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Teaching English as a Second Language

  • Credits:
    (4 terms)
  • Degree:
    Master of Education
  • Program Approved:
    PR Council of Education

Program Description

Puerto Rican and North American classrooms include students whose first language is not English. These English-language learners (ELLs) are faced with learning a new language and culture, while simultaneously receiving the same academic standards as their classmates whose first language is English. The Teaching English as a Second Language Program produces informed, compassionate, and committed educators who create learning environments that work for English-language learners (ELLs) and value their contributions. This program is for educators who want to get to know their students and who want to help them learn. The faculty members are professionals with extensive knowledge of language acquisition and the cultural factors that affect learning, and are experienced in using the best practices in the classroom. These teachers present relevant material and motivate their students to: value their prior knowledge as a basis for discussing new ideas; read and write critically; apply new skills; demonstrate and assess their own learning. 

All English as a Second Language (ESL) program courses present nationally recognized research-based models that shape the curriculum and the development characteristics of students in grades Pre-K-6, 5-12, and adult levels. Participants explore the implications for teaching and learning at each level and apply the course concepts to the established goal. Graduates are career-ready, technologically savvy, and culturally competent to advance social justice causes.

This program is for recertification by the Puerto Rico Department of Education. Prior valid Puerto Rico teacher certification in another area or discipline required.

Learning outcomes

Students will: understand what it means to acquire a language; be aware of the cultural factors that affect their academic achievements; grasp the current theories, research, and best practices for literacy in English. They will use research-based methodology to help English-language learners (ELLs) to achieve mastery of the language and know how to use Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) strategies to understand the class content standards. Students will plan a curriculum, teach effectively, manage their classroom, promote equality, and fulfill their professional responsibilities. Learning is personalized through independent projects that help to prepare the educator for the profession.


Graduates may request recertification from the Department of Education of Puerto Rico if they already possess certifications in other areas, and are qualified to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in public and private schools. They can provide ESL teaching support and tutoring in schools and in other settings including higher education intensive English as a Second Language.


For more information, please contact Admissions at 1-800-829-4723.


All courses are taught in Spanish.


Course content focuses on ESL secondary students.

Teaching Adolescent Literature to ESL Students
ESL 600 3 credit(s)

Course will focus on developing ESL teachers' knowledge of quality literature available for adolescents. Teachers will read various literary genres (essays, short stories, poetry, novels) to analyze and evaluate their content to be able to select those which will best adapt to their ESL students. Course promotes literature to motivate reading and writing about topics related to students' lives, culture and social issues. Strategies to improve students' reading comprehension and analytical skills will be studied.

