There are more than seven billion people on Earth, and six billion of them don’t speak English, though a fair proportion of the remaining six billion would like to learn English or another language. Many potential language students opt into language learning as a result of sociopolitical and economic environments that require their developing academic or entrepreneurial skill in an additional language. Currently, English is the lingua franca used for global communication and business.
Most language education programs, particularly those that teach English, are founded in settings that almost exclusively gear toward privileged classes. In other words, approaches to language education cater to wealthier populations even though the majority of prospective learners actually come from less affluent communities. Indeed, most language learners in the world do not have programs geared to their own contexts.
The M.S. in Foreign Language Education: Teaching in Challenging Contexts Track (TiCC) is designed as a response to the different contextual challenges that less affluent learners, teachers, and teacher educators face every day.
The term challenging contexts not only refers to teaching in economically disadvantaged domestic and international environments, but also refers to teaching with limited and inconsistent technology and remote access. As such, the TiCC track is the only master’s degree-level Foreign Language Education track in the world with this focus.
This program is geared toward access to sound language experience and broadening students’ options with respect to careers and educational opportunities. However, this track also engages in expressions of Responsible ESL which rejects traditions of colonialist orientations and fosters the means of adding on English while promoting traditions and languages of all students rather than engaging in practice that diminishes them.
This program is designed to cater to students who desire to teach in diverse and non-traditional contexts all around the world. The program is geared to those wishing to join international development organizations such as Peace Corps, UNICEF, the International Rescue Committee, the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, organizations supporting indigenous education, and numerous NGOs. In addition, given the heavy emphasis on linguistic diversity and cross-cultural engagement within the track, this program should be attractive to students who simply wish to teach in a variety of settings.
Almost every online TESOL master’s program in the United States, and worldwide, is an electronic version of an already-established TESOL program. These programs cater to either pre-service teachers who desire a career in a traditional primary or secondary school, or prospective teachers wishing to teach at the college level in the U.S. The TiCC program serves a need offered by few master’s programs: one that serves economically disadvantaged communities, including displaced individuals and families anywhere in the world.
Recently, within the U.S., numerous English language institutes have closed. Additionally, language policies have reduced the hiring of TESOL-trained individuals, not only in Florida but nationwide.
However, the need for trained TESOL professionals is growing globally. TESOL is as relevant as it has ever been, but it is relevant in new ways. This track proposal is a response to ever-changing and dynamic needs of diverse and challenging global teaching environments.
International Rescue Committee
United Nations High Commission on Refugees
Non-traditional Career Paths
International Project Coordinator
$32,000 - $96,000
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Degree Program Hours: (30)
The TiCC track entails the passing of 10 courses, each worth 3 graduate credits.
Foreign Language Teaching Methods (FLE 6336)* - Investigation of modern techniques for the teaching of oral and written communication in English to non-native speakers of English.
Developing Language and Literacy (TSL 5245)* – Examination of how linguistic theories are applied for the development of language and literacy in new language learners.
Cross-cultural Studies (EDG 5707)* - Discussions of theories of ethnicity, acculturation, intercultural communication, displacement, and teaching strategies for multicultural classrooms.
Curriculum Development (TSL 5142)* - Description, analysis, planning, design, and teaching of content and regularly occurring subject areas in multilingual settings, as well as English as a medium of instruction.
Foreign Language Assessment (FLE 6938)* - Advanced study and research on current issues in the field of foreign language testing, including principles and practices of in-class testing, communicative language test development, criteria for evaluating testing instruments, study of standardized tests, and production of authentic assessment materials.
Troublesome English (TSL 6350) - Course designed to enhance an English teacher's ability to understand and explain the operation of English grammar and pronunciation using an inductive approaches of exploration and discovery.
Teaching in Difficult and Remote Circumstances - Inquiry into face-to-face and remote modalities for teaching foreign language, including English to non-native speakers, with particular concentration on contexts of displacement, poverty, illness, and war.
