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English as a Second Language

  • “We live in a world where the need for ESL teachers is increasing. Become an ESL teacher and serve the global community.” Dr. Kashama Mulamba, professor

  • English is the second largest language spoken on earth. It is the language of business, politics, technology and tourism.

    For people living in countries outside the United States, knowing English helps them learn more about the culture behind the celebrities they see or read about. Many of them dream about working in or traveling to English-speaking countries.

    An ESL class may have 20 different students who are native speakers of 20 different languages. As their teacher, you couldn't possibly — or be expected to — speak all of their native languages. Your job is to teach them to speak English, as you teach them in English.

    This minor works well with education, international missions, nonprofit management and other majors. Learn how to teach English language learners in a variety of settings, both in the United States and abroad.

    At Olivet, you can: 

    • Study assessment of the bilingual student, cross-cultural studies, methods and materials for teaching.
    • Complete 100 hours or more of field experience before you graduate.
    • Learn more ways to merge your faith with your skills in teaching and communicating.
    • And so much more!

    Putting knowledge to work

    Practicums are an important part of this program. Apply concepts you learn in the classroom to actual teaching experiences as you complete the required 40 hours of ESL clinical experience.

    For the 30-hour field practicum semester, prior to your student teaching, design and submit your own proposal. In the past, students have served on summer mission trips to Romania, been part of Missions in Action (M.I.A.) trips during breaks, and tutored language learners locally.

    For the ESL endorsement, you must complete 100 contact hours with K-12 language learners. Volunteer as a coach, tutor or camp counselor working with area residents who aren’t native English speakers.

    Before your student teaching experience, you will complete field experiences. You will complete between 100 to 130 hours of field experiences. The Teacher Education Program will assist you in securing the school placements for all your field experiences. Our Student Education Association (SEA) is an organization to help you do additional “educational service” activities each academic year.

    SEA empowers you and other future educators to invest in the lives of the next generation. Through professional and social activities, you will bond with other students, faculty and educators who are already working in their chose careers. SEA is the largest student organization on campus with more than 200 students who take part in activities each year. We make a major impact in the surrounding school districts and community!

    Your student teaching assignment gives you experience in taking on more responsibilities for directing the learning activities of a group of students in a “real-world” classroom. The minimum time is 60 full official school days. You will be supervised by a classroom teacher, the principal of the school, and the university supervisor. A faculty member will observe you on site. This is a time for you to grow, learn and develop as a teacher.

    Prepare for and take the ESL specialization test. You are not required to pass this test in order to receive the ESL endorsement. But if you want to advertise yourself as specialized in ESL, you will want to do this.


    If you are:

    • Interested in language and communication?
    • Enjoy meeting people from other cultures and learning about their lives?
    • Comfortable interacting with people who don’t speak English well?
    • A person who adapts easily to new and different situations?
    • Warm and friendly when meeting new people?

    then a career teaching English as a second language may be the right one for you.

    Teachers prepared to teach English to diverse populations are in high demand. The most common setting is a public school classroom, but you may also work with adult learners in a variety of community settings. One of the best places to check out job opportunities is Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Inc. (TESOL).

    Possible ESL teaching opportunities include: tutoring, public school systems, ministry organizations, international companies, public libraries, community colleges

    This is a brief overview of what the School of Education and Department of English and Modern Languages offer to students. For more detailed information about procedures and requirements, go to the online catalog.

    English as a Second Language Teaching is part of the Department of English and Modern Languages within the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education.