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On Sunday July 12, 2020, the orientation session for Cohort 5 of the MA in Linguistics for Vietnamese Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) was held in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. This was the start of the fifth year of a very successful 50/50 partnership between the Department of Languages and Literature at Benedictine University (supported by International Programs and Services) and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in HCMC. USSH is one of the leading research institutions in Vietnam, and part of Vietnam National University. Students in the program graduate with an MA in Linguistics (TESOL) from Benedictine University.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Professors Sandra Kies (MAL Program Director), and Olga Lambert (Department Chair) were unable to travel to Vietnam to take part in orientation and teach face to face. Instruction from Benedictine was therefore delivered via D2L and Zoom and continued online during the fall. In spite of these constraints, there was a robust enrollment of 21 students.
Linguistics, the scientific study of language, is a highly diverse field with many specializations of relevance to today's increasingly globalized educational and business environments. Benedictine's Master of Arts (M.A.) program in Linguistics enables students to develop an in-depth understanding of the nature of human language and how it is used to communicate for different purposes in a variety of social cultural and professional contexts. With the guidance of our internationally experienced faculty, students will receive a thorough grounding in the basics of linguistics as a discipline while pursuing one of two concentrations emphasizing different skills in the application of linguistic theory.
The Literary Studies concentration allows students to pursue advanced coursework and research with special focus on the application of linguistics to literature, either in English or in translation, and global cultural studies. Students will gain a nuanced understanding of the nature of language in literary and related contexts through a specialized study of either critical/global literary theory, stylistics, or literature in a language other than English. This concentration will be of particular interest to those who work in intercultural or multilingual contexts, for example teachers or military personnel. The program is also appropriate for those seeking a linguistics degree combined with study of "critical languages" such as Chinese or Arabic.
The concentration in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) enables students to grasp key concepts in the field of linguistics, gain an understanding of the larger social context in which language is used and studied, and discover how to connect specific practices and issues in language usage and acquisition to professional activities. The TESOL concentration prepares students to teach English as a second or foreign language in the United States or abroad and is especially suitable for applicants with previous teaching experience.
Note: At this time, the MA in Linguistics with TESOL concentration does not satisfy State of Illinois requirements for K-12 ESL certification. Also, this course does not offer a practicum, so it is not suitable for students without previous teaching experience. However, it is suitable for anyone wishing to teach in the higher education sector, or abroad.
Benedictine University has partnered with The University of Humanities and Social Sciences in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to offer the MA in Linguistics (TESOL Concentration) for Vietnamese teachers of English. Further information may be obtained from the Department of Languages and Literature and International Programs and Services (IPS).