructional tack. You will be able to interpret, critique, and apply the research literature. Your professional experiences will include conducting your own classroom-based research, so you will know how to diagnose and remedy instructional needs. This broad spectrum of coverage in our program is of lasting benefit.
- The Portfolio
In every class, you will apply theory to practice in assignments that include projects and papers. You collect these papers, projects, and reflections, building up your portfolio gradually over the entire program. At the end of the program, you submit your portfolio for evaluation as part of the comprehensive examination system. Alumni report that the portfolio is a powerful tool. It helps them appreciate what they learned in the program. It likewise helps demonstrate experience and abilities to prospective employers.
Our Linguistics Graduate Organization, LINGO, is run by students, for students. Activities always feature free food and good conversation! Grad students, with the help of Dr. Vásquez, plan sessions to help in professional development, career preparation, and social interaction. Joining LINGO lets you gain leadership experience and make connections with students and professionals in the field.
- Relationships with Classmates
We enjoy a positive climate in our program. This is partly because of the collaborative teamwork that students conduct. It is also because of the affectionate respect between faculty and students. This atmosphere pervades our program. Perhaps as a result, many classmates become lifelong friends. We are not recommending that you select a program simply to make friends. However, if all other factors are equal, wouldn't you prefer to work in a friendly environment? Here in the Applied Linguistics program, we enjoy a positive atmosphere and high achievement. We invite you to come visit us and see if you would like to make this your academic home.