Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Bilingual/Bicultural Education Program? Is it the right program for me?
The Program in Bilingual/Bicultural Education focuses on the study of multilingualism in-education while privileging the education of minority language within the United States and the world. We acknowledge other aspects of the phenomenon of multilingualism in-education, such as the spread of world languages (English, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Arab), but that is not our emphasis. We emphasize the use of more than one language in the instruction of bilingual learners within public schools and our location, one the most multilingual, multicultural cities of world, permits the student to explore a variety of school settings. We also privilege enrichment programs that bring together language minority and majority students in bilingual settings.
This program IS for you, if you want to:
- become a bilingual teacher working in a public school in NYS that deal with minority language backgrounds (elementary school children).
- work in a bilingual setting such as in a dual language education program, a transitional bilingual education and/or heritage or second language education program. (See explanation of these programs in Question #2)
This is NOT the program for you if you:
- are aiming at teaching adults. We encourage you to continue to search in our catalogue and to read below how you can combine other programs with the Advanced Certificate in Bilingual/Bicultural Education.
- In the previous question you mentioned the types of programs that the Program works with, can you explain them?
- Dual Language Education school programs are those that allocate the language of instruction in an either 90/10 or 50/50 model. The 90/10 model uses 90% language other than the dominant language (within the United States it is a language other than English) and 10% in the dominant language (within the U.S., in English) for the first few years and then move to a 50/50 allocation of languages, The 50/50 model is one that allocates language equally from early elementary through higher grades. The aim is to develop bilingualism among language minority and majority participants.
- Transitional Bilingual Education Programs use the child’s native language in order to transition students into the mainstream language (in the U.S., English). The native language is used as a medium of instruction to support the second language learning until the student can to transition into an all-mainstream language classroom situation. The aim is not to develop bilingualism.
- Heritage language program is a program, usually in after-school setting or Saturday school setting, aims to teach a family language as a way to strengthen cultural identity among minority language speaker. Examples: Korean family wants their children to learn Korean. The aim is bilingualism.
- Second language enrichment programs are programs that aim to teach a minority language to language majority student. It teaches the language and a course in the language. The aim is bilingualism.
There are other programs that promote multilingualism, such as language awareness programs that do not aim to develop bilingualism per se but aim to develop awareness of many languages with which our students often work.
- Why ought I consider this program over TESOL? What is the difference between BBE and the Teaching of Second languages?Much depends on your career goals. TESOL is about teaching English using English as a medium of instruction (http://www.tc.columbia.edu/academic/tesol/), whereas BBE develops understanding and working knowledge for education in more than one language and privileges programs that aim to preserve, develop, and promote minority languages whether this is a 1st or 2nd language for minority or majority student groups. Overall, it is designed to make people bilingual. In the BBE program you can also pursue course of studies that emphasize policy or research in multilingualism in education with an emphasis on minority languages.
- Where can the BBE program graduates most likely expect to work?
Again, much depends on your choice of strands within the program. Students who select the course of study offered by our program will be prepared to work in schools, community organizations, and international agencies as teachers, specialists, consultants, curriculum designers, and evaluators. Students may also pursue an interest in policy and research and/or continue further studies.
If you are a US citizen or permanent resident and:
1. have chosen the teaching strand and pass all the necessary NY State requirements, such as placements and exams, you can work as a teacher in bilingual schools in NY or in any other state with which NYS has a reciprocity agreement
2. have not chosen to pursue a teaching strand that leads to NY State certification or do not take exams nor the certified programs, you can use your TC degree to work in an independent (private) school. You can also work as a bilingual evaluator or as a bilingual administrator.
If you have chosen the teaching strand and are an international student on a student visa:
It is very unlikely that you can work in the US (for details, go to the OIS website, Teacher Certification office, and Immigration websites). You may want to consult with your country to see what the requirement for certification may be and inform your advisor of your findings when you develop the course of study you will pursue. Some countries do accept foreign teacher certification. You might also consult bilingual requirements for other employment opportunities within your country and raise questions about these possibilities in the admissions process.
- I'm interested in studying Bilingual/Bicultural Education at Teachers College. What are my choices?
The Program in BBE is flexible, but the teaching strand has many restrictions. We encourage each student to plan an appropriate course of study, as much will depend on the students’ prior experiences and in their future career goals. Within, we will discuss the non-teaching strand first and this will be followed by the different teaching options. Read each section carefully.
- M.A. in Bilingual/Bicultural Studies:
If you want to study bilingual/bicultural education but are not interested in teacher certification, we have an M.A. in Bilingual/Bicultural Studies program that gives you flexibility to pursue a policy, research or teaching strand. The program is fully registered in the New York State Education Department. It will be useful if you're interested in policy study, research, or if you're an international student, who is not interested in classroom teaching. The teaching strand within this program does not lead to NY State certification. For further information, continue to Question s18-20.
