The Language of Learning: English Second Other Language Specialization

As the most recent U.S. Census demonstrated, America’s cities continue to be a vibrant blend of many cultures. This diversity is also reflected in the classroom, where teachers face myriad challenges and opportunities when educating a diverse population. Educators in the K12 realm find that today’s school districts are multifaceted, with a growing number of bilingual students, or students who speak little to no English when they enter the school system.

These school systems are confronted with the need to tailor teaching and assessment methods to best serve nontraditional students. To meet the growing demand for this expertise within school districts, Northcentral University offers a Doctor of Education degree in a 100-percent-online format. One area of specialization within the degree is the English Second Other Language program.

"In our world today, we’re an even bigger melting pot than we used to be,” said Dennis Lessard, PhD and Dean of Northcentral University’s School of Education. "For example, some members of the population don’t have English-language proficiencies, so it puts different criteria on the school systems to facilitate learning with those mixed backgrounds and languages in the classroom. Our programs give teachers the background in culture and language to present materials in a visual way or through a different delivery method to help students understand the outcomes and be able to learn.”

Northcentral University’s Doctor of Education English Second Other Language Specialization helps Students build successful programs that enhance their students’ grasp of the English language. Courses such as Bilingual Instruction Methods and Evaluation of Diverse Students provide a framework of instruction for students whose primary language is one other than English. Students are instructed on ways to design courses with multilingual materials and/or to use innovative assessment methods. Age-appropriate development materials that are culturally relevant for families and practitioners while remaining consistent with recommended practices in the field of K12 education are also explored.

Because an appreciation of diversity is also essential in the workplace, this specialization helps Students create effective professional relationships as well. Through their coursework, Students foster skills and attitudes to thrive in a culturally diverse atmosphere and select one culture for an in-depth study project. Upon graduation, Students are fully prepared to instruct students who are growing up in a bilingual world; so whether a student says "school,” "escuela” or "ecole,” it always translates to cultural competence and mutual respect.

For more information about Northcentral University’s English Second Other Language Specialization or the School of Education, visit