Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Bachelor of Arts

Overview of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Program

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program teaches knowledge of the theories, strategies and methodologies in teaching English language learners.

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.

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.

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.

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Why Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at NU?

Academic Concentrations

Students can choose from one of five concentrations areas: English Language Arts, Liberal Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Spanish and French.

Field Experience

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.

High Demand

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.

Comprehensive Field Experience

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. 
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"Niagara truly understands the diverse care er field of accounting. Faculty help students see paths beyond the traditional CPA route, and advise them on which ones may suit them best. I took electives in data analytics, which led me to a career in fraud detection and deterrence."​
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Auditor/Investigator NYS Office of the Attorney General​


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Faculty & Staff


Paula Prohaska

Paula Prohaska
Intake Coordinator

Dr. Michelle R.


Associate Professor

Phone: 716.286.8184



Dr. Elizabeth A.


Assistant Professor

Phone: 716.286.8310



Dr. Karen


Assistant Professor

Phone: 716.286.8558



Dr. Caitlin E.


Assistant Professor

Phone: 716.286.8315



Dr. Thomas J.



Phone: 716.286.8552



Dr. Sylvia


Associate Professor

Phone: 716.286.7387



Dr. Susan J.


Assistant Professor

Phone: 716.286.8259