The minor in English Language Arts (ELA) combines traditional coursework in literature and writing with pedagogical training in content-specific instruction in order to provide students with a strong foundation for teaching English at the secondary level. For the details of requirements, see the 2015-2016 Catalog Entry for the English Language Arts Minor.
In a competitive job market, dual certification increases the employment prospects available to candidates. Due to budget restraints, many districts are now hiring split positions (e.g. Social Studies/English; Foreign Language/English). Becoming endorsed in a second area allows job candidates to apply to such positions. As English is still one of the most in-demand fields (being required and taught at every level 6-12), ELA is an ideal secondary area of expertise.
The ELA minor will also be attractive to future employers because of the additional expertise it means the candidate will bring to the position. For example, with many districts concerned about the reading and writing scores on standardized tests, administrators will welcome prospective teachers who have training in areas of reading instruction, literacy, and writing across the curriculum. Literature courses will hone universal reading skills which will help students teach fiction as well as non-narrative nonfiction texts in any discipline. Similarly, with the Common Core standards stressing interdisciplinary teaching, a candidate with dual certification will more easily be able to reach these goals.
While the ELA minor is practical, it is also beneficial for the myriad of skills it helps students acquire. The course work offered exposes students to literature from different time periods and cultures, and provides students with concentrated study in texts crafted for youth audiences. By completing an English education methods course, students will also gain expertise in teaching literature and/or writing at the secondary level. This capstone class will provide students with fieldwork experience and will allow them to craft beneficial teaching tools and professional documents.