Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

62A9663 min

*With additional coursework, two dual major options are also available: TESOL and childhood education (grades 1-6) OR TESOL and adolescent education grades 7-12 (subject specific).  

Becoming an ESL teacher offers unique multicultural opportunities. As the number of children and young adults who are English language learners has increased, so has the need for schools to recruit teachers who are qualified to teach English as a second language while navigating the curriculum expectations of our schools.  

In this program, candidates will gain knowledge of the theories, strategies and methodologies in teaching English language learners, acquire awareness and understanding of the socio-cultural and sociolinguistic issues that impact the acquisition of English as an additional language, facilitate the teaching/learning process for students as they develop skills in a new language, as well as navigating the journey of education and college and career readiness within the global context of our communities.  

Students who choose the TESOL program will be qualified to teach English to speakers of other languages at any grade level. Successful completion of the program leads to New York state initial certification in TESOL, pre-k through grade 12.

The increasing demand for ESL teachers has created a multitude of ESL job opportunities in the U.S. and internationally. It is considered one of the fastest growing, teacher shortage areas in the U.S. 

Program Curriculum and Requirements

Sixty credits of general education courses are common to all bachelor's degree programs. These courses are designed to develop the skills - critical thinking, informational literacy, communications, and the ability to work effectively with diverse groups — as well as the ethics and values that will enable students to succeed and make a difference in the lives of others.  

Faculty will assist student in choosing general education courses that link to their field of education and some general education courses satisfy program requirements.

New York state requires that students in teacher preparation programs pursue an academic concentration of study. Education majors take a minimum of 12 courses (36 credit hours) and choose from one the following content areas:

  • English language arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social studies
  • Spanish
  • French

Liberal arts (for B-6, special education & 1-6 and TESOL programs only).  

Education coursework ranges between 36 and 42 credit hours depending on the program:  

  • 36: Early childhood & childhood education (B-6) and childhood and middle childhood (1-9)
  • 39: Special education & childhood (1-6)
  • 42: TESOL programs

These courses are designed to specifically align with the conceptual framework and mission of the College of Education and the approved national standards for each program.

Bachelor degree programs in education total between 120 and 137 credit hours, depending upon the program selected, and are comprised of a combination of general education, academic concentration and professional education courses.

All programs require comprehensive clinical field experience. The opportunity to observe and begin working with qualified teachers on various aspects of the teaching-learning process begins during the freshman year, and is required throughout the program. Field placements are aligned with coursework, include specific assignments and responsibilities, and are completed in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Education Impact Field Experience -  Candidates begin IMPACT placements in area schools as freshmen, minimally 20 hours each semester across five semesters. Transportation is provided to students as needed. And placements are arranged by the university in accordance with education/professional coursework and the area(s) of certification. Candidates are expected to complete all required field experience to be eligible for their teaching assistantship, establishing a comprehensive clinical experience.  
  • Phase 2:  Teaching Assistantship -  Aligned with the methods (400-level pedagogy) courses, candidates complete two placements resulting in a minimum of 60 hours in a classroom. Candidates in this phase are expected to continue to develop the competencies set forth by the program standards and to have experiences with various methodological approaches as relate to actual classroom practice and address student learning across content field and grade-level curriculum expectations.  
  • Phase 3:  Student Teaching -  Student Teaching is a culminating experience that is required of all candidates for completion of the program and teacher certification. Students will spend a total of 14 weeks student teaching (two full-time seven-week placements, one in each area of certification). The Student Teaching Handbook outlines all candidate expectations, which include planning, teaching and assessing instructional units, aligned to the curriculum and addressing student needs.

The academic concentration, in combination with general education coursework in liberal arts and sciences, ensures that students gain extensive knowledge of their subject matter. The Common Core standards and New York state learning standards are integrated into required coursework throughout the program and serve as the basis of performance assessment requirements.  

A focus on literacy and teaching students with diverse learning needs is embedded in coursework that is required of all education majors. Comprehensive field experiences begin in the first semester of study and continue each semester of the program, leading to a teaching assistantship and comprehensive student teaching experience.  

All programs include experience with English language learners and students receiving special education services, as well as a range of placements across various types of school districts.