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Undergraduate | In-Person

Teaching English as a Second Language, BA/BS

Do you want a fulfilling career that is challenging, but purposeful? Do you want to impact families and communities?

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College of Education

Hallie Caddy
Admissions Coordinator
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Why Major in ESL? 

Classrooms are growing more and more diverse by the day; socioeconomically, racially, ethnically and linguistically. In Middle Tennessee and across the United States, school districts, higher education institutions and community organizations are in desperate need of well-prepared, culturally responsive, effective educators to meet the needs of students whose first language is not English. Belmont’s English as a Second Language (ESL) programs prepare students to meet the needs of those English-learning scholars.

Belmont’s College of Education offers an undergraduate major and an undergraduate minor, both which prepare teacher education candidates for ESL licensure/endorsement for grades Pre-K-12:

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), B.A.

For undergraduate students wishing to pursue ESL as a major and their initial area for teacher licensure/endorsement, the ESL major allows students to pursue a B.A. degree while pursuing a minor in another area of study.

English as a Second Language (ESL), Minor

For undergraduate students pursuing teacher licensure in elementary education, secondary education or arts education, the ESL minor provides the preparation needed to add the ESL endorsement to your Tennessee teaching license. For undergraduate students not pursuing teacher licensure, the ESL minor provides the preparation needed to be effective ESL instructors who are culturally responsive to the needs of English learners in private schools, adult and higher education or community organizations.

What You'll Learn 

  • Gain an understanding of  individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments enable each learner to meet high standards. 
  • Create learning experiences that make the central concepts, tool of inquiry and structures of the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content. 
  • Develop multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making. 
  • Plan instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.

Student Testimonial

“Being a part of Belmont’s ESL program has helped widen my perspective on the world around me. It gave me strategies to work with and help a large part of Nashville’s population. As an elementary ed major with an ESL minor, ESL has not only taught me to think critically and problem solve when working with students, but most importantly how to care for and support students who come from a background different than my own.”

Evie Snoeyink, Elementary Education with ESL minor
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Program Details

Courses You'll Take

Featured (ESL) Coursework includes:

Applied Linguistics

This course examines the development of the English language and explores the sociocultural linguistic, neuro-linguistic and psycho-linguist approaches to the development of language acquisition, particularly that of second language acquisition. Students explore the history and development of the English language in order to understand the sound systems, forms, structures and lexicon of English and other languages.

Language and Literacy Acquisition

This course focuses on the application of the components of academic language to promote English Learners’ academic achievement across content areas. Students plan culturally and linguistically relevant, scaffolded instruction of language and literacies to support standards and curricular objectives for ELs’ in the content areas.

English Language Learners

An introduction to English learners of diverse language and cultural backgrounds. Focuses on an understanding of special needs of these learners and the strategies to promote the language and literacy development of all students. (Approximately 20 hours of practicum required, which may be within the scheduled time of the class.)

Literacy in the Family and Community Arena

This course places increased emphasis on family systems theories and ideologies drawing upon the assets of multicultural, multilingual families and communities. Building on the principles of advocacy and justice, the course seeks to cultivate educators and other professionals with the tools to assess families and communities and provide holistic strengths-based literacy. Emphasis is placed upon how community nonprofits and social organizations enhance opportunities for whole family literacy development and how educators actively collaborate within these spaces to address multifaceted family goals.

Literacy I

This course includes the various theories and methods of reading instruction from the readiness period through the intermediate grades. Current research materials, diagnostic procedures and remediation techniques are emphasized. (Approximately 20 hours of practicum required, which may be within the scheduled time of the class.)

Assessment for Decision Making

Collection and use of educational data to assess and teach students with diverse learning needs. Educational planning, material adaptation and curriculum development will also be addressed.

Literacy II

Reading, writing, speaking and listening are studied. Emphasis is put on the selection and organization of materials and on the evaluation of pupil growth in the language arts. (Approximately 20 hours of practicum required, which may be within the scheduled time of the class.)

View all program requirements here.

