FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – EC-6/4-8 BILINGUAL GENERALIST

Q: What are the benefits of becoming a bilingual teacher?

You will be able to teach content in two languages and bring two cultures to your classroom to work with Bilingual Learners. The bilingual teacher is highly needed and career opportunities are in high demand. The bilingual teacher also receives a lucrative stipend (varies in school districts) in addition to the regular base teacher salary.

Q: Who is my advisor in the bilingual program?

You will have one advisor: Your undergraduate academic advisor will help you with the majority of your advising. You can reach out to the bilingual faculty who will assist you in matters related to your bilingual education degree.

Q: How are courses provided?

The courses modalities include face-to-face instruction, experiential learning, hybrid, online, and clinical teaching. 

Q: I speak Spanish, but I do not speak “proper” Spanish. Can I still become a bilingual teacher?

Most native speakers, also called heritage speakers, have excellent fluency and pronunciation. Our bilingual education and Spanish courses are designed to build on your existing oral language skills. When declaring the bilingual major, your undergraduate advisor will review CLEP credit and you will be directed to take the university’s Spanish placement exam.  This exam is the WEBCAPE. 

Q: I do not know how to write well in Spanish, particularly when to write accent marks. Can I still become a bilingual teacher? 

Many native Spanish speakers have well-developed oral language skills but are growing in Spanish literacy skills necessary for becoming a bilingual teacher. This may be the result of receiving all or most of their education in English. Our bilingual education and Spanish courses will help you to develop your literacy skills. 

Q: I am learning Spanish as a second/foreign language, but not a native speaker. Can I become a bilingual teacher?

Definitely. You will take the university placement test, WEBCAPE, to determine which level of Spanish classes you will take. Students are welcome if they can make the Spanish requirement regardless of the nativeness of their language. 

Q: I am bilingual, and I speak English and a language other than Spanish. Can I become a bilingual teacher?  

To serve the population in Texas, the overwhelming majority of bilingual programs in Texas are for Spanish speakers. Therefore, several courses on the degree plan are conducted mostly or completely in Spanish. Currently, the program only offers bilingual education in Spanish. However, students who are interested in working with culturally and linguistically diverse students, it is highly recommended to seek the ESL supplemental certificate.

Q: Should I earn my EC-6 Generalist certification and just add my EC-6 Bilingual certification later? 

If you plan to be a bilingual teacher, the bilingual generalist EC-6 or 4-8 degree is the route toward bilingual certification.

Q: What courses will I need to take? 

The bilingual program provides the course-taking sequence, and students are highly recommended to follow the sequence to develop content and language knowledge in bilingual education. 

Q: How do I track which courses I still need? 

Using your DegreeWorks, you will be able to see which courses you are still missing. DegreeWorks is a web-based tool for students to monitor their academic progress toward degree completion by reviewing a degree audit. When you talk with your undergraduate advisor, you will want to keep in mind which classes are available each semester, so that you take the necessary prerequisite classes needed for future classes. You can click “course history” to track what courses are taken at Texas A&M University-San Antonio as well as transfer courses. 

  1. How do I schedule the placement exam? 

Any student who needs to take the WebCAPE can make an appointment with the Testing Center where the test will be administered. Advisors will also direct the student to contact the Testing Center to set up an appointment. The test will take approximately 15-30 minutes and can be done at the student’s convenience during the Testing Center’s hours of operation and availability. 

  1. Where can I find more information about the university Spanish placement exam? 

Please visit with your advisor of record as well as with Dr. Malena Salazar from the bilingual program.

Q: What certification exams do I need to take? 

You will need to take the following exams, but please see the most updated requirement from Texas Educator Certification Examination Program 

  1. Pedagogy Professional Responsibilities (PPR) (160) 
  2. EC-6 Core Subjects test (291)
  3. Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test (BTLPT) (190) 
  4. Bilingual Supplemental (164)

*Please note, you DO NOT have to have passed the PPR or Core Subjects test prior to taking the BTLPT

Frequently Asked Qs – English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsement

Q: I am monolingual, but I am interested to work with English learners (ELs), what exam I should take? 

You will need to take the ESL Supplemental Exam (ESL-154) additionally on your degree plan. The certification allows you to work with non-English speakers to improve their reading comprehension and speaking of the English language.  

Q: What are the benefits to hold an ESL certificate?

 Many school districts have a high percentage of ELs, and it is essential that teaching staff is equipped to meet the diverse needs of English learners. Elementary teachers who are not bilingually certified but who serve ELs in school districts are required to be ESL certified. In addition, many ELA teachers are required to be ESL certified, too. 

Q: Do I really have to be certified in ESL?

The answer is definitely a YES! For grades Pre K-8, all teachers who serve ELs in a content-based model must be ESL certified.  For an ESL Pull Out model, the ELA or Language Arts teacher must be ESL Certified to meet the linguistic needs of the ELs.  Other teachers may be sheltered instruction trained. In grades 9-12, ELs may be served by ESL certified teachers or sheltered instruction trained teachers.  ESL courses must be taught by teachers who have an English or English Language Arts Certification plus an ESL certification.

Q: What courses do bilingual/ESL program offer to help me to prepare the ESL 154 supplemental state exam. 

The bilingual/ESL program offered three courses to prepare students with knowledge and skills to work with English learners (ELs) in different ESL settings. Students are recommended to take three courses: EDBL 3321 Methods of Teaching Non-English Speaking Child, EDBL 3315 Second Language Acquisition and Literacy, and EDBL 3340 Applied Linguistics. The course of EDBL 3321 is a required course for EC-6, 4-8 and secondary; therefore, students only need to take two additional courses to acquire knowledge, skills, and tips to prepare for the exams.