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English as a Second Language Minor for K-12 ESL licensure

About The Program

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 bachelor’s degree. This minor can also be a program of interest for those who work with English learners outside of the school setting.

Program accreditation

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

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your English as a Second Language Minor for K-12 ESL licensure now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your English as a Second Language Minor for K-12 ESL licensure

Program eligibility requirements

GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Students seeking additional K12 ESL licensure must already by admitted to the Urban Teacher Program seeking a major and Minnesota teaching license in another field. Students in non-teaching majors who want to add the ESL minor need to complete EDU 200 and EDU 203.

Students seeking additional K12 ESL 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."

Courses and Requirements


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.

Courses Needed for the Minor and Additional Licensure (23 credits)

+ Prerequisites (6 credits)

For students pursuing non-teaching majors, 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. There are no pre-requisites for students already admitted to the Urban Teacher Program who are earning a teaching major.

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

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

+ Courses Required for the Minor (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.

The course introduces students to the study of how language is acquired and learned, concepts and methods of analyzing language, and how the field of linguistics studies regional, racial, and gender differences in language. The course examines how the processes of standardization create approved and dominate versions of languages and non-standard and minoritized varieties and dialects of languages. The course also explores linguistic intolerance and prejudice, raciolinguistics, linguistic hierarchy, implicit bias, and privilege. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for The Nature of Language

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

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

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

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

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

+ Additional Courses Required for K - 12 English as a Second Language Licensure (4 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 (K-6), or a Secondary Education (Grades 5-12) content area (i.e., English/Language Arts, General/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. Additional licensure seekers are required to complete field experiences at each of the 3 levels (elementary, middle, and high school) but are only required to register for either EDU 456, 457, or 458 in which there will be an 80-hour student teaching practicum.

Required Reading Class for Licensure

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

ESL Practicum (1 cr., select from below)