[Recommended Course of Study] [Course Schedules] [Core TESL Courses] [Elective Courses]


Teaching English as a Second Language Courses

Recommended Course of Study

The following charts are designed to help TESL candidates determine which classes to take when. There are separate charts for the K-12 ELL Education Emphasis and the Adult (EFL/EFL) Education Emphasis and for both the face-to-face and online options. This will be the normal rotation for TESL courses on the Webster Groves Home Campus (for courses listings and schedules for the Kansas City Metropolitan Campus, please see the Graduate Education Programs course listings). Information for the Bangkok Campus will be posted when available. Note that classes may need to be canceled or changed based on enrollment or instructor availability.

K-12 ELL Education Emphasis - Face-to-Face TESL Candidates

TESL Rotation 1.png

*K-12 ELL Education candidates should take TESL 5730 Materials Development for Language Classrooms, COMM 5270 Visual Communications, or COMM 5530 Technology and Teaching during the Summer term or the Fall 2 terms of their second year. Note that most summers TESL 5730 Materials Development for Language Classrooms will be offered online. (CBX is Credit by Exam.)

Missouri ELL Certification requires three pre-requisite courses (if not already completed). Any needed pre-requisite courses should be taken as electives to ensure completion of both the master's degree and state certification.

Adult (ESL/EFL) Education Emphasis - Face-to-Face TESL Candidates
TESL Rotation 2.png
*Although Adult (ESL/EFL) Education Emphasis candidates are only required to take either TESL 5710 Grammar for ESL/EFL Teachers or TESL 5720 Teaching English Pronunciation, we strongly recommend that both of these classes be taken (with the second counting as an elective) to maximize employability. Note that TESL 5710 is now only offered online during the Fall 2 term. We also strongly recommend TESL 5730 Materials Development for Language Classrooms as an elective course during the summer. (CBX is Credit by Exam.)

K-12 ELL Education Emphasis - Online TESL Candidates

TESL Rotation 3.png

*K-12 ELL Education candidates should take TESL 5730 Materials Development for Language Classrooms, COMM 5270 Visual Communications, or COMM 5530 Technology and Teaching during the Summer term or the Fall 2 terms of their second year. Note that most summers TESL 5730 Materials Development for Language Classrooms. (CBX is Credit by Exam.)
Missouri ELL Certification requires three pre-requisite courses (if not already completed). Any needed pre-requisite courses should be taken as electives to ensure completion of both the master's degree and state certification.

Adult (ESL/EFL) Education Emphasis - Online TESL Candidates
TESL Rotation 4.png
*Although Adult (ESL/EFL) Education Emphasis candidates are only required to take either TESL 5710 Grammar for ESL/EFL Teachers or TESL 5720 Teaching English Pronunciation, only TESL 5710 is available online (during the Fall 2 term). We also strongly recommend TESL 5730 Materials Development for Language Classrooms as an elective course during the summer. (CBX is Credit by Exam.)


For the Kansas City Metropolitan Campus please see the Graduate Education Programs schedule.


TESL candidates should focus on required courses and courses toward Advancement to Candidacy at the beginning of their program to prevent a hold from being placed on their account. Following the above charts will help meet this requirement.


Upcoming Course Schedules

The links below will pull up PDFs of all of the TESL courses and possible electives available for TESL degree and certificate programs (requires Acrobat Reader).



Courses Offered in the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Program

All classes are three credit hours unless otherwise noted. See the schedules and syllabi page to view when courses will be offered.


Core TESL Courses


TESL 5030 Language History, Planning and Policy (formerly Historical Linguistics)
This course looks at natural language change and then applies those theories to language diversity in the United States. Important laws, policies, and language planning are covered, including English Only policies, the Ebonics controversy, and bilingual education. Students will write their own language policies for a school and write about the effects of linguistic diversity in today’s classroom.
[Required course for K-12 ELL Track, Adult Education Track, and Missouri ESOL Certificate. Fulfills the elective for the TEFL Certificate.]

TESL 5040 Practicum in ESOL
This practicum provides supervised field experience for students enrolled in this program. Reflective thought, observation, discussion, and actual teaching will be used to expand participants’ teaching skills. Classroom participation includes observation, interaction, record keeping, and analysis of specific strengths and needs of English language learners. Strategies and activities are designed to meet the instructional needs of individual students. Participants will also focus on interpreting and recommending curriculum materials and methods to encourage and help English language learners become proficient in their new language. Prerequisite: candidacy.
[Required course for K-12 ELL Track, Adult Education Track, Missouri ESOL Certificate, and TEFL Certificate.]

