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Effective communication, language learning, language teaching and the interaction of language and culture are especially appropriate topics of study for Earlham students interested in fostering understanding among people throughout the world.
Earlham is an ideal place for students to prepare themselves for possible careers in language-related fields. Earlham's commitment to international education, its wide-ranging study-abroad programs and its cross-cultural orientation make it a special place to bring together the study of language, cultural understanding, language learning and teaching.
The Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Program provides a coherent framework for studying languages and learning about them. Students are introduced to the fields of linguistics, sociolinguistics and applied linguistics where they explore how languages have developed, how they are structured, and how they are used in real-life situations. Students also investigate how learners learn first and second languages, and study principles of language teaching in different cultural and societal contexts, both from a historical perspective and in terms of current practices. Students learn to develop teaching materials and work in community-based English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. They also have the opportunity to assist the language instructors in the classroom or tutor beginning language learners through Earlham's Academic Enrichment Center. With this program, students can combine their experiences in studying abroad and in speaking a second language with their interests in linguistics and the study of language learning and teaching.
TESOL students have pursued a variety of interests after graduation. Many who have participated in study-abroad programs in Germany, Austria, Japan, Mexico, Spain or Colombia, for example, return to those countries to teach English as a second language. Others participate in Earlham's Teaching English in Japan program for college graduates, a two-year experience of living and working in Iwate and Tochigi Prefectures. Some go on to obtain a teaching certificate and pursue the teaching of languages within the United States, either as ESL or as French, German, Japanese or Spanish teachers. Still others continue their study of language in graduate school, either in the field of TESOL or linguistics.