The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Undergraduate

Teaching the English Language Arts

Teaching the English Language Arts (TELA)

The TELA specialization is a good fit for any undergraduate student, from any college or major, interested in teaching or tutoring English – whether reading or writing, in middle or secondary schools (public or private), ESL programs here or abroad, community literacy centers, or other sites. It is not an official path to licensure, but for English majors especially, it can help organize the additional coursework needed for the College of Education’s Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP). Students don’t have to be English majors, or pursuing licensure, to complete this specialization.

For students early in their undergraduate careers who are sure about pursuing a Massachusetts license for teaching secondary English, meeting the requirements of the STEP program should be their priority; and they should meet as soon as possible with Janis Greve (jgreve@english.umass.edu) in the English Department Undergraduate Office (South College E345B). The TELA specialization can help with STEP but is not required. It is a good option for students who simply want to learn more about teaching English, who are coming to an interest in teaching late in their undergraduate careers, or who are interested in a wider range of teaching paths than secondary English.

For more information about teaching careers in general, see our Teaching Paths page.

Requirements (5 courses)

Students must complete a minimum of five courses with a minimum grade of C.

  • 2 of the courses should be in teaching, tutoring, or learning English, preferably with attention to literacy learning in diverse contexts (e.g., English 497T Teaching Writing, English 491E Teaching Literature, English 329H Tutoring Writing, English 388 Rhetoric, Writing, & Society, English 391ML Multilingualism and Literacy, Educ 503 Sheltered English Immersion);
     
  • 2 of the courses should be more “content” oriented, i.e., “about” English. For English majors, who already have requirements in British, American, and Anglophone literature, we recommend coursework in language history or theory (e.g., English 412 History of the English Language, Ling 201 Introduction to Linguistic Theory, English 386 Writing and Culture); “other” relevant literatures (e.g., English 317 [Dis]ability and Literature, Educ 693T Adolescent Literature); and/or digital and non-print literacies (e.g., English 391D Writing and Emerging Technologies, English 391GC Video Games and Civic Action);
     
  • students are strongly encouraged to complete a credited internship or practicum providing field experience in teaching English (e.g., English 298H Writing Center).

As many as 2 of the 5 courses can come from outside the English Department.

For questions about this specialization, contact Prof. David Fleming, W351 South College, dfleming@english.umass.edu.