Wilkes University

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages with Pennsylvania ESL Specialist Letter of Endorsement Option

Dr. Kimberly Niezgoda, Program Coordinator

The Master of Science in Education with a major in Teaching English to speakers of Other Languages will qualify individuals to instruct populations whose first language is not English.

M.S. Program Student Learning Outcomes:

  • SLO1: Students, will demonstrate understanding of the principles of first and second language acquisition, the differences between first and second language acquisition, and the methodologies of second language teaching by writing a comprehensive personal educational philosophy and by creating and designing instructional materials for English Learners (ELs) .
  • SLO2: Students will describe and apply the principles of phonology (the sound system of English), grammar (the morphology and syntax of English) and semantics, pragmatics and discourse (language meaning and language use in context) to the creation of English as a Second Language lesson plans.
  • SLO3: Students will be able to ascertain what L2 learners know and are prepared to do, and demonstrate appropriate (a) interpretation and (b) use of data to support L2 students
  • SLO4: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the influence of current second language trends on learning processes through assessments of (1) reading, (2) writing, (3) listening, and (4) speaking.
  • SLO5: Students will demonstrate the skills necessary to aid in ESL program assessment and development.
  • SLO6: Students will develop the skills necessary to address the educational needs of ELs in their learning process.
  • SLO7: Students will demonstrate leadership skills necessary to educate colleagues and administrators in best practices for effectively teaching and working with EL students.

Program Requirements:

The requirements for this 30-credit degree are:

  • ESL 501* Approaches to Teaching Second Languages (3 credits; prerequisite course)
  • ESL 503* Second Language Assessment (prerequisite course) (3 credits; 15 hours field experience)
    • ESL 501 and 503 are prerequisite courses. They may be taken together or separately in either order, but must be completed prior to enrolling in other ESL courses.
  • ESL 502* Language Concepts for Second Language Learning and Teaching (3 credits)
  • ESL 506* Teaching the Four Skills: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking (3 credits; 15 hours field experience)
  • ESL 508* Second Language Program Development (3 credits; 30 hours Field Experience)
  • ESL 504 Intercultural Communication for Language Teachers (3 credits)
  • ESL 505 Second Language Acquisition (3 credits)
  • ESL 507 Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition (3 credits)
  • ESL 509 Computer-Assisted Language Learning (3 credits)
  • ESL 512 ESL Teaching and Evaluation Theory (3 credits)

(* Required for ESL Specialist Letter of Endorsement)

Certificate Only option (Non degree seeking)
Pennsylvania teachers with an instructional certificate may obtain the ESL Program Specialist designation by completing the first five courses of the master's program, and 60 hours of field experience. Field experiences are structured by the course instructor and allow full time working teachers to easily meet the necessary requirements. All field experiences take place live. ESL Program Specialist certification is not a stand-alone instructional certificate in Pennsylvania, therefore you must have a Bachelor's degree in Education and be a fully certified teacher in the State of PA to obtain this certification. Upon successful completion of the first five courses, whether or not you continue to pursue the master's degree, you may request the specialist designation from the PDE by applying through the TIMS system.

PA ESL Program Specialist Courses - after completing these courses, students possessing Instructional Level 1 or 2 certification may apply for ESL Program specialist certification through the TIMS website.

PA certification and endorsement candidates will be recommended for certification upon successful completion of the required certification coursework, fieldwork, and internship. Candidates must self-register and pass the certification test, if required. Some certifications require verification of experience. In those cases, the candidate will need to have input from their school district verifying that they have satisfactory met professional school experience required. Application for certification and Endorsement is made by the candidate through the PDE Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) found on the PDE portal.



ESL-501. Approaches to Teaching Second Languages

Credits: 3

This course will survey the field of methodology in second language teaching. Students will examine past and present second language learning and teaching experiences in a variety of contexts. The course does not promote any particular approach to second language teaching but rather presents an overview and examples of some approaches in the field of teaching second and foreign languages. Prerequisite course to all other ESL courses

ESL-502. Language Concepts for Second Language Learning and Teaching

Credits: 3

This course introduces some instrumental concepts of linguistics, examining phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and discourse structure, with a focus on their importance to the teaching of foreign or second languages. Students will examine a wide range of concepts and discuss the many different approaches to the study of language, including those which stress the communicative and social aspect.

ESL-503. Second Language Assessment

Credits: 3

This course introduces the key concepts of second language assessment, including validity, reliability; standards based instruction, standardized testing, and second language test design and evaluation. Students will participate in a 15 hour field experience culminating in a comprehensive case student of second language assessment policies. Prerequisite course to all other ESL courses

ESL-504. Intercultural Communication for Language Teachers

Credits: 3

This course examines contemporary theories of language and linguistics as they apply to communication. Students will discuss the theoretical aspects of language and culture; communicative competence, intercultural competence, and intercultural contact; issues of diversity and the impact these have on the language classroom and the language teacher. Emphasis will be placed on language and social interaction and pragmatics.

ESL-505. Second Language

Credits: 3

This course aims to review current topics and research in the field of second language acquisition and to explore relationships between theory and practice. The course covers strategies, and styles of language development and looks at significant linguistic factors that influence the development of language in second language learners. Participants are exposed to the major theoretical issues, the latest areas of research, and the major methodologies in the field.

ESL-506. Teaching the Four Skills: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking

Credits: 3

This course will introduce the most important concepts of teaching English to second language learners and contain assignments to be completed in the field. Participants will examine the teaching of reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, and vocabulary. Additionally, participants will learn how to assess student needs, develop syllabi, design supplemental materials and emerge from the class with an ample number of high quality lesson plans. Students will apply theory by designing practical English as a Second Language lessons.

ESL-507. Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition

Credits: 3

This course examines concepts and issues in the field of sociolinguistics, with the main focus remaining on second language teaching and learning. Topics covered include the sociology of language, the ethnography of communication, pragmatics, and discourse and conversational analysis. Participants will demonstrate their understanding of these issues through discussion, field work exercises, and a final research paper containing a literature review and a design for an action research study that could be conducted in a second language classroom.

ESL-508. Second Language Program Development

Credits: 3

This course will introduce students to the theory and practice required for developing and implementing second language programs. Students will examine language policies and the role of language learning and how it impacts on textbook selection and curricular design. The course provides students the opportunity to explore the intricacies involved in developing and implementing English as a Second Language programs, and raises awareness of the cultural conflicts and biases, both social and linguistic, faced by newcomer, multilingual students. Students will apply their understanding of these issues in field-based assignments and by engaging in a curriculum and assess planning process for a specific context.

ESL-509. Computer Assisted Language Learning

Credits: 3

This course focuses on the theory and practical application of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) in second language teaching. Areas covered in the course include: an analysis of the history of CALL, current approaches used, exposure to various CALL software, and an introduction to on-line language teaching and learning. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the material covered by developing a CALL project for second language learners.

ESL-512. ESL Teaching and Evaluation from Theory to Practice

Credits: 3

This capstone course provides practical field experience in lesson planning, L1/L2 research, administration, evaluation of teaching, curriculum and assessment, and the opportunity to reflect on applying theory to practice in the field of TESL. A culminating portfolio documenting evaluation experiences and demonstration of expertise in the field of TESL will be constructed and submitted as evidence of student mastery of TESOL standards.