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English as a Second Language Minor

School of Urban Education
Undergraduate minor

Program accreditation

This program is accredited by the Minnesota Professional Education and Licensing Standards Board (PELSB) to meet the standards for being licensed to teach ESL to students in K-12 classrooms.

The School of Urban Education has not made a determination that this program meets the education requirements for licensure for any other states or US protectorate.

The English as Second Language (ESL) minor is designed for students interested in the knowledge, skills, methods, and strategies for working with urban English Language Learners in K-12 schools. With completing a few more courses and practicum experience, students will meet the requirements to add a K-12 ESL teaching license to the initial teaching license being completed as part of your major and Bachelors degree. This minor can also be a program of interest for those who work with English learners outside of the school setting.

Student outcomes

Students successfully completing this program will meet the following standards for ESL licensure:

  • understands a variety of methods, techniques, and program models suitable for second language instruction with diverse learners including adapting existing materials to meet the needs of English learners.
  • uses various content-based methodologies and integrates language acquisition and use of language functions across learning experiences to facilitate full inclusion of English learners in the school setting.
  • communicates successfully with students, parents, colleagues, and community members.
  • understands communication instruction in the second language context and the importance of developing communication skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing across the curriculum.
  • understands and uses formal and informal second language assessment techniques with criteria to determine appropriate placement and to evaluate the progress of English learners.
  • understands the contributions of general and applied linguistics to second language education.
  • understands the fundamentals of the first and second language acquisition processes and their similarities and differences.
  • understands how the historical, social, and political aspects of language and cultural patterns in the United States influence second language instruction.
  • understands the teaching of English as a second language that integrates understanding of English as a second language with the teacher's understanding of pedagogy, students, learning, classroom management, and professional development.

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Program eligibility requirements

GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Students seeking additional K12 licensure must already by admitted to the Urban Teacher Program seeking a Minnesota teaching license in another field.

Students seeking additional licensure must also be able to demonstrate proficiency in both English and another language to meet licensing standard 3.A: "An English as a second language teacher demonstrates a high level of proficiency in English commensurate with the role of an instructional model and develops an awareness of the process of formal language learning by learning a second language through two years of second language instruction in a high school setting or one year of second language instruction in a postsecondary setting, or the equivalent."

Field experiences (5-15 hours) are required for most courses, and practicum courses (EDU 456, 457, 458) each require a minimum of 25 hours for those seeking licensure.  

Student licensure

This is not an initial licensure program. Students seeking additional K12 licensure must also be seeking initial licensure in Early Childhood, Elementary or a Secondary Education subject area. Passing the MTLE content test for ESL licensure is also required.

Course requirements

Requirements (27 credits)

Prerequisites (6 credits)

Completing the two following courses with a grade of C or higher is required for permission to take 400-level EDU courses required for this program.

EDU 200 Introduction to Urban Education and Reflective Teaching

3 credits

This course provides an introduction to urban learners, urban teaching, and urban school systems using case studies and first-person accounts of teaching and learning in an urban environment. Current issues facing urban P-12 students, teachers, schools, districts, and communities will be discussed. Society's responsibility to urban schools will be examined along with the roles that teachers and schools play in increasing student achievement and leading school improvement. Key concepts of the Urban Teacher Program will be introduced including the importance of high expectations, student and teacher resiliency, educational equity, using the community as a resource, and reflection. Various perspectives and dimensions of the achievement gap will be examined, including causes due to discrimination and perspectives on what constitutes high educational achievement for culturally and linguistically diverse youth. Students in this course are expected to explore and express their own…

Full course description for Introduction to Urban Education and Reflective Teaching

EDU 203 Multicultural Education

3 credits

This course introduces prospective urban teacher candidates to core concepts and approaches of multicultural education including issues related to student, family and community diversity based on race, culture, language, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability. Issues of oppression, privilege and equity in relation to schools and society are also addressed as students use their life experiences as a multicultural reference point to begin to understand the life experiences of the diverse students who attend urban public schools. Emphasis is placed on demonstrating the multicultural competence required of all successful teachers working with diverse urban youth. Clinical field experience hours are part of the course requirements.

Full course description for Multicultural Education

Required (19 credits)

Completing the following courses is required for the minor, but these courses alone will not result in an additional K-12 ESL license. Additional courses required for the additional licensure are listed in the next section.

LING 316 The Nature of Language

4 credits

This course introduces students to the study of how language is acquired and learned, concepts and methods of analyzing language, and how the linguistics field relates to regional, social and gender differences in language. It also explores the origin and development of languages through time, writing systems, and the complexities of written and spoken language.

