A CURRICULUM EVALUATION OF MATESOL DEGREES AND TESOL GRADUATE CERTIFICATES IN THE UNITED STATES
The field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is the culmination of the fields of applied linguistics, education, and second language acquisition. Due to the influence of so many fields' ideologies, no standard for TESOL curriculum exists in higher education. Palmer (1995) suggested that without a standard curriculum, prospective employers of TESOL graduates are left to accept without question what higher education institutions deem acceptable. However, TESOL Inc.’s (2007) stance on graduate studies is that master’s degrees and graduate certificates are equally terminal for the profession. Researchers for the past 20 years (Bagwell, 2013; Govardhan, Nayar, & Sheorey, 1999; Palmer, 1995; Stapleton & Shao, 2018) have attempted to create a baseline curriculum using the frequency of TESOL course titles and programmatic elements, such as instructional methods. Yet, none of these researchers looked for relationships within the data. Thus, this study used TwoStep Cluster Analysis along with descriptive statistics to evaluate master's degree TESOL (MATESOL) curriculum and TESOL graduate certificate curriculum in the United States to determine what relationships existed among the course titles and descriptions (required and elective) as well as the programmatic elements of departmental location, degree type (MA, MAT, MEd, certificate), student population, method of instruction (brick and mortar, online, hybrid) and accreditation type. Additionally, the researcher used the data to examine the curriculum for links to pedagogy because Govardhan et al. (1999) asserted that they could not “identify any [MATESOL] program that is quintessentially geared toward preparing ESL/EFL [English as a Second Language/English as a Foreign Language] teachers for teaching” (p. 122). This study resulted in two main findings. First, MATESOL degrees and TESOL graduate certificates may share some similarities, but are quite different in actuality. Second, within both the master’s degrees and the graduate certificates that education-based coursework was the most common type of coursework. Thus, the researcher suggested implications for (a) building TESOL curriculum with intersectionality between education and other TESOL-related skills as well as for (b) creating a baseline of current MATESOL curriculum and TESOL graduate certificate curriculum.
Miller, Alicia Joy