Schools across the nation, including North Dakota, are experiencing an increase in the number of linguistically diverse students. In North Dakota, English Language Learners (ELLs) represent over 106 language groups. Sixty-four percent of ELLs speak one of the following languages: Spanish, Ojibwa, Dakota, Siouan, and Somali. The other 36% of ELLs represent the remaining 101 languages (ND Department of Public Instruction, 2012). Students limited in English language proficiency account for over 5% of the total school enrollment (ND Department of Public Instruction, 2013).
Federal and State legislations require school districts to provide language support and ELL programs to assist students who lack English language proficiency (ND Department of Public Instruction, 2012). The increasing number of English language learners poses new challenges for school districts, predominantly rural regions. Teachers that serve ELL students require an ELL endorsement. The ELL endorsement is also an ideal preparation for those wishing to teach English language arts overseas, and provides valuable experience in language acquisition.
All coursework leading to both the Endorsement and the Minor in ELL is offered online from VCSU.
The coursework requires a 60-hour ELL practicum where the student will observe, teach, and assess ELL students under the supervision of an endorsed ELL teacher. This allows pre-service teachers the opportunity to actively work with the populations that they will teach, and often the pre-service teachers are hired by the same school systems in which they perform their ELL practicum.