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English as a Second Language (ESL) K-12 Certification

Preparing educators for culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms.

The English as a Second Language (ESL) K-12 Certification program provides educators the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to address the needs of English Language Learners (ELLs) in a comprehensive program. Certificate candidates will learn to:

  • Apply knowledge of linguistics and the process of language acquisition to the planning, implementation, and management of ESL and content-area instruction.
  • Understand culture as it affects student learning.
  • Develop and use classroom-based and language proficiency assessment.
  • Cultivate professional relationships with colleagues, students, and families.

Kutztown University's Department of Secondary Education is accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to provide the English as a Second Language Program Specialist Certification. Our program has advanced CAEP level and has received Speciality Program Approval (SPA) by TESOL. 

For current ESL Certification students: Upon program completion, please use this linked checklist to complete the steps necessary to apply for and receive certification.

Program Requirements
Courses of Study - 15 Credits
  • EDU/MLS 428: Culture and Diversity of English Learners
  • EDU/MLS 434: Instructional Methodology for English Learners
  • EDU/MLS 435: Language Acquisition and English Linguistics
  • EDU 436: Assessment of English Learners
  • EDU 437: Protocols and Practices for PA ESL Programs

Courses taught on campus and online.

Admissions Requirements & Deadlines
  • Requirements:
    • Application: apply here
    • Official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities
    • Teaching Certification
    • Name and contact information of three references
  • Deadlines:
    • Fall semester: August 1st
    • Spring semester: December 1st
    • Summer sessions: May 1st
SPA TESOL Standards:
  • 5 Domains of Standards

    Domain 1 – Language: Candidates know, understand, and use the major theories and research related to the structure and acquisition of language to help English language learners (ELLs) develop language and literacy and achieve in the content areas.

    • 1a. Language as a System: Candidates demonstrate understanding of language as a system, including phonology, morphology, syntax, pragmatics and semantics, and support ELLs as they acquire English language and literacy in order to achieve in the content areas.
    • 1b. Language Acquisition and Development: Candidates understand and apply theories and research in language acquisition and development to support their ELLs English language and literacy learning and content-area achievement.

    Domain 2 – Culture: Candidates know, understand, and use major concepts, principles, theories, and research related to the nature and role of culture and cultural groups to construct supportive learning environments for ELLs.

    • Standard 2. Culture as it Affects Student Learning: Candidates know, understand, and use major theories and research related to the nature and role of culture in their instruction. They demonstrate understanding of how cultural groups and individual cultural identities affect language learning and school achievement

    Domain 3 – Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction: Candidates know, understand, and use evidence- based practices and strategies related to planning, implementing, and managing standards-based ESL and content instruction. Candidates are knowledgeable about program models and skilled in teaching strategies for developing and integrating language skills. They integrate technology as well as choose and adapt classroom resources appropriate for their ELLs.

    • 3a. Planning for Standards-Based ESL and Content Instruction: Candidates know, understand, and apply concepts, research, and best practices to plan classroom instruction in a supportive learning environment for ELLs. They plan for multilevel classrooms with learners from diverse backgrounds using standards-based ESL and content curriculum.
    • 3b. Implementing and Managing Standards-Based ESL and Content Instruction: Candidates know, manage, and implement a variety of standards-based teaching strategies and techniques for developing and integrating English listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Candidates support ELLs access to the core curriculum by teaching language through academic content.
    • 3c. Using Resources and Technology Effectively in ESL and Content Instruction: Candidates are familiar with a wide range of standards-based materials, resources, and technologies, and choose, adapt, and use them in effective ESL and content teaching.

    Domain 4 – Assessment: Candidates demonstrate understanding of issues and concepts of assessment and use standards-based procedures with ELLs.

    • 4a. Issues of Assessment for English Language Learners: Candidates demonstrate understanding of various assessment issues as they affect ELLs, such as accountability, bias, special education testing, language proficiency, and accommodations in formal testing situation.
    • 4b. Language Proficiency Assessment: Candidates know and can use a variety of standards-based language proficiency instruments to show language growth and to inform their instruction. They demonstrate understanding of their uses for identification, placement, and reclassification of ELLs.
    • 4c. Classroom-Based Assessment for ESL: Candidates know and can use a variety of performance-based assessment tools and techniques to inform instruction in the classroom.

    Domain 5 – Professionalism: Candidates keep current with new instructional techniques, research results, advances in the ESL field, and education policy issues and demonstrate knowledge of the history of ESL teaching. They use such information to reflect on and improve their instruction and assessment practices. Candidates work collaboratively with school staff and the community to improve the learning environment, provide support, and advocate for ELLs and their families.

    • 5a. ESL Research and History: Candidates demonstrate knowledge of history, research, educational public policy, and current practice in the field of ESL teaching and apply this knowledge to inform teaching and learning.
    • 5b. Professional Development, Partnerships and Advocacy: Candidates take advantage of professional growth opportunities and demonstrate the ability to build partnerships with colleagues and students’ families, serve as community resources, and advocate for ELLs.
How Can I Receive More Information?

If you would like more information on the ESL Program Specialist Certification, please request information via the Office of Graduate Admissions or send an email to ESL program coordinator Dr. Brenda Muzeta at muzeta@kutztown.edu


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