ESL teacher helping a student.

Become an ESL Teacher

English as a Second Language (ESL) is perfect for teachers who have a passion for working with K–12 students who are learning English as an additional language.

The Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Master of Arts in English as a Second Language program is a great fit for either established or new teachers. Licensed Minnesota teachers who are seeking to add the Minnesota K–12 ESL license will achieve their professional development and career advancement goals. Adults who have their bachelor’s degree and are seeking a Minnesota teaching license for the first time will earn their licensure while focusing on this specialty.

As with all Saint Mary’s programs, M.A. in ESL courses are taught by top-notch educators who have a wealth of classroom experience to share. Through classroom instruction and collaboration with your peers, you will develop a skill set that will help you better understand languages and cultures and how they impact learning and motivate students in the areas of English reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The entire curriculum is designed to be immediately applied to your classroom and position you as a leader in your school by promoting an educational environment that supports learners of all backgrounds.

A cohort model allows for a small team of students to collaborate and learn together. Additional online instruction and activities supplement these face-to-face interactions.

Licensure Preparation

Licensure preparation includes a variety of requirements, including foundational coursework and field experience/student teaching. 

Foundational Coursework (For Initial Licensure Seekers Only)

Licensure preparation includes one year of foundational coursework pertaining to curriculum design, educational technology, classroom management, instructional techniques, and much more. This coursework lays a solid foundation as you move into the ESL coursework.

Field Experience and Student Teaching

It is critical for you to be able to put theory into practice. Your time in the program includes field experience and student teaching, which ensure that you have practiced your skills under the guidance of a cooperating teacher and university supervisor. Program staff will talk with you further about field experience, student teaching, portfolio, and testing requirements.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the M.A. in ESL, graduates are expected to be able to:

  • Employ 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 students with limited English proficiency.
  • Use various content-based methodologies and integrate language acquisition and use of language functions across learning experiences to facilitate full inclusion of students with limited English proficiency in the school setting.
  • Communicate successfully with students, parents, colleagues, and community members.
  • Develop communication instruction in the second language context, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing across the curriculum.
  • Use formal and informal second language assessment techniques to determine student readiness for and appropriate placement in limited English proficiency programs and to evaluate student progress.
  • Analyze the contributions of general and applied linguistics to second language education.
  • Identify the fundamentals of the first and second language acquisition processes and their similarities and differences.
  • Interpret how the historical, social, and political aspects of language and cultural patterns in the United States influence second language instruction.
  • Integrate an understanding of English as a second language with an understanding of pedagogy, students, learning, classroom management, and professional development.
  • Synthesize existing research and create original research related to ESL educational practices.

Connect With Us

Megan Troje, M.A.

Lead Field Specialist

Admission - SGPP

LaSalle Hall - TC Campus, LSH 114

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5211

Connect with Megan for information on programs offered by the School of Education.

Megan Troje M.A.


Shannon Tanghe, Ph.D.

Program Director

M.A. in English as a Second Language

Mother Teresa Hall, MTH 108

Campus Box: # 28

Shannon Tanghe Ph.D.
Jane Anderson, Ph.D.

Course-Contracted Professor

M.A. in English as a Second Language

Campus Box: # 23

Jane Anderson Ph.D.
Omoyefe Agbamu, Ed.D.

Course-Contracted Assistant Professor

M.A. in English as a Second Language

Professor smiling with students

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