Union University
Union University Dept of Language
Philip Ryan teaches class

Teaching English as a Second Language



Teaching English as a Second Language

Two tracks are available for students wishing to teach English as a second language.

  • Major in teaching English as a Second language
  • Initial teacher licensure in TESL
  • Add-on teacher licensure in TESL

There is also a minor program for TESL. Dr. Phillip Ryan is the professor for the TESL program.

Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is a life-long career choice full of opportunity and reward here in the US and abroad. With its strong emphasis in applied linguistics and with its numerous field experience opportunities, TESL at Union University provides a supportive and substantive framework for participants to develop their understanding of language and to explore their own development as teachers. With an approximate student/teacher ratio of 6:1, this 34-credit hour program has proven to be invaluable to pre- and in-service teachers, with successful placement of students seeking ESL teaching positions and a 100% pass rate on the Praxis licensure exam for ESL pre-K-12.

If you are interested in teaching English to speakers of other languages here in the United States or abroad, or are interested studying TESL as a foundation for continuing your education on the graduate level in ESL or a related field, then please browse through our website and feel free to contact Phillip Ryan.

BA, Major, Minor, Teaching English as a Second Language

With 34 credit hours in classes ranging from linguistics to methods to Senior Capstone (research), the major in TESL provides participants with the breadth and depth of information necessary for them to achieve their professional goals in language education. The minor in TESL is a 21-hour program that provides a valuable amount of breadth and depth for participants who are interested in TESL in addition to a major area of study. For actual course numbers and requirements, please see the Union University Current Undergraduate Catalogue

Classes offered on the undergraduate level include:

  • Language & Content Tutoring (focus on elementary learners; field experience)
  • Critical Contexts of Literacy
  • Assessment
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Instructional Methodology (field experience)
  • History and Structure of the English Language
  • 1 cross-discipline option in sociology, political science, or philosophy
  • Language Teaching Methodology (field experience)
  • Curriculum and Materials Development
  • Senior Seminar: Sociolinguistics/Psycholinguistics
  • Senior Capstone (one credit hour)

Licensure in TESL

Courses in the TESL program also contribute to State of Tennessee licensure in ESL. This licensure, which covers pre-K-12 education, is granted by the State through Union University’s Teacher Education Program (TEP). Students seeking initial licensure complete the full 34-hour TESL program in addition to TEP requirements; students seeking add-on licensure complete 21 hours of the program (see the Current Undergraduate Catalogue in addition to the TEP requirements). Graduates seeking initial and add-on licensure have a 100% pass rate on the Praxis exam for licensure in TESL.

Teaching Opportunities

The Department of Languages, in conjunction with the Institute for International & Intercultural Studies, has access to a variety of international opportunities for overseas field experiences. Typically organized for groups of students with a supervisor, these short-term field experiences provide participants to teach ESL/EFL and to study with other language educators. Prior experiences include: Morocco (January, 2001) and Thailand/China (July 2002).

In addition, a wealth of opportunities exist locally, including intensive English program held on short-term bases on Union’s campus as well as after-school programs and immersion programs in the community. These experiences often are completed as partial fulfillment of select courses or are often completed beyond the scope of the program of study by willing participants.

Recent and Current Course Offerings