Rice Unconventional Wisdom

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Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

 Requirements for the certificate are as follows:


  • LING 200 Introduction to Language. This course provides basic knowledge about language, focusing on linguistic structure (contrastive and descriptive) and the universal properties of human language.
  • LING 394 The Structure of English Study of the grammatical systems of English. Students learn to discover and elucidate the unconscious patterns that underlie speakers' use of the language. A metalanguage for talking about grammar is developed which allows comparison and contrast of English with other languages.
  • One of the following, which provides some basic knowledge of the psychological and social/cultural aspects of language:
    • LING 205 Language and Society: looks at the linguistic behavior of social groups, including topics such as bilingualism, language variation across groups, language attitudes, and linguistic minorities.
    • LING 300 Linguistic Analysis: Provides students with extensive exposure to different phenomena and gives practice at analyzing the grammar of different languages.
    • LING 306 Language, Thought and Mind,
    • LING 309 Psychology of Language: Explores the relation of language and mind, including cognitive development, language processing and language disorders.
    • LING 313 Language and Culture: Focuses on the influence of cultural patterns on language and vice versa. It is intended to help students move beyond a view centered on (and hence limited to) the patterns of their own particular language and culture.
    • or LING 415 Sociolinguistics: A more advanced course which builds on ideas raised in Language and Society and introduces methods of quantifying language variation.
  • LING 340 Theories and Methods of Teaching Second Languages: This requirement provides students with a knowledge of the basic issues and methodology in language teaching and learning. It covers the basic findings of research on second language acquisition and theoretical models based on that research. Also covered are teaching methods, including the use of educational technology for language learning.


The practical component consists of 20 hours of language teaching experience (e.g. 2 hours per week for ten weeks). At the end of the practicum, students will submit a short report (1-2 pages) containing an assessment of the teaching/learning experience.

The requirement can be filled in several ways: by tutoring English in the RSVP program; by teaching EFL abroad (e.g. as part of a summer program or study abroad); by volunteering for an ESL position with the Student Writing program; teaching through Rice's ESL tutoring program for staff, affiliates and continuing education students; or by teaching ESL in the community. Contact the certificate director for more information about any of these programs. Practicum placements need to be approved by the certificate director.