Bilingualism and Multilingualism in Language Education (TSL 5806) – Examination of foundations of bilingualism and how such may support broader contextualized language learning through inquiries into dual language development in both everyday and academic settings, as well as policy that both fortify and conflict with those settings.
Love and Language (TSL 5253) – Exploration of peace-based education, namely how emotions are linguistically and socio-culturally shaped, how emotions are expressed across languages and cultures, and how these expressions affect inter- and intracultural relationships within and outside of the language classroom.
Field Component (TSL 6908) – Capstone opportunity for students to carry out a variety of projects designed to develop critical reflection about teaching beliefs and practices in an actual classroom environment.
*For those interested in achieving ESOL Certification in the State of Florida, these course should assist students in the passing of the state ESOL certification exam, a prerequisite toward applying for state certification.
- Online master's programs application ($30).
- Official transcripts -- All applicants must submit official transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities. Transcripts must be submitted in sealed envelopes directly from the respective institutions. A four-year bachelor degree from an accredited institution as well as a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 is required.
- Proof of Degree -- Submit official proof of degree: a notarized copy of the original diploma is required if the degree is not posted on the official transcripts.
- Recommendation letters -- Submit two letters of recommendation to support the application
- A statement of intent describing the applicant’s personal and professional goals in relation to (a) how the program will help the applicant reach these goals and (b) how the applicant’s goals are consistent with the program’s mission.
- A current resume/curriculum vitae that includes, at a minimum, educational history (with relevant courses listed), employment background, and relevant/related experiences.
Only those applicants who have submitted complete application packets will be considered. Meeting the minimum requirements is not a guarantee of admissions.
Proof of English Language Proficiency. If you earned a bachelor's degree in a country whose official language is not English, you must demonstrate English language proficiency by earning a passing score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). TOEFL required minimum score: 550 (paper-based exam) or 80 (internet-based). IELTS required minimum score: 6.5. When requesting official scores, please refer to FIU Institution code 5206. TOEFL / IELTS scores are valid for two years. View list of TOEFL/IELTS-exempt countries.
Graduate programs can use the Duolingo English Test for the entering graduate classes through Fall 2023.
Please visit Duolingo English Test for more information about how to register for the exam.
FIU Minimum Duolingo English Test Score: 105
Course by Course Evaluation. If your post-secondary educational history includes coursework outside the United States, you must submit a course-by-course credential translation and evaluation, with grade point average (GPA) calculation included, for all non-U.S. coursework. This should be submitted to:
FIU Graduate Admissions
Modesto A. Maidique Campus, BT 201
11200 S.W. 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
FIU accepts evaluations/translations from any NACES member evaluation services, below are a few FIU recommends:
Josef Silny & Associates, Inc., International Education Consultants
7101 SW 102 Avenue
Miami, FL 33173
Phone: 305-273-1616 | Fax 305-273-1338
www.jsilny.org | email@example.com
Visit the Josef Silny & Associates FIU Form for details
World Education Services
PO Box 745
New York, NY 10113-0745
www.wes.org | firstname.lastname@example.org
Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
PO Box 514070
Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470
414-289-3400 | www.ece.org
Note to international students: I-20s or F-1 transfers will not be issued since it is an online program.
Effective January 15, 2023 for Graduate applicants: If your post-secondary educational history includes coursework outside the United States, you must submit a course-by-course credential translation and evaluation, with grade point average (GPA) calculation included, for all non-U.S. coursework. FIU accepts evaluations/translations from any NACES member evaluation service. Please visit the NACES website here: NACES | Credentials Evaluations Provided by NACES Members
Tuition and Aid
Pursuing your graduate degree is one of the best investments you can make – one that will open doors to personal and professional opportunities. Our tuition costs represent some of the best value in higher education, and we also offer financial aid support to help you reach your goals.