- M.A. in Bilingual/Bicultural Education leading toward NY State teacher certification
If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, there are three options that lead to a Masters of Arts that distinguish between your prior experience and your career goals:
- If you do not have any teacher certification and you want to teach in elementary school, you follow the M.A. Program in Bilingual/Bicultural Childhood Education (Dual). This program aims to prepare educators to work in bilingual settings that privilege the education of language minority students and meets the course of study leading to NY State certification in Childhood Education (1-6 grades) with a Bilingual Education extension. It is possible to extend the dual certification so that it includes a Middle Childhood Education certification (7-9 grades) to this degree. Please discuss this possibility with your advisor, if you’re interested. Within this program there are two streams.
- a. is for students without prior experience in education and is 40 points.
b. is for students who have student taught, have taught full-time for a minimum of one year or are presently teaching and is 33 points.
- If you do not have any teacher certification, but you're
part of Peace Corps and want to teach in elementary school, you follow
the M.A. Program in Bilingual/Bicultural Childhood Education
(Transitional B). Only students approved by Peace Corps are eligible for
this degree. It requires a special intensive 200-hour pre-component in
the summer and mentoring throughout the year. This program can also lead
to NY State dual certification in Childhood Education (1-6 grades) with
a Bilingual Education extension. It is also possible to take courses
that will lead to a Middle Childhood Education certification (7-9
grades) to this course of study. It is 33 points.
- If you have teacher certification in any area, you follow
the M.A. Program in Bilingual/Bicultural Education (Second Initial).
This program leads to NY State professional certification in the area in
which you hold certification and, in addition, gives you Bilingual
certification. It is also possible to add a Middle Childhood Education
certification (7-9 grades) if your teaching certificate is in elementary
or secondary education. It is 33 points.
- Advanced Certificate in Bilingual/Bicultural Education leading to certification
If you are pursuing New York State teacher certification in another area or you already hold New York State teacher certification and would like to obtain a Bilingual Extension Certification, we have offer a course of study that meets the NY State requirements that is 15 points. If you have a Bachelors' degree and are currently teaching but not interested in an MA, you can take courses that will make you eligible for a NY State bilingual extension.
Specialization in Bilingual Education
It is also possible to obtain Bilingual/Bicultural Studies specialization/emphasis with any degree offered at Teachers College. The emphasis for M.A. students is 12 points. If you're interested in obtaining teacher certification extension in bilingual education, then you must take the 15 credits of the advanced certificate in bilingual education.
- What does initial New York State certification mean? Is this the same as a certificate?New York State gives initial and professional teacher certification. This is a State control mechanism that indicates that the individual has met all the requirements it deems appropriate for work as a teacher in the public schools of the State. After you graduate you will get an initial certification. If you already hold the initial certificate, but have not taught for two years, you may apply for an extension. After teaching for two years, those with initial certification will be eligible to apply for professional certification.
A certificate means that you have attended a course, a set of courses, or a conference. It is acknowledgement of attendance and completion but does not lead to NY State Certification.
- What else do I need in order to get New York State teacher certification? What are the exams that I need to take to get NYS certification?
When you complete our M.A. programs leading to New York State teacher certification you will have met all the academic requirements. The other State requirements include:
- passing the New York State Teacher Certification Examination (NYSTCE). The NYSTCE has three parts: the Liberal Arts and Science Test (LAST), the Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written (ATS-W) and the Content Specialty Test (CST). To obtain initial teacher certification, you must have graduated from our programs and passed the LAST, the ATS-W and the CST. (See Questions 9 & 10)
- passing the Bilingual Education Assessment (BEA) for the bilingual extension,
- obtaining a certificate of completion of a Child Abuse Seminar and the Violence Prevention Seminar (See Question 12), and
- filling out the application for certification (Question 11)
- When and where do I find out about the exams and when can I take them?The NYSTCE are given four times a year. We recommend that you take the LAST as soon as you enter, and the ATS-W, CST and the Bilingual Education Assessment (BEA) during the second year. For more information, visit the Office of Teacher Education and School-based Support Services in 400 Russell Hall or visit their web site at www.tc.edu/ote.
- I understand that I have to take Health Education to be certified in NYS, but I do not know how to go about it. Can you tell me how to meet this requirement?It is possible to take the Child Abuse Seminar and the Violence Prevention Seminar online. Visit the Office of Teacher Education and School-based Support Services located in 400 Russell Hall, call them at (212) 678 3502, or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.