Applied Linguistics, M.A.

This program is offered by the English Department

Program Description

The Master of Arts degree in Applied Linguistics offers two tracks.  One is in the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), which prepares classroom teachers of English as an additional language at all levels, from children to adults and here in Connecticut or anywhere in the world.  The second track is in Language Policy and Planning (LPP), which prepares specialists in social and educational policy related to language for the public, non-profit, and private sectors.

The TESOL track prepares teachers to use effective methods to meet the varying instructional needs of students of English as an additional language while encouraging such students to maintain their native languages and cultural competencies. Students receive a thorough grounding in practical skills and methods of language teaching to develop communicative competence and appropriate academic skills in English and to become professionally competent on issues involving the nature of language and language acquisition and the role of language in society.

The LPP track prepares policy specialists with a thorough foundation in cognitive and social aspects of language that can inform a career guiding educational and institutional policies on language use, pedagogy, linguistic diversity, and multilingualism.  Students also develop skills in the tailoring and critique of language policies (including language education policy) that can be implemented in a broad range of contexts.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyze and interpret linguistic phenomena using current linguistic theory (what language is), including:
    a) Use theories of syntax to gain substantial insights into the grammatical structure of sentences and related utterances in English and other languages
    b) Use theories of phonology to gain substantial insights into the sound systems that underlie the articulation and comprehension of English and other languages
    c) Use sociolinguistic theory to gain substantial insights into the use, diversity, status, and policy norms of English and other languages
  2. Analyze and interpret linguistic phenomena using current theories of second language acquisition (how language is learned), including:
    a) Use cognitive theories relevant to second language acquisition (SLA) to gain substantial insights into the stages and processes of language development in learners of all ages and backgrounds
    b) Use social theories relevant to SLA to gain substantial insights into the language development of all social actors in a diverse range of contexts
  3. Produce effective materials relevant to the practice of applied linguistics, including lesson plans for language learning and clearly articulated policy position papers.
  4. In addition, students in the TESOL track will be able to design, implement, and assess lessons and curricula in TESOL using current methods and best practices in the profession (how language is taught), including:
    a) Evaluate a wide range of teaching methods and strategies and integrate them into lessons and curricula in a way that optimizes learning
    b) Design lesson plans and broader curricular units based on institutional, governmental, or professional standards that connect learner needs to a variety of classroom activities
    c) Implement lessons that are informed by immediate learner needs and that create opportunities for learners to construct knowledge in a supportive, interactive environment
    d) Integrate the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing with a wide range of content knowledge in motivating lessons
    e) Use a wide range of authentic and sheltered materials in lessons to address language and content objectives for a variety of learners
    f) Use assessment tools, collaboration with colleagues, professional development opportunities, and institutional resources to improve student learning, augment teaching repertoires, and advocate for learners
  5. Finally, students in the LPP track will be able to design, implement, and assess institutional language policies based on current research and theory (how to guide language use), including:
    a) Integrate a broad range of theories, models, and variables from the study and practice of language policy and planning
    b) Address the complexities of individual and societal multilingualism within specific institutional contexts
    c) Produce practical policy recommendations based on the needs of specific institutional contexts
    d) Reflect on methods for assessing the effectiveness of policies and the fit between linguistic realities and goals