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

Program Overview

The mission of the English as a Second Language program at Rider University is to provide the skills, attitudes and understandings necessary to teach non-native speakers of English in order for them to achieve their greatest potential through education for life.

This Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Program in English as a Second Language is designed for college graduates seeking initial teacher certification.  The streamlined, rigorous, and sequential program of professional studies combines the best of theory, research, and practice.  It is designed for part-time students who take one or two late afternoon/evening courses per semester.  The clinical experience (student teaching and seminar) at the end of the program requires full-time enrollment for one semester.

The course work in this program counts toward completion of the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT).

Curriculum Overview

The Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Program in English as a Second Language is a 24 credit graduate program requiring five courses taken in late afternoons/evenings followed by a full semester of full-time student teaching. 

Certificate Offered

  • ESL Certification


Kathleen Pierce, Ph.D.
Professor and Director of Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certificate and Master of Arts (MAT) Programs
Memorial Hall 202

María Villalobos-Buehner, PhD.   
Associate Professor of Spanish, ESL, Bilingual, and World Language Education
Fine Arts 354

Program Website: ESL Certification
Associated Department: Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling

Related Programs

English as a Second Language / ESL (K-12) Certificate Requirements

(24 credits)

CURR 548Curriculum and Instruction for Diverse Learners3
CURR 700Educational Foundations for Inclusive Practices3
CURR 770Clinical Experience and Seminar in Teaching9
or CURR 771 Supervised Clinical Experience in Teaching
EDUC 520Introduction to Linguistics and Psycholinguistics3
EDUC 521Teaching a Second Language3
LITR 508Literacy and the Bilingual/Bicultural Child3
Total Credits24

Additional requirements for completion

  • Completion of all courses before the clinical experience (student teaching) with a “C+” or better in each course and with a 3.0 grade point average.
  • Completion of CURR 770 or CURR 771 with a “C+” grade or better.

Courses and Descriptions

CURR 700 Educational Foundations for Inclusive Practices 3 Credits

This course provides psychological and interdisciplinary perspectives on teaching and learning. Within the theme of optimal development of creative intelligence, and in concordance with important NJ and national professional standards, candidates will use these perspectives to begin their career-long processes of reflective professional development. More specifically, the course develops knowledge, skills, and dispositions pertinent to (a) child and adolescent development, (b) learning theories, (c) learner diversity, (d) classroom management, (e) career readiness skills, (f) philosophical and historical perspectives on education, (g) sociocontextual and interdisciplinary influences on education, and (h) higher-order, creative and critical thinking. The emphases on student development and learner diversity entail in-depth investigation of the following subtopics: the philosophical, legal, and historical foundations of special education; the characteristics of students with disabilities and learning strengths; inclusive practices; professional partnerships for support of diverse learners; and strategies for modification of curriculum content and materials aligned to NJ Student Learning Standards, learning environments and processes, and learning products for students with disabilities and strengths.

CURR 548 Curriculum and Instruction for Diverse Learners 3 Credits

This course will examine the curricular and instructional issues that educational leaders must address in accommodating the school program to the needs and abilities of diverse learners. A historical perspective will be developed with an emphasis on how schools have responded to meet the needs of the exceptional child. Legal issues and programmatic trends will be examined and assessed since the inception of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Multicultural issues will be introduced within the context of school and society. The responsibility of the educational leader in fostering a multicultural perspective pertaining to curriculum and instruction, governance, bias and prejudice and school climate and culture will be emphasized. Students will identify and develop curricular possibilities and solutions in school settings to accommodate learners’ diverse needs. Students will demonstrate course understandings through actual classroom and school applications that are referenced to state adopted core curriculum content standards and professional development standards, the Standards for School Leaders of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium, and the candidate proficiencies developed by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council.

Prerequisite(s): CURR 531 and CURR 538.

EDUC 520 Introduction to Linguistics and Psycholinguistics 3 Credits

This course provides an introduction to the properties of human languages and to their systematic study in the field of linguistics and psycholinguistics. Topics include the nature of human language as distinct from other communication systems; sound patterns (phonology), word-formation (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), and meaning (semantics) in the world's languages; relations to cognition, communication, and social organization; dialect variation and language standardization; language learning by children and adults; and the nature and history of writing systems. Intended for any undergraduate and graduate interested in language or its use. It is assumed that students have had no prior course work or exposure to linguistics and will begin with the basic assumptions that are shared by those who study language from a variety of perspectives. Students analyze their own speech patterns, investigate different speech acts in different languages and develop a research project using a linguistic construct in order to apply it to the second language classroom. Students present this project in a poster format to the university community at the end of the semester.

EDUC 521 Teaching a Second Language 3 Credits

This course focuses on interactive methods of teaching a new language as well as cross-cultural understanding. Students learn to plan using national and state standards for language instruction, organize activities, design and direct language learning tasks, and assess learning. Includes theoretical positions on communicative language learning and teaching, the use and evaluation of currently used materials, the design of new materials, and field experiences in the language to be taught. Students develop their professional portfolio, participate in an E-seminar, prepare a unit of study, and present lesson segments. Open to prospective world language teachers, ESL and bilingual teachers, as well as practicing teachers seeking certification. *NOTE: This course is cross-listed as READ 517. Students cannot get credit for both READ 517 and EDUC 521.

LITR 508 Literacy and the Bilingual/Bicultural Child 3 Credits

Presents multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives on bilingual/bicultural children and their reading process. Strategies and materials for second language reading instruction are suggested and discussed.

CURR 770 Clinical Experience and Seminar in Teaching 9 Credits

This course, designed for those seeking initial certification, requires full-time supervised daily participation in a school setting with diverse students including students with disabilities. The candidate gradually assumes a full load of teaching responsibility. These experiences test and strengthen the translation of educational theory and research into meaningful practice. An on-campus or site-based seminar accompanies the clinical experience. Seminars emphasize reflective development toward professionalism through sharing and analyses of experiences, and in-depth reports on teaching learners with disabilities and instructional modifications employed to meet their needs. Additional analyses of student learning and reflective assignments require candidates to connect their clinical experiences with content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge from prior course work. The clinical experience is augmented with a series of additional seminars, which include the following: introductory/orientation seminars prior to the beginning of the semester; strategies for designing inclusive education practices and positive behavioral supports, assistive technology for diverse learners, transition planning, and agencies available for students with disabilities; classroom management strategies; awareness of methods for strengthening student achievement and career readiness, panel sessions with veteran teachers who graduated from this program; panel sessions with principals and superintendents who provide advice about long-term professional development; interviews with special education teachers who provide advice about meeting the needs of students with disabilities; and wrap-up reflective sessions at the conclusion of the semester.

Prerequisite(s): CURR 704, CURR 705, CURR 706, CURR 707, CURR 715 and (BSED 530 or ECED 550) or Permission of instructor.

CURR 771 Supervised Clinical Experience in Teaching 9 Credits

The Supervised Clinical Experience in Teaching is available only to candidates seeking initial teacher certification and who currently work full-time teaching. Candidates may apply to the program for Supervised Clinical Experience in Teaching by providing evidence of successful, full-time teaching experience, planning, and evaluation. Once approved, candidates continue teaching within the appropriate certification area and under university supervision for a semester.

Prerequisite(s): CURR 704, CURR 705, CURR 706, CURR 707, CURR 715 and (BSED 530 or ECED 550) or Permission of instructor.