Preparing Teachers for TESOL

Students are eligible for initial teacher licensure in ESL (K-12) as part of the Secondary Education M.Ed. program. The Master of Education (M.Ed.) program prepares educators to work with K-12 English learners (ELs) from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Coursework and fieldwork provide students with foundational educational concepts, deep knowledge of linguistics, application of second language acquisition theories, and practice enacting research-based pedagogical approaches for ELs. Graduates from the program will be able to respond to the growing demand of schools for teachers with expertise in teaching ESL.

The TESOL program is grounded in a commitment to develop teachers as leaders and advocates for learners, drawing on the linguistic, cultural, and social assets ELs bring to their school communities. From the first semester of coursework, students interact meaningfully with learners in classrooms or in out-of-school community settings. Leveraging GSEHD’s partnerships with elementary and secondary schools in DC, MD, and VA, the program exposes students to a variety of contemporary ESL program models, including sheltered instruction, inclusion, newcomer programs, and dual language or bilingual settings. The range of schools in the DC Metro area gives students the flexibility to explore student populations that align with their career goals.

A 1-year full-time or a 2-year part-time option is available. Students with a primary concentration in a secondary content area can add ESL as an additional concentration in consultation with their academic advisor.


The TESOL program consists of face-to-face and online coursework. Students engage directly with learners from the first semester of the program and continue to participate in field experiences throughout the learning sequence. Students in the TESOL Program have the opportunity to learn with peers and professors with specializations in content area disciplines. This unique blend of expertise in coursework and field experiences provides TESOL students with a breadth of knowledge about the expectations and school realities for ELs in U.S. schools. TESOL students are challenged to serve as advocates for ELs through sharing their growing expertise and experience in language teaching with their peers in shared learning experiences.

The TESOL program is built on the foundational ideas in the M.Ed. in Secondary Education:

  • Community Engagement: Students learn how to create meaningful learning experiences that are determined by, and build upon, the needs of adolescents and the communities in which they live. A special focus on community engaged teaching provides experiences developed in collaboration with urban and suburban schools, and out-of-school community-based organizations.
  • Discipline-Based Teaching: As experienced professionals, or recent college graduates, students use their content expertise as a starting point for constructing their knowledge for teaching.
  • Teacher Leadership: By integrating the study of research and theory with school-based experiences in actual middle and high school classrooms, students have the opportunity to reflect on what works in contemporary school settings as they move toward the kind of teaching and teacher-leadership roles needed in the schools of the future.

The following requirements must be fulfilled: completion of 36 credits, including core courses in education and concentration courses in TESOL; completion of master of education comprehensive examination or portfolio; and completion of PRAXIS, teacher licensure assessments required by the District of Columbia Educator Licensure Services Office.

Core Courses (all concentrations)

CPED 6340 Teacher Leadership in Education
CPED 6507 Instructional Models and Classroom Management
CPED 6532 Professional Internship in Middle School Education
CPED 6534 Professional Internship in Secondary Education
CPED 6606 Theories of Learning and Development
CPED 6608 Development and Diversity
EDUC 6112 Foundations of Assessment, Testing, and Measurement in Education

English as a Second Language Concentration

CPED 6176 Academic and Psychosocial Assessment of the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Student
CPED 6551 Second Language Instruction
CPED 6556 Linguistic Applications in English as a Second Language
CPED 6557 Second Language Acquisition
CPED 6627 Teaching Second Language Reading and Writing

Master of Education comprehensive exam required

Completion of the relevant teacher licensure assessments (i.e., PRAXIS) required by the District of Columbia Educator Licensure Services Office

Career Outlook


Graduates from the program are working in a variety of teaching contexts throughout the country and have become leaders in their field. Careers of recent graduates include: content area or ESL teachers in elementary and secondary schools, ESL teachers in community college, English teachers in international settings, family engagement coordinators, and instructional coaches.