Department of Biobehavioral Sciences | Teachers College Columbia University

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Department of Biobehavioral Sciences

Bilingual/Bicultural Program Focus, MS Program in Speech and Language Pathology

All students in the masters program in speech-language pathology at Teachers College have significant opportunities to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to work with multicultural populations. The faculty has extensive experience and knowledge in bilingual and multicultural matters and incorporates this knowledge into the courses. As a result, all students who graduate from the program have significant exposure to the issues related to providing appropriate speech-language services to multicultural populations.

Those students who wish to have a more in-depth experience can choose to pursue the bilingual/bicultural program focus. This program focus is available for students who are interested in focusing on developing knowledge and skills to provide quality services to non-native speakers of General American English and to English Language Learners. For those students who are bilingual and follow this program, they meet the academic and field placement coursework requirements for the New York State Education Department bilingual extension certificate. Under New York State Education Department regulations, the bilingual extension certificate is required to provide speech and language intervention to bilingual children and adolescents ages 3 through 21. Because the information is integrated into the required coursework for the master's of science program in speech-language pathology, students only need to take one additional three-credit course to meet the requirements of bilingual/bicultural program focus, and of the NYS Education Department bilingual extension certificate.

Bilingual Extension Institute

In the Bilingual Extension Institute for non-matriculated bilingual Speech and Language Pathologists, students generally have a master’s degree in speech language pathology from another university but come to Teachers College to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to work with bilingual children and adolescents. The Institute is registered with the NYSED and leads to a bilingual extension certificate to the Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities. Of the 300 plus students who have successfully completed the Institute, approximately 80 percent, or over 240 are bilingual in Spanish and English and about 75% of those students are Latinos/as.

Bolivia Trip for emerging bilingual Speech and Language Pathologists (SLPs)

Every summer, 15 to 20 students in the program make a service-learning trip to Bolivia to gain cross-cultural and bilingual skills. During the summer 2008 trip, 18 students and three supervisors--all Latina licensed SLPs from NYS (one from Uruguay, one from Spain, and one from Puerto Rico) participated. Of the 18 TC SLP students there were 7 Latinos/as including 4 from Puerto Rico, 2 from the Dominican Republic, and one from Honduras. In addition, 4 students were at the advanced level of Spanish. All students were offered 5 days of intensive Spanish--four hours a day in classes of two or three--before we had our placements. All but the native Spanish speakers participated.