Teaching Multilingual Learners

The minor in Teaching Multilingual Learners (MLs), formerly known as ESL, provides students with the knowledge and skills to teach English to non-native speakers. It is designed for students of any major who wish to explore the theory and practice of engaging diverse learners and promoting equitable learning outcomes. The minor prepares students to work in Pre-K through high school classrooms in the United States. It also serves students who are interested in teaching English overseas, working in nonprofit organizations, or exploring the field of language-related education policies.

NOTE: The Teaching Multilingual Learners Minor provides a strong foundation for students who plan to teach after graduation, but it does not currently lead to state licensure or a TEFL/TESOL certificate. Students interested in obtaining initial Massachusetts licensure to teach in K-12 schools must adhere to Wheaton’s Education Program curriculum. ESL licensure may be acquired elsewhere at the graduate level. Students interested in teaching overseas may wish to pursue TEFL or TESOL certification.



The Teaching Multilingual Learners Minor consists of four core classes and one elective. We also strongly recommend that students complete at least one world language course.

Teaching Multilingual Learners

Teaching Multilingual Learners (EDUC 230) is a required course for all education majors. Students explore second language acquisition theories and programs for teaching English language learners of all ages. The course prepares Pre-K through grade 12 teachers to meet the needs of non-native speakers in the classroom, and individuals who may want to teach English overseas.

Students will examine how language is acquired and how to best engage multilingual learners as full participants in classroom subject matter. Models such as sheltered instruction, bilingual education, and language immersion will be explored. Attention also will be given to how sociocultural, emotional and economic factors influence multilingual learners’ access to schooling and achievement.

Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition

Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition (EDUC 298) delves into the linguistic aspects of language acquisition, including phonetics, syntax and sociolinguistics. Students will gain insight into the experiences multilingual learners face and develop strategies for supporting their learning in the classroom.

Methods and Materials for Teaching Multilingual Learners

Practicum in Teaching Multilingual Learners (EDUC 498) explores specific teaching methods and materials tailored to multilingual learners. In this advanced course, students will learn how to create lesson plans, adapt materials for different proficiency levels, incorporate technology into language instruction, and foster supportive classroom environments. The course also examines assessment methods and tools used to measure the language proficiency and progress of MLs. This course will prepare students to take the English as a Second Language (ESL) MTEL examination.

Practicum in Teaching Multilingual Learners

Practicum in Teaching Multilingual Learners (EDUC 498) combines hands-on experience with a weekly reflection and discussion. In this field-based course, students will work with MLs under the supervision of experienced instructors. They will design and deliver lessons, assess student progress, and gain practical insights into the challenges and rewards of teaching multilingual learners.


Choose one course from the following:

ANTH 230 – Language and Culture
EDUC 240 – Multiple Perspectives on Literacy
EDUC 250 – Education and Equity in the U.S.
EDUC 251 – Special Education, Pre-K through 12
EDUC 260 – Teaching and Learning
EDUC 270 – Gender and Education
EDUC 298 – Transformative Social and Emotional Learning
HISP 290 – Interculturality
PSY 220 – Global Psychology


Offered by the Education department.