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iamtiredofpickingusernames's avatar

Linguistics vs English degree for ESL teacher?

Asked by iamtiredofpickingusernames (16points) February 15th, 2016

Hello I’m new and this is my first question.

I thought I’d ask it here because there are such experienced people on this site with insights in so many different areas.

My ultimate goal is to be an ESL teacher. I’m working towards my Bachelor’s degree, and the school I go to does not have a BA or BS in Teaching English as a Second Language (I know some do). So in order to be an ESL teacher, what would be the best degree to get? Linguistics (which is technically a concentration within the English department) or a regular English degree?

I live in New York by the way.

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3 Answers

Soubresaut's avatar

I’m an English major, too—so I guess I’m in a similar situation, although I don’t necessarily have the “real-world” experience others here probably have. The department at the school I go to (not in NY) has a TESL certificate program they offer, and many of the classes are linguistics based. They also include an “intercultural communications” course and then English classes specific to teaching a second language learner. I say that just to give an example of one TESL program’s content. If your major also offers a TESL certificate, I would do that. (I’m assuming it doesn’t, though, hence the question?)—in that case: If I were you, I would probably do the linguistics concentration, because I think that depth of understanding the language’s mechanics will be useful, and then I would see if I could pick up any courses in teaching English as a second language (maybe in the English department, maybe in the Education department, etc.). Best of luck! I wish I had done more in linguistics and TESL

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Either degree is good combined with a TESL certificate. I taught TESL for a number of years and enjoyed it a lot.

morphail's avatar

I have degrees in English and linguistics, but linguistics actually taught me what I needed to know about English in order to teach ESL.

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