English as a Second Language

Program Overview

The purpose of the ESL program (License #395) in the state of Wisconsin is to assist school districts serving students who are English language learners (ELLs) to become proficient in academic English and prepared for their continuing education, and career readiness goals.  The Praxis Subject Assessment test #5362, English to Speakers of Other Languages, must be passed prior to TCHG 7880 ESL Practicum course and a final licensure portfolio is required prior to being recommended for licensure.  

Textbooks and materials

This program requires students to purchase their own books prior to the start of class.  Textbook costs are not included in tuition and fees.

Core courses

  • TEACHING 7000 - Research Procedures (3 cr)
    Definition of problems and issues, critical examination of the research literature, review of trends in curricula and methods, and planning of investigations including historical, descriptive (including ethnographic), and experimental.
  • TEACHING 7650 - Issues in ELL Education (3 cr)
    This course address the social, political, and cultural context in which language learning takes place and examines those issues that are relevant in language acquisition.  Themes, such as immigration and diversity in the United States, language policies, history of bilingual education, the English-only movement, and English language learners and disability will be analyzed in this course.
  • TEACHING 7660 - Methods and Assessment of Teaching English Language Learners (3 cr)
    This course is designed to examine methods and assessment of teaching English language learners. The course stresses a comprehensive understanding of the history of first and second language teaching methods from the past to the present, including knowledge of the traditional, contemporary, and innovative methods and approaches in the teaching English language learners. Practical pedagogical principles of teaching English to speakers of other languages with regard to language skills, language system, and related assessment and cultural implications are included.
  • TEACHING 7670 - Second Language Acquisition in K-12 Classrooms (3 cr)
    This course examines theories of second language acquisition, and practical application of theories to second language teaching and learning. The course provides a comprehensive interdisciplinary survey of theory and practice through the application of research in linguistics, psychology, education, and sociology into second language acquisition.
  • TEACHING 7690 - Linguistics for Teachers of English Language Learners (3 cr)
    This course is designed to introduce the nature of language, examines the language systems, and how meaning is structured. In particular, the course will focus on the core areas of linguistics including phonetics (the study of speech sounds), phonology (the sound system of languages), morphology (the internal structure of words), and semantics (the study of word and sentence meanings). Students in this course will relate this information to the education of ELLs and learn ways through which linguistics can inform their own teaching.
  • TEACHING 7880-2 - ESL Practicum (1-8 cr)
    Provides a designed clinical teaching assignment for (1) graduate students meeting license requirements through an internship or (2) qualified educators who want to meet a professional development need through a graduate residency.

Bilingual/Bicultural Education Endorsement

After completing the necessary coursework for the English as a Second Language Licensure students can choose to add the Bilingual/Bicultural Education Endorsement to their license.


The program is closely aligned with the WDPI, and courses were developed to ensure that completers of the program would be proficient against the following content guidelines:

  1. Language Competence: Teachers have a high degree of fluency in English, comprehend the linguistic and paralinguistic features of the English language, and recognize the processes through which languages are acquired in both formal and informal contexts.
  2. Developmental, Social, Political, and Cultural Contexts: Teachers of English language learners address the developmental, social, political, and cultural contexts of their students' lives and educational experiences. They comprehend how these relate to classroom performance and educational practice.
  3. Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Teachers employ effective curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices for English language learners and possess knowledge of the content taught in schools.
  4. The School Environment: Teachers recognize the importance of situating support programs for English language learners within the context of the school and community to ensure their academic success.
  5. Professional Development: Teachers are reflective practitioners who continually engage in ongoing professional development, networking, research, and innovation (see Standard 9, Wisconsin Teacher Standards). Teachers actively seek out opportunities to grow and contribute professionally.

Required Courses

In order to add the Bilingual/Bicultural Education (023) at the MC-EA (72), EA-A (73), and EC-A (74) two additional courses must be completed:

  • TEACHING 7710 - Bilingual Education (3 cr)
    This course provides a comprehensive study of the bilingual and bicultural education in the United States. It will investigate bilingualism from a variety of perspectives including foundation in history, current policies, theory, research and practice of bilingual/bicultural education. Students in this course will also review and evaluate bilingual instruction including bilingual program models, curriculum design, methods, and assessment.
  • TEACHING 7700 Field Experience I Cultural Diversity (3 cr)
    This course provides the opportunity for students to gain in-depth firsthand knowledge of the cultural background of English language learners.  Particular attention will be given to techniques that encourage and secure parental involvement.  Positive effects of special programs for ELLs will also be emphasized in this course.
  • Pass Language Proficiency Assessment.

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