Full course description for The Nature of Language

EDU 435 Teaching and Assessing English Language Learners

3 credits

This course includes an examination of the process of second language acquisition and strategies for teaching English Language Learners (ELL) subject matter content in urban K-12 classrooms. Prospective teachers will learn how to modify mainstream course materials and instructional strategies so that ELL students can engage in course content while simultaneously developing their English language skills. Course activities and expectations include demonstrating teaching strategies; developing lesson modifications; evaluating textbooks and other materials and resources available in the field; and examining issues in testing students of limited English proficiency for placement, diagnosis, exit, and evaluation. There is a requirement of a 10-hour field experience in urban setting involving classroom participant-observations and working with an ELL student.

Full course description for Teaching and Assessing English Language Learners

EDU 451 Immigrants and Refugees in Urban Schools

3 credits

This course examines the experience of students in grades K to 12 who are immigrants or refugees (or their relatives) living in urban communities, particularly within the Twin Cities. The historical and contemporary push and/or pull factors that contributed to families from various countries and cultures recently coming to the United States will be examined. Important similarities and differences between the experiences and status of immigrants and refugees will also be studied. Particular challenges encountered within the U.S. will be explored, as well as examples of resiliency, achievement, and community resources. Students will gain the understanding of different cultural practices; benefits of bilingual education; how the larger community and the socio-cultural framework shape communication with parents; and how the urban environment conditions may influence learning. Critical issues in urban multilingual immigrant and refugee communities will be discussed.

Full course description for Immigrants and Refugees in Urban Schools

EDU 452 Theories and Methods of Language Learning

3 credits

This course starts with the fundamentals of the first and second language acquisition, and differences between child, adolescent, and adult language acquisition. Students will learn and demonstrate strategies to develop skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing across the K-12 curriculum. Other topics are: differences between literacy development in the first language and the second language and implications for teaching English learners; and communication techniques that enhance student learning. Students will become familiar with a variety of methods, approaches, techniques, and programs; and will investigate issues related to the full inclusion of English learners in the school setting; and that both language learning and subject matter learning are essential to student success. The teaching of reading and writing across the curriculum will be emphasized, as well as the use of technology. Urban field experience in grades K-12 is part of the course requirements.

Full course description for Theories and Methods of Language Learning

EDU 453 Assessment and Curriculum for English Learners in Urban Schools

4 credits

This course includes formal and informal second language assessment techniques to determine placement and to evaluate the progress of English learners in grades K-12. It also addresses criteria for determining the readiness to enter and exit English proficiency programs. Students will gain an understanding of the characteristics and limitations of second language assessment, including the ones for placement in gifted and special education programs; they will learn item and test construction methods appropriate for students with limited English proficiency; and how to administer, interpret, and explain test results to parents and colleagues; rubrics and standards alignment with district goals. Other topics are: curriculum development related to the English learners; program planning; connecting schooling experiences with everyday life, the workplace, and further education; involving the community; purpose of co-curricular and extracurricular activities; and best practices. Urban field…

Full course description for Assessment and Curriculum for English Learners in Urban Schools

EDU 454 The Urban ESL Professional

2 credits

This course examines the roles and responsibilities of the urban ESL teacher. Students will develop the ability to communicate successfully with English learners in grades K-12, their parents, colleagues, and urban community members. Other topics include bilingualism, multilingualism, resources for continual professional development, classroom management, and working effectively with colleagues and the community to support student learning.

Full course description for The Urban ESL Professional

K-12 English as a Second Language Licensure (9 credits)

For students who are in the process of completing their bachelor’s degree and initial licensure in either Early Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 3, Elementary Education, or a Secondary (Grades 5-12) Education content area (i.e., English, Life Science, Mathematics, or Social Studies), the following courses are also required to add the K-12 English as a Second Language license to your teaching credentials.

EDU 400 Literacy Education in Urban Schools

3 credits

This course examines the many aspects of literacy which arise in urban secondary classrooms. Through course readings, presentations, discussions, and applied written and oral exercises, students explore ways to teach a variety of materials to diverse middle and high school students whose reading and developmental levels vary widely. Students explore techniques of how to encourage learners both to engage with reading and writing and to assume responsibility for literacy learning. Through instructional techniques and integrated learning models which focus on various content areas, the information learned in this course prepares the teachers to assist struggling readers and writers. Clinical field experience hours are part of the course requirements.

Full course description for Literacy Education in Urban Schools

EDU 483 Foundations of Teaching Reading in Urban Grades K-6

3 credits

This course explores the fundamentals of reading instruction. The course provides Early Childhood and pre service k-6 teachers with knowledge of the foundations of the reading and writing process, strategies and curriculum materials to support reading and writing instruction, assessment tools and practices to plan and evaluate effective reading instruction, and create a literate environment that fosters reading and writing.

Full course description for Foundations of Teaching Reading in Urban Grades K-6