TESL 5139 English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Methods
Methods of Teaching Languages - This course develops understanding and appreciation for the nature of languages and language teaching and learning. Participants study the most recent developments in teaching techniques and materials, and become involved in on-site activities using them. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
[Required course for K-12 ELL Track, Adult Education Track, Missouri ESOL Certificate, and TEFL Certificate.]

TESL 5220 Curriculum Development in Second Language Classrooms
Participants will apply a curriculum planning process to the second language classroom. The planning will be based on local standards and legal requirements, informal assessment of children’s language, analysis and adaptation of published materials, and the creation of materials to meet identified needs.
[Fulfills requirement for K-12 ELL Track, Adult Education Track, Missouri ESOL Certificate, and TEFL Certificate.]

TESL 5230 Second Language Acquisition
Participants explore theories and models of second language acquisition. They learn about the emotional, social, and intellectual implications of the process of learning a second language. Students will analyze and compare first and second language acquisition and apply strategies related to second language learning in a cross-cultural setting.
[Required course for K-12 ELL Track, Adult Education Track, Missouri ESOL Certificate, and TEFL Certificate.]

TESL 5311 Principles and Practices of Language Testing
This seminar introduces and analyzes different formats and types of language tests as a reflection of varied linguistic contexts, language teaching and language acquisition goals. Assessment techniques, practices and procedures are discussed in close relation to test validity and effectiveness. The class also covers the design, writing and administration of assessments. Prerequisite: Theories in SLA OR teaching experience OR consent of instructor.
[Required course for K-12 ELL Track and Adult Education Track. Fulfills the elective for the Missouri ESOL Certificate, and TEFL Certificate.]

TESL 5350 Language and Culture (formerly Intercultural Communications)
Culture greatly affects communication and the kind of language used in various situations. This course focuses on both the different styles of communication found across different cultures and the strategies that speakers use when communicating within their own culture. Special attention is paid to the role of Pragmatics and the use of “politeness strategies” in communication. Students will develop classroom materials that will help learners acquire the pragmatics skills they need to be successful communicators today.
[Required course for K-12 ELL Track, Adult Education Track, Missouri ESOL Certificate, and TEFL Certificate.]

TESL 5710 Grammar for ESL/EFL Teachers (formerly COMM 5750 Special Institute: Grammar for ESL/EFL Teachers)
This course introduces modern English grammar, as well as modalities of including it in the day-to-day language instruction. It is designed to provide the adult ESL/EFL teacher with a knowledge base of various English structures, with regard to syntax (i.e., form), semantics (i.e., meaning), and pragmatics (i.e., use). Special emphasis is given to the development of fun, communicative and interactive lesson plans and activities, which target specific grammar points while meeting various test standards (e.g., Show-Me and TOEFL). Theory and research is concentrated in the areas of SLA, Methodology, and Assessment.
[Required course option for the Adult Education Track. Fulfills the elective for the K-12 ELL Track, Missouri ESOL Certificate, and TEFL Certificate.]

TESL 5720 Teaching English Pronunciation (formerly COMM 5750 Special Institute: Teaching English Pronunciation)
Teaching English pronunciation to non-native speakers of English is often one of the most intimidating tasks facing an ESL teacher. This course takes students through the consonant and vowel systems of English, with focus on describing proper articulation and developing pedagogical materials. Special attention is paid "suprasegmental features" in English, which are the stress, rhythm, and intonation patterns that can more affect intelligibility. Students will design pronunciation materials and conduct a textbook analysis.
[Required course option for the Adult Education Track. Fulfills the elective for the K-12 ELL Track, Missouri ESOL Certificate, and TEFL Certificate.]

TESL 5730 Materials Development for Language Classrooms
This course introduces digital literacy and its application in language teaching. It assists candidates to create hands-on teaching materials for both face-to-face and online courses in language classrooms. The course focuses on creating mini-lessons using handouts, descriptive packets, cartoons, animations, movies, video games, YouTube, Vimeo, mobile apps, social networking sites, and other web-enhanced materials. The main emphasis is on using new technologies to create engaging teaching and learning activities. Candidates will develop a digital portfolio, which will be useful for their job interviews and conference presentations. The course should benefit all TESL candidates, Communication Arts students, and foreign language education candidates.
[Fulfills the elective for the Adult Education Track, K-12 ELL Track, Missouri ESOL Certificate, and TEFL Certificate.]