The total cost of the online MS in Foreign Language Education: Teaching in Challenging Contexts is $17,700. Students pay for courses at the beginning of each semester. All fees are subject to change.
Eric Dwyer, Associate Professor Teaching and Learning
Eric Dwyer is a general practitioner with respect to sharing and discussing foreign language education techniques. He has presented in more than 20 countries regarding various issues. He conducts workshops, presentations and research with the following tenets in mind:
- Creativity of both student and teacher
- Art, music and physical movement promoting literacy
- Community-based construction of philosophies
- Students as a collective often smarter than teacher
- Reflection and revision
- Culture of student first and then the culture of target language
- Global perspective, but respect for home culture and first language
- Intrinsic motivation, exhilaration, dynamism, risk-taking
- Student-generated discovery and evaluation
- Language Policy
Eric Dwyer holds a PhD and Master's degree in Foreign Language Education from the University of Texas, as well as a Bachelor's degree in Spanish from Utah State University.
Teresa Lucas, Teaching Professor Teaching and Learning
Teresa Lucas has served as president of Miami-Dade TESOL and of the United Faculty of Florida-FIU Chapter.
College of Education Merit Award (2016), College of Education Merit Award (2015), National Education Association Fellowship to complete the NEA Higher Education Emerging Leaders Academy, (June 2012 _ March 2013), College of Education Merit Award Bonus for Excellence in Teaching (2011)
- Incorporating Habits of Mind in courses
- Developing trust among students
- Corporatization of public education
Teresa Lucas holds a Ph.D. from FSU in Multilingual/Multicultural Education, and an M.S. in TESOL from the University of Illinois.
Aixa Pérez-Prado, Associate Teaching Professor Teaching and Learning
Aixa Perez-Prado has been teaching at FIU since 1997 in the area of TESOL. Her background experiences include teaching English overseas in Costa Rica and Morocco and supervising and coordinating language and teaching programs in both countries. She is currently the ESOL Coordinator in the College of Education and her duties include faculty development and work with the Office of Academic Affairs towards accreditation. She is a global learning faculty member at FIU and has an interest in incorporating new technologies into the classroom that are interactive and that offer students access to the global community of learners.
- Thought and gender relationships
- Language and power
- Integrating the arts into education
- Virtual reality and learning
- Communication across cultures
- PhD (1996) Florida State University, Social Science and Education
- MA (1986) Monterey Institute of International Studies, TESOL
- BA (1985) State University of New York at Buffalo, English
Ryan Pontier, Assistant Professor Teaching and Learning
Ryan Pontier is an assistant professor of bilingual education and TESOL at Florida International University. He serves as an expert in bilingualism and bilingual education for the United Way of Miami Center for Excellence in Early Education, immediate past president of Miami-Dade TESOL and Bilingual Education Association, member-at-large for Sunshine State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), co-chair of the Advocacy Committee for the Florida Association for Bilingual Education (FABE), co-chair for the Research and Evaluation Special Interest Group within the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), co-moderator of the Sunshine State TESOL advocacy group, Chair of the Early Childhood Bilingual Education Council for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Florida, and co-chair of the Government & Media Relations Committee for LULAC Florida.
He recently won a Spencer Foundation Conference Grant to realize the Inaugural Conference on Emerging Hispanic-Serving School Districts, which will serve as an opportunity to bring together a diverse group of school-based professionals. Dr. Pontier began his education career with Teach For America in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where he taught third grade in Spanish at a dual-language elementary school one mile from the Rio Grande.
- Translanguaging; Teachers' Instructional Practices; Emergent Bilingualism; Teacher Education; Language Ideologies
- PhD, Language and Literacy Learning in Multilingual Settings, University of Miami
- MS, Teaching & Learning, University of Miami
- BA, Hispanic Studies, Boston College
View our Info Session
Learn more about the details of our program by listening in to our information session.
30 Credits Required
$17,700.00 Tuition Cost
No GRE requirement
Courses assist in achieving ESOL Certification