Interview: Dr. Jonathon Reinhardt, Associate Professor and Director, University of Arizona


Dr. Jonathon Reinhardt, Associate Professor and Director of the English Language/Linguistics Program, joins us today to discuss Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

1. Can you tell us about the Masters in TESOL (MATESOL) programs offered at University of Arizona?

Our MA in ESL program is a 30 credit hour (10 course) program with focus on the traditional core of TESOL (Methods, Language, SLA, and Research), as well as on our specialties, namely L2 Writing and Technology. We usually have about 25 students in the program, 1/3 of whom go on to PhDs, often in our university’s PhD in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) program.

2. How long does a typical MATESOL program take at University of Arizona? What is the maximum and minimum time of completion?

For students who receive aid, it takes 4 semesters to complete the program, but those with their own funding can finish it in 3.

3. What do you think makes University of Arizona MATESOL stand out from other similar programs?

Our program is connected to the PhD in SLAT program, so students take several courses with students studying foreign language teaching and applied linguistics. Our program is therefore an excellent program for doctoral studies preparation. We also have a unique, customizable Capstone experience, and we have strong internship programs in our IEP, CESL, and in the community.

4. How important would you say accreditation is when choosing a MATESOL program?

Accreditation can guarantee that the basic minimum is there, and can help programs that are lesser known gain status and recognition.

5. What are the advantages to earning a MATESOL degree in general?

An MATESOL is the key degree for securing gainful TEFL employment outside of the USA, and ESL employment within it, for example, at Intensive English Programs. I used my own MATESOL degree to see the world and build a career, while teaching and working with an incredible variety of people and cultures—something I hadn’t anticipated, but now realize is truly the best part of the profession.

6. Does University of Arizona offer job placement for students who graduate in MATESOL?

We offer workshops and talks focused on employment, and are a small program with accessible faculty who are happy to talk about jobs any time. As part of our program-level assessment, students get one-on-one attention to resume or CV writing and developing a teaching philosophy. In our Capstone experience, students can develop an online teaching portfolio for credit.

7. What type of financial aid packages are available for students in TESOL? Are there any fellowships, grants and scholarships available?

We have a very strong Peace Corps Fellowship program, and we offer Freshman ESL Composition TA-ships to at least half of accepted applicants. We also offer merit-based full and partial scholarships.

8. Do you have any advice for students enrolling in a MATESOL program for the first time?

Reflect frequently and deeply on your experiences as a learner and teacher, and develop empathy. Remember that good teachers make it seem easy, but good teaching doesn’t come easily for anybody.

9. What do you enjoy most about your position at University of Arizona?

I enjoy teaching and research, and being in an environment where the love of teaching and research are cultivated.  

For more information on the MATESOL programs offered at University of Arizona, visit them online.

Thank you Dr. Reinhardt, for sharing and participating in this piece.

That concludes our interview!