Linguistics and Language Variations
ESL 610 3 credit(s)
Participants are introduced to language and linguistics (system, functions, registers, variation, change). They consider language structure (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse, social/academic language, registers, writing conventions). They discuss language acquisition and literacy: significant theories/practices for English first-language reading skills and comprehension at different grade levels, and the relevance of linguistic differences between first and second language for reading instruction in English. They understand socio-cultural and socio-emotional considerations in teaching ESL: regional, socioeconomic, and developmental factors influencing language variation and bilingualism/multilingualism
Methods and Materials for English as a Second Language
ESL 615 3 credit(s)
In this introductory course, participants reinforce and apply knowledge of structure and nature of language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse, social/academic language, registers, writing conventions). They discuss and model instructional approaches and best practices for teaching ESL (instructional foundations, theories and sheltered strategies for developing English language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing for English language learners in bilingual/multilingual classes from primary grads on and research-based practices for English language development.
Teaching Reading and Writing to ESL Students
ESL 620 3 credit(s)
Participants apply understanding of language and linguistics, reinforce knowledge of language acquisition and literacy: theories/practices to develop reading skills/comprehension in English as a first language at different educational levels; linguistic differences between first/second language for English reading instruction; differences in initial instruction for students not literate in their first language; first language literacy effects on second language literacy; formal/informal measures for assessing skill development with ESL learners; developing listening/speaking/reading/writing vocabulary; approaches for developing writing skills and use of writing tools; writing process and formal writing elements; English oral/aural fluency; social/academic English and content language; metalinguistic skills and vocabulary appropriate to cognitive, academic, and language proficiency levels.
Technology for Linguistically Diverse Classrooms
ESL 625 3 credit(s)
Participants develop knowledge of language and linguistics functions and registers of language, discourse varieties, aspects of social/academic language, rhetorical registers, and writing conventions. They reinforce knowledge of practices for development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing vocabulary, approaches for developing writing skills and use of writing tools. They reinforce knowledge of social/academic English and academic language for content areas. They apply knowledge of planning/implementing standards-based ESL and content instruction. They develop knowledge of instruction, assessments, resources, research, and advances in the field of ESL.
Equitable Assessment for ESL Learners
ESL 630 3 credit(s)
Assessment of English Language Learners (ELLs) is affected by federal/state regulations, including state-wide adoption of the WIDA ACCESS Test for ELLs. Course participants will understand laws and issues pertinent to the education of ELLs, and user of tests, performance tasks and self-assessments for identification, placement, and reclassification of ELLs. They will learn to interpret ACCESS results, consider the effects of socio-cultural, psychological, political, and individual learning variables, and apply these to design differentiated assessment measures that enable ELLs to use academic language in demonstrating content knowledge and English proficiency. Participants will have the opportunity to observe and interact with ESL students in field-based classroom situations.
Second Language Acquisition and Culture
ESL 631 3 credit(s)
Participants in this introductory course develop knowledge of language and linguistics: system, functions, registers, variations, changes. They discuss language acquisition theory/research; cultural/linguistic differences affecting reading instruction; ESL socio-cultural, socio-economic, socio-emotional, and developmental factors influencing bilingualism/multilingualism; cultural intersection with teaching and learning; cultural/racial/ethnic/linguistic identity; inter-cultural communication, role of community, families, and schools in ELL education. They apply theoretical, political, historical foundations of education for ELLs, and strategies for school collaboration, family outreach, and community.
Sheltered Instruction and Assessment
ESL 635 3 credit(s)
This course is designed for teachers and administrators experiencing the challenge of meeting the academic needs of multilevel, diverse classrooms PreK-12 that require sheltered instruction techniques and state mandated assessment instruments for English language learners (ELLs). This course will provide participants with multiple opportunities to learn and apply sheltering content instruction strategies to enable ELLs to meet grade level academic standards by utilizing the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) as demonstrated in national research on best practices for effective instruction. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Teaching Content to ESL Learners
ESL 650 3 credit(s)
This course provides educators working with second language learners a theoretical and practical framework for integrating academic language development into content area instruction in grades preK-12. Students will be presented with an overview of instructional concepts and approaches that recognize the role that language plays as the major medium of instruction and learning including language across the curriculum, CALLA (cognitive academic language learning approach), process writing, cooperative learning and cognitive instruction. Participants will have guided practice in using and applying effective teaching strategies that support the linguistic and academic development of ESL learners within the context of the content area classroom. They will learn how to plan and deliver instruction to help ESL learners understand academic content, develop academic language, increase higher order thinking skills, and strategically apply learning strategies.
Identification and Instruction of ESL Learners with Disabilities
ESL 640 3 credit(s)
This course will provide a framework for developing a comprehensive system for the assessment and instruction of ESL learners preK-12 with disabilities and/or limited or interrupted formal schooling. Participants will gain an understanding of the second language acquisition process, literacy development in the second language, culture, alternative assessment measures, and appropriate instructional methodology for ESL learners with disabilities and/or ESL learners with limited or interrupted formal schooling. They will identify key issues in the assessment and instruction of ESL learners with disabilities and/or limited or interrupted formal schooling, including under-representation and over-representation in special education, appropriate assessment measures, and legal responsibilities. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the use of alternative assessment measures for distinguishing between disability, literacy development, and developmental process of second language learning. They will also develop appropriate second language instruction for ELLs with disabilities and/or limited formal schooling.

Senior Instructor

Adjunct Instructor


  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Program Requirements

Prior valid Puerto Rico certification as teacher of English (elementary level) or another area required.

School Requirements

See Admissions Requirements for School of Education


State Health Requirements

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.

International Students 

International students are accepted at Massachusetts location only, and need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit

Graduate program applicants, please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more.

Undergraduate program applicants, once you are accepted, your official transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit.



  • Credits:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Note: Rates are as of September 2018, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

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