M.Ed. in English as a Second Language

Make a difference in the lives of families in your community with an online master’s degree.

M.Ed. in English as a Second Language

Our 36-credit English as a Second Language M.Ed. program prepares you for your Initial License to serve linguistically and culturally diverse students in PreK-6 classrooms. Through coursework and field-based experiences, you develop an understanding of subject matter knowledge, curriculum design, instructional strategies, observation and assessment, communication, and collaboration with families and the community.

This program is approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and is aligned with the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers and Subject Matter Knowledge requirements.

Initial Licensure students who decide not to pursue their license will still be able to complete their degree as a personalized non-licensure master’s degree.

Tell me more about Merrimack’s M.Ed. in ESL!

Tuition-Free Teacher Education Fellowship

Graduate in One Year, Tuition-Free

As a K-12 teacher fellow, you’ll work in a partner school district for a full academic year, gaining unparalleled and invaluable field experience. You’ll engage in a range of classroom-based activities, including small group instruction, co-teaching, and ultimately, independent classroom instruction.

Fellows graduate in one year, tuition-free, and earn a Master of Education in Teacher Education and licensure in their area of specialization.

Available now for both on-campus and online students while spots are still available.

Key features of our English as a Second Language M.Ed. program include:

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Check out a recent episode of the Grad Chat podcast and hear from a current M.Ed. student about their experience in the program.

What Skills Will You Develop With M.Ed. in English as a Second Language?

To Earn your M.Ed. In English as a Second Language, you will complete 9 courses, including a field practicum, for a total of 36 credit hours. Online courses are 8 weeks long and will include preparation for the MTEL.

This course will introduce students to the Professional Standards for Teaching (PST) and Licensure Preparation.  Students will complete a pre-practicum experience (15 hours) in which they will observe a veteran teacher demonstrating the elements of the PST’s as well as the basic theories of child development and how students learn.  The course will present the basic components of unit and lesson planning using Understanding by Design (UbD).  Students will learn techniques around differentiating instruction, including tiered instruction, scaffolds to accommodate differences in learning styles, needs, interests, and levels of readiness of students.  Students will examine specific systematic behaviors teachers use to create orderly, cooperative, and motivating learning environments that promote student achievement.  The course will familiarize students with state and federal regulations regarding students with disabilities.  Students will examine their own cultural competence and develop strategies that promote culturally responsive, inclusive classrooms.

Co-requisite (0 credits):

  • EDU 6500 – Pre-Practicum Field-Based Experience

This foundational course in the graduate teacher education program for English as Second Language provides an overview of the state and federal laws pertaining to the education of English language learners as well as the background, history and philosophies surrounding instruction. The role of community, families and schools in English language learner education will also be explored.

The course provides an overview of the emergence of language and literacy in typical development as well as issues that may arise with the existence of language-based disabilities. Challenges for English Language Learners will also be addressed. Significant theories related to language development in childhood will be reviewed, as well as the topic of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills to English Language Learners (four credits) students will gain an understanding of the relevant theories and practices for developing full literacy in English that is consistent with the kindergarten-grade six standards in the ELA Curriculum Framework. Reading instruction includes skills and strategies for success with phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Students will learn the best practices for teaching these dimensions of reading. They will also learn multiple approaches to teaching formal writing. In both areas, strategies to teach these skills to ELLs will be addressed. Attention will also be given to the study of grammar and the uses of English which are often difficult for ELLs. The course will include formal and informal measures for assessing ELLs’ reading comprehension and writing in narrative and informational genres. Field experience may be required.

This course will examine a variety of assessment approaches. It will include those associated with Massachusetts-mandated state testing programs, as well as other formal and informal assessment instruments used for placement, progress monitoring, and summative evaluations. Students will select, administer and interpret assessment results and will understand normal variations in proficiency.

Co-requisite (0 credits):

  • EDU 6507 – Pre-Practicum Field-Based Experience

Children from many cultures, speaking many languages, now enter classrooms each year. Culturally and linguistically diverse children seek to find themselves in the literature they read. They and their first language classmates broaden their background knowledge, develop cultural awareness, and explore the values and traditions of each other’s cultures through reading multicultural literature. This course introduces students to children’s literature from non-western countries, literature about relationships between cultural groups, and literature written by members of other cultures that represent the unique experience of the people of that culture. Students will also learn how to select multicultural literature and teach it in culturally or linguistically diverse classrooms. Finally, they will learn to evaluate works of children’s literature that exemplify excellence, from cultural and traditional perspectives.

In this course, students will learn and apply teaching strategies that support ELL’s linguistic and academic development in science, mathematics, and social studies. They will also learn how to plan and execute content-based lessons in kindergarten-grade six classrooms. The course will address the development of ELLs’ academic vocabulary and language skills, application of academic content knowledge, and higher order thinking skills. Lesson planning, implementation, and assessment occur within the sheltered content instructional model, providing extensive scaffolding strategies for comprehension and proficiency. Field experience may be required.

Co-requisite (0 credits):

  • EDU 6507 – Pre-Practicum Field-Based Experience III

Students will participate in seminar discussions centering on issues and challenges in the evolving field of ESL Education. Topics will include current trends in teacher preparation, evaluation, co-teaching models, assessment, updated state and federal laws and regulations, and social justice issues.

This is the practicum required for licensure.

Co-requisite (0 credits):

  • EDU 6510 – Practicum Seminar

Tell me more about Merrimack’s M.Ed. in ESL!