New TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Minor

From Dr. Jennifer Ewald,

What is TESOL? 

TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.  SJU offers a 6-course TESOL minor that provides essential training for the challenging task of teaching the English language at home or abroad in private language schools, bilingual education programs, community centers, and in other contexts that do not require state certification. 

What is the difference between TESOL and Linguistics? 

Linguistics is often divided into two broad fields:  theoretical linguistics and applied linguistics.  TESOL is considered to be a subset of the field of applied linguistics, a field that also includes specializations such as sociolinguistics, translation, and forensic linguistics, among others.  An understanding of the ways in which languages are used, the field of language acquisition, and principles of language teaching methodology constitute potential areas of overlap between what is studied by students of linguistics and students of TESOL.  A minor in TESOL incorporates important pedagogical training that prepares students to teach English with both cultural and linguistic sensitivity. 

Does a TESOL minor provide certification to teach ESL in the Pennsylvania or New Jersey school system?  No. 

Completion of a TESOL minor does not certify students to teach ESL and does not award any kind of teaching credentials.  It does provide undergraduate students with a background in TESOL that would prepare them to apply for related fellowships, serve the community in various ESL-related positions, and demonstrate some level of undergraduate study of TESOL that would improve their application to related graduate level programs.

Could a TESOL minor go on to pursue graduate degrees in TESOL and an English teaching career?

Yes.  After completing a TESOL minor, a student could pursue certification in ESL (check with the SJU Education Department for more information regarding state requirements) or apply to graduate level MA and PhD programs in TESOL. 

Could a student double minor in both TESOL and another discipline (e.g., English, Linguistics, Education, Psychology, Biology, Spanish, International Business, etc.)?

Absolutely.  Check with Dr. Jennifer Ewald ( for more information.

What do all the related acronyms represent? 

The field of English language teaching uses many acronyms including the following:

TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

TESL – Teaching English as a Second Language

TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language

ESL – English as a Second Language (specifically in an English-speaking context such as Australia, Great Britain, the United States, etc.)

EFL – English as a Foreign Language (specifically in a context where English is not a native language such as Chile, Japan, Thailand, etc.) 

SL – second language (any language a person learns after his/her first language)

FL – foreign language (a language not native in the country in which it is learned)


 A TESOL minor requires 6 courses including the following:

1.  LIN 201 English Grammar for TESOL           

2.  LIN 301 Teaching Language At Home and Abroad

3.  LIN 490 English Language Teaching Internship

4.  Any 3 additional courses selected from the following options:

                    LIN 101 or 150

                    LIN 280

                    LIN 320

                    LIN 340

                    LIN 317 or 401

                    EDU 246

 Related course titles:

LIN 101: Introduction to Linguistics

LIN 150: Language, Communication and Culture

LIN 150: Language, Linguistics and the Real World

LIN 201: English Grammar for TESOL

LIN 280: Language Acquisition and Learning

LIN 320: Phonetics

LIN 301: Teaching Language at Home and Abroad

LIN 317: Sociolinguistics

LIN 340: Communication in Social Contexts:  Can You Hear Me Now?

LIN 401: Bilingualism and Language Diversity

LIN 490: Linguistics Internship (an English language teaching internship)

EDU 246: Literacy, Language and Culture