Belmont Teacher Education candidates have many opportunities to practice their advocacy, leadership and teaching skills through participation in Belmont’s service-learning and volunteer opportunities as well as education department-specific opportunities.

Candidates should explore coaching, teaching and tutoring opportunities as well as create their own opportunities as they engage in service in their new home community of Nashville.

Our community partners include area charter, independent and public schools as well as nonprofit and for profit community agencies serving Nashville’s families. Belmont University requires all students to be engaged in community and service-learning opportunities but it is not uncommon for teacher education candidates to go beyond the required hours and in a number of opportunities take leadership roles.

Below are some of the opportunities in which our candidates engage:

Belmont’s Service-Learning and Volunteer Opportunities
Through Get Connected, Belmont’s online volunteer service directory, our candidates can connect with more than 70 area organizations where they can connect and serve. Our teacher candidates take seriously the opportunity to serve the greater-Nashville community and volunteer in programs such as: English Language Tutors with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, athletic coaches with area middle schools, tutoring programs with the YMCA, Martha O’Bryan Center and area faith-based programs.

Best Buddies©
BESTBUDDIES® builds one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), through school and community friendship programs that provide socialization opportunities to help erase the invisible line that often separates students or adults with and without IDD. Best Buddies at Belmont is an active student organization where Belmont students and community members with IDD become friends and hang out together with the focus on reducing barriers and building inclusive communities focused on strengths and relationships.

Homework Hotline
Homework Hotline is the largest provider of tutoring in Tennessee, the only service available by phone, and the only program that provides tutoring in six languages. Belmont University candidates serve as a volunteer satellite of Homework Hotline, housed on the Belmont campus. In this way, Belmont University students practice teaching techniques while providing one-on-one tutoring to at-risk children.

Kappa Delta Pi National Education Society
Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), International Honor Society in Education, fosters excellence in education and promotes fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. Belmont’s Nu Phi Chapter is additionally, concerned with assisting the community and has been involved with food drives, raising funds for local literacy programs, as well as helping with Homework Hotline.

Student Teacher Education Association
Through its affiliation with the Tennessee Education Association (TEA) and the National Education Association (NEA), our student program leads tomorrow's teachers to a bright professional future. STEA exists to help our members move smoothly from student on campus to beginning teacher. This is achieved through a variety of avenues including organization meetings with speakers who highlight opportunities at Belmont and beyond to broaden understanding of what it means to be an educator, discussion of issues and trends in education, conference attendance for members to network and develop professionally, and a focus on service to communities and families. STEA is proud to work with Belmont University for Annual Family Literacy Day each spring by forming a reading circle where we read aloud books around a theme with children from the community. We also collect canned goods for local food banks as well as school supplies for teachers and children in Nashville Public Schools. Each spring we also host a campus-wide Valentine’s Day card-making event for the children and families of the Ronald McDonald House and residents of local nursing homes. STEA provides all of the art supplies and the students provide the creativity for these amazing hand-made cards.

Create a BU4U account to apply, request information, and more! To apply for admission as a traditional freshman, traditional transfer, undergraduate non-degree seeking or undergraduate Re-enroll student, please choose the Traditional Undergraduate Application.

Belmont University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Questions about the accreditation of Belmont University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500 or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Belmont’s Teacher Education Program is approved by the Tennessee Department of Education and accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) legacy site visit of 2021.

The Belmont University School of Music is a fully-accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

The Watkins College of Art at Belmont University is an Accredited Institutional Member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)


The Belmont University College of Education prioritizes the use of data as part of its assessment and continuous improvement process. The below data provide summary of survey results, state data reports and teacher candidate performance assessment data. Data are acquired from sources including the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE); Educational Testing Service (ETS); the Belmont Office of Career & Professional Development and the Belmont Office of Assessment & Institutional. Data are linked to the reporting measures to assist prospective and current students, faculty, accrediting bodies, the public and researchers.

Please contact Dr. Cathy Eschete, Director of Clinical Practice and Accreditation Coordinator ( before including any of this information in reports or research.

Request Information

Contact Us

College of Education

Hallie Caddy
Admissions Coordinator
Email Hallie