Jun 24, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Teaching Social Studies/History to English Language Learners (Graduate Certificate)

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As English language learners (ELLs) increase their ability to understand and communicate in English, they also face the significant challenge of learning the academic discourse of history. In Massachusetts, ELLs also have the highest withdrawal rates. The efforts to increase learning opportunities for ELLs places increased demands on social studies/history teachers and highlights the necessity of helping students develop mastery of both language and content. In response, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is requiring teachers of ELLs to receive a special license by 2016. Known as the Endorsement in Sheltered English Instruction (SEI), the license must be achieved through completion of a course entitled Rethinking Equity and Teaching for ELLs (RETELL).

The UMass Boston Certificate in the Teaching of Social Studies/History to English Language Learners builds upon this basic RETELL preparation by developing advanced instructional skills for in-service, practicing teachers. The certificate provides teachers with strategies to increase ELL students’ knowledge of academic English and to improve their social studies/history achievement. It includes courses in three fields: history, curriculum and instruction, and applied linguistics. It focuses on the teaching of social studies/history in SEI settings. Topics relate social studies/history instruction and learning to evaluation and assessment, multicultural education, second-language teaching methodology, first-language maintenance, and applied linguistics. It is open to all English-as-a-second-language; early childhood; and elementary, middle, and secondary teachers of social studies/history.

Required Courses

Required courses are listed below.

Alternate courses can be taken with the approval of an advisor.

Some certificate coursework may also be applied to a master’s degree.

RETELL and SEI Endorsement

All PK-12 teachers of social studies/history are required to complete the SEI endorsement by 2016. To receive the SEI endorsement, teachers take the RETELL course through their district. Since RETELL is a vital component of each teacher’s preparation for ELL education, it is required in order to receive the certificate. Teachers who qualify for a waiver of RETELL according to DESE regulations (e.g., ESL licensure) do not have to take RETELL to receive the certificate.

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