You can complete the ESOL endorsement and/or minor as part of the undergraduate teacher licensure program, a graduate teacher licensure program, or as an add-on endorsement (if you already have a teaching license). The information below is for students in the undergraduate teacher licensure program.  If you are not in our undergraduate teacher licensure program, but instead, have a different undergraduate major, you can still pursue the ESOL minor, but you will not get a teaching endorsement.  Students pursuing the minor without the endorsement will not need to pass the ESOL NES exam or complete an ESOL practicum.   For information about the endorsement for graduate students or teachers who already have a license, see Graduate Program ESOL Endorsement.

What does it mean to have an ESOL Endorsement?

When you graduate, in addition to your degree and Oregon teaching license, you’ll have an ESOL endorsement added to your license. This is an additional credential that means you have specialized knowledge and skills to teach emergent bilingual learners, which will make you highly marketable. It also means that you can teach English language development as a content area.

Why should I consider the ESOL endorsement?

  • English Learners (ELs) represent 10% of the total K-12 student population in the S. (US Department of Education, 2018)
  • In Oregon, ELs represent between 7% and 10% of the total school In the Salem-Keizer School District, ELs comprise 15.9% (US Department of Education, 2018)
  • There is currently a national shortage of EL teachers (Mitchell, 2018)
  • An ESOL endorsement will give you the credentials and skills to serve your future EL students
  • An ESOL endorsement will also make you a better teacher in general, by giving you valuable tools to differentiate instruction and the rationale to understand all your students
  • You do not need to know another language to take the ESOL courses

What are the requirements for the ESOL endorsement?

You will need to take six courses, pass a test, and take the ESOL practicum. You will need to plan ahead and take your classes early enough to make sure you fit in all the requirements by the time you graduate. A recommended schedule is below.

Sophmore Year

  • ED 481 Introduction to ESOL and Bilingual Education (prerequisite for all other ESOL courses)
  • ED 482 Foundations of ESOL/Bilingual Education

Junior Year

  • ED 483 Culture, Community and the ESOL/Bilingual Classroom
  • ED 484 First and Second Language Acquisition and Educational Linguistics
  • ED 491 Curriculum Models, Instructional Approaches and Assessment Strategies for ELs

Senior Year

  • Term 1: ED 492 Classroom Strategies for English Language Development in ESOL and Bilingual Settings
  • Term 2: *Pass ESOL ORELA-NES exam
  • Term 3: *ED 409 ESOL Practicum

* ESOL ORELA-NES exam and ED409 ESOL Practicum are not required for students who are not pursuing a teaching endorsement in ESOL.

Course Descriptions

The following courses are the core curriculum of 21 hours. Each course must be passed with a B- or higher to be applicable towards the ESOL endorsement.

ED 481 Introduction to ESOL and Bilingual Education (3 credits)
This course provides an introduction to the field of ESOL and bilingual education. In addition to
offering an overview of the principles of second language acquisition, this course explores
classroom practices that allow English language learners at different proficiency levels to access
grade-level content while developing skills in academic and social language.
Note: Successful completion of ED 481 with a B- or better is a prerequisite for all other courses.

ED 482 Foundations of ESOL/Bilingual Education (3 credits)
This course surveys the historical development of ESOL/bilingual education. It provides insights
into government policy and legal aspects of ESOL/bilingual education as well as research, theory
and classroom implications. Emphasis is placed on the philosophy of ESOL/bilingual education in
a sociopolitical and cross-cultural context.

ED 483 Culture, Community and the ESOL/Bilingual Classroom (3 credits)
This course explores the concept of culture and its manifestation in society, the community and
the classroom. It examines the research literature and it provides a theoretical foundation for
understanding how cultural groups and students’ identities affect the educational process and
the classroom climate. Strategies to maximize learning using cultural and community resources,
as well as to build partnerships with families, are addressed.

ED 484 First and Second Language Acquisition and Educational Linguistics (3 credits)
This course explores current theory and research in first and second language acquisition and
issues in linguistics applied to ESOL/bilingