Linguistics: more than I bargained for

TyYonna Kitchen, Copy Desk Cheif & Opinion Editor

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Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) program students and linguistics minoring students should be able to take fewer intertwined class. The goal for CWU should be to give both groups enough course substitutes for the groups to take classes that benefit them and their future careers.

When looking at the program requirements for the linguistics minor, according CWU, there are 25 required credits and 15 of those credits coincide with TESOL. However, as a soon to be graduate of the aforementioned minor, I can tell you that every single one of my linguistics courses has been alongside the TESOL students with the exception of one four credit anthropology course.

For linguistics students who want to teach or TESOL students who are linguisticly inclined, these programs matching up does not matter much. But it feels as though the program wastes time when a student only wants a certain side of either program. A linguistics minor may only want to study phonology simply because it’s interesting to them, not because they want to study possible errors in the speech of learners.

As a linguistics minor, I’ve had to take teaching specific courses for the program’s electives despite the fact that I do not want to teach. Though it is nice to meet the graduate students that are in the program, it would be nice to learn in courses that aren’t so teaching specific. I personally don’t care about how someone else learns usually, because I have no interest in teaching them.

Undergraduate students also have to deal with measuring up to graduate students in some courses. A professor may not feel the need to create separate course work for the two groups, resulting in a separation in points instead. Take this for example: the students are taking the same exact quiz, but one part of the exam is worth 50 points for an undergrad and 25 for a grad student. So, rather than giving the undergrads less work, they are given more wiggle room. This is by no means bad, but it is stressful. This added to the fact that an undergraduate may not want to teach at all makes the class feel harder than wanted. A student suddenly feels like the minor is not worth the trouble, no matter how much they like the material.

This issue of courses being copied or over shared across programs is not a new one. The course recycling also affected my decision to come to CWU for a master’s degree. The CWU Professional and Creative Writing programs for both undergraduates and graduates are eerily similar. The only difference is the class level and a few new courses. 

If a student coming from a different undergraduate program sees the graduate writing program requirements, they will probably be fine with it. However, right after completing the undergraduate program, who wants to take the slightly harder versions of the same courses? Students move on to graduate programs to learn more and to grow in their crafts. Taking new (not just revamped) classes would make this easier.

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