COMM 5270 Visual Communication
Students learn methods by which various types of information can be interpreted and presented visually. Because today's students can "read'' visual messages, just as they read written messages, educators must master the elements, structure, and tools provided to develop visual materials. Creation of video activities for the classroom and mastering basic video production techniques are emphasized.
[Required course option for the K-12 ELL Track.]

COMM 5530 Technology and Teaching
This course is a non-technical approach to the study of technologies and communications related to teaching and training. Students learn how home, school, and business are affected by technology. Primary emphasis is on the direct application of current technology to educational settings and specific teaching objectives.
[Required course option for the K-12 ELL Track.]



Other Possible Elective Courses


COMM 5050 Community College Reading/ABE/ESOL
The focus is on teaching in literacy programs or community college courses designed to improve the reading skills of adults. Strategies range from teaching the adult learner to decode to facilitating growth in higher levels of comprehension and critical thinking. The emphasis will be on needs of adult learners who may have had limited encounters with reading text for information and entertainment. Course prepares instructors to work with groups in ESL/EFL reading-writing classes and tutorial sessions in colleges, universities, and community programs.

COMM 5199 Teaching Writing
Students will study current theories and practices of teaching writing as well as review the history of rhetoric. Based on contemporary theory and classroom realities, students will practice designing writing assignments, organizing courses and activities for writing, and assessing writing. They will also experience the actual process of composing by designing a writing process project.

COMM 5280 Written Communication
Students experience writing as a process of discovery as they improve their writing skills. Exercises designed to focus on various purposes, occasions, and audiences help writers examine clarity, organization, style, and word precision.

COMM 5340 Language Arts Seminars
Students become involved in a wide variety of activities designed to enhance the teaching of language arts in their classrooms. The courses listed under this course number are representatives of the workshop topics; other workshop topics are included in different semesters.
  • Advanced Storytelling Across the Curriculum
    Storytelling is a way of using drama in the classroom through literature, creative movement, music, sound, and improvisation to develop interdisciplinary thematic units. Experiences are designed especially for teachers of pre-kindergarten through high school. Prerequisite: Storytelling Across the Curriculum or equivalent.
  • Creative Expression
    Participants explore a variety of art forms, including mime, mask, visual arts, improvisation, creative drama, movement, music, storytelling, writing, and poetry. Several art forms are blended for multimedia presentations.
  • Developing Language Skills through Puppetry
    In this course students have a chance to explore many methods of using puppetry in the classroom. With the assistance of skilled resource people, students become actively involved in the creative process of puppet making, puppet manipulation, and curriculum planning and presentation.
  • Extending Literature through the Arts
    Students explore oral interpretation, reader’s theatre, story theatre, creative drama (improvisation, storytelling, movement, music), writing, and film/video as they discover ways to bring literature for young people to life. Participants incorporate interdisciplinary, thematic approaches to literature to enrich curriculum K-12.
  • Media Literacy
    What messages are being conveyed through the channels of mass communication? How do these messages affect our behavior? Media literacy has emerged as an established field of study within the international academic community. This course prepares students to become discerning and selective consumers of media and explores exciting ways of discussing media in the K-12 classroom.
  • Oral Interpretation of Literature
    Through exploration and preparation of selections for oral presentation, students experience sensory and intellectual responses to literature. Lab sessions, group readings, and individual performances aim to develop the understanding and skills to communicate literature orally.
  • Storytelling Across the Curriculum
    This course enables students to polish their storytelling skills as they develop a repertoire of material from a variety of genres: personal and original stories, folk fairy tales, literary tales, myths, and sagas. This course focuses on storytelling as performance art, often using movement, music, mime, puppets, story theatre, visual arts, and other media. Students also explore and document uses of storytelling as a motivational classroom teaching tool and design interdisciplinary thematic storytelling units.
  • Teaching Language and Language Issues
    This course presents some of the various divisions in the field of linguistics from phonology and grammar to doublespeak, including speech theory and oral performance. Films, readings, and oral presentations will be the academic foundations for the study of linguistics in this class. Students will also create instructional activities that are designed to make their students more aware and proficient in the use of language.
  • Teaching the Language Arts with Computers (2)
    Students learn methods of using computers to support instruction in the development of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and observation skills. Participants discuss small group, whole class, and individualized applications.
  • Technology and Thinking Skills (2-3)
    This is a course on developing students’ thinking skills using new video and computer technologies. These technologies include interactive video, expert systems, and software, with emphasis on equipment and software available in most schools. Concepts and strategies for using these technologies in developing critical and creative thinking are examined. Previous experience with the technologies is not necessary.
  • Workshop in Drama (2)
    Participants are actively involved throughout the three major phases of the course: (1) pre-drama activities that expand sensory and body awareness, concentration, imagination, and nonverbal communication; (2) informal, spontaneous drama; and (3) the use of drama as response to literature.
  • Writing and Composition Instruction Using Computers (2)
    Students in this course examine methods for applying word processors and other computer programs to support writing and composition instruction. Students discuss organizing instruction in laboratory or classroom settings.
  • Writing for Teachers and Young Readers (2)
    This class for teachers interested in writing for children focuses on how autobiographical material and life experiences can be transformed into fiction and nonfiction. The course combines lectures, hands-on experience with writing activities, and group discussion. The course focuses on material for middle grade and young adult readers. Tools and strategies for encouraging creative writing and inspiration in the classroom are provided.

COMM 5344 Introduction to Linguistics (formerly Contemporary Linguistics)
This courses provides and overview to the field of Linguistics and its many subfields. Students will gain a stronger appreciation of language and a better understanding of research concerning human language. Course content is then related to today’s classrooms and the implications these theories might have on learners today.

COMM 5750 Special Institute (2-3)
Webster offers various institutes to provide a wide range of workshop experiences and contemporary topics within the communications arts program. Detailed current information appears in the specific semester course offerings. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

COMM 5820 Foundations in Reading Instruction (2-3)
The focus is on reading methods and specific techniques appropriate for emergent readers and developmental readers in elementary grades. A review of best practices in reading instruction, based on both current research and practice, informs graduate students so they can provide instruction for diverse learners at all levels. This course offers a solid background in reading instruction for students who have not had prior coursework in reading.

EPSY 5490 Seminars in Immigrant and Refugee Studies
Seminars in Immigrant and Refugee Experiences are designed to focus on contemporary research and application. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

EPSY 5510 Psychosocial Aspects of Migration
This course examines the psychosocial aspects of migration. Students learn to identify the needs of immigrant and refugee children and families, and how to help these families adapt to living in new environments.

SPED 5030 Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities
This course focuses on the identification and characteristics of students with mild/moderate disabilities, including learning disabilities, mental retardation, emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disorders, and other heath impairments. Prerequisite: SPED 5860.

SPED 5318 Global Issues in Special Education (2-3)
This required course will introduce students to current issues in special education on a global level. Students select and explore a current issue in special education, based on a focused review of published literature. Examples of issues may include: inclusion, discipline, identification and classification, national assessments, curriculum standards. International perspectives to the selected issue are researched using published literature and reports, electronic contacts and the Internet. Students are expected to culminate their coursework by developing a reflective plan for further specialization in their graduate studies.

SPED 5330 Legal Issues in Special Education
Students review the laws governing special education at the federal and state levels. The course covers the interpretive framework encompassing recent judicial decisions that emphasize inclusion.

SPED 5414 Children and Youth with Learning and Academic Disorders
This course examines current knowledge and theory of the educational, sociocultural, psychological, and biological factors that influence children and youth with, or at risk for, academic disorders. The course content focuses on current issues and practices regarding characteristics, identification, and placements specific to this population of students with learning disabilities or mental retardation.

SPED 5480 Learning and Behavior Problems in the Classroom
This course updates classroom teachers on effective teaching practices and strategies designed specifically for students with learning and behavior problems. Focus is placed on strategies that enhance the success of all students in the regular education setting, including elementary, middle, and high school.


Special Note on Electives: Other School of Education classes may count as electives for your MATESL degree. Please contact your adviser with the course name, course description, and a reason why you believe this course will help you in the field of TESL to seek approval.

[Top of page]