Making Meaning--Teaching English Language Learners in K-12 Classroom and International Settings


Spring 2014 quarter

Taught by

educational policy studies, qualitative research methods

The intent of this 16-credit program is to introduce undergraduate students to the foundational theories, research and pedagogies specific to teaching English language learners (ELLs) in adult and K-12 classroom or international settings. Students will examine how such conditions as history, political climate, school policies and program models impact the access and quality of education ELLs receive.

Students will then focus on the study of language as a system with an emphasis on three important aspects of ELL pedagogy: a) literacy development, b) academic language/content area instruction, and, c) assessment of language proficiency and performance. Students will analyze the central theories, structures and conventions presented in functional linguistics and language acquisition research. With this knowledge base, students will design literacy curriculum and instructional strategies that align with Washington’s K-12 English language development and Common Core standards and competencies, or the TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages) standards for adult ELLs.

Next, students will explore methods for content-area teaching (i.e. math, science, social studies) and formative and summative assessments specific to the Common Core and four language domains: listening, speaking, reading, and writing, as well as the four developmental levels of language proficiency: pre-production, beginner, intermediate and advanced. Students will also learn the principles of backward design lesson planning, analyze instructional tasks for ELLs, provide ELLs opportunities for comprehensible input (receptive language instruction) and comprehensible output (productive language instruction); and offer content-area lesson demonstrations for peer feedback. A field experience, in which students will tutor ELLs in a bilingual school setting one day a week, is a required component of the "Making Meaning" program.

Lastly, students will conduct a case study in which they will interview and examine the philosophy and experiences of a professional ELL educator. By analyzing the interrelationship between language learning and communities of practice, students will consider how ELLs' sociocultural experiences influence the language acquisition process.

Students taking the 4-credit option will join the rest of the program during our review of language acquisition theories and will use that knowledge to design curriculum, instructional and assessment strategies for English language learners (ELLs). Students will also explore the underlying assumptions that impact language learning and how such assumptions can be addressed through the Washington state K-12 ELL and/or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) standards.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

cultural studies, linguistics and education.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online:


Date Revision
January 8th, 2014 New spring opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 4, 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 19


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 30354
So - Sr (16 credits): 30357
(4 credits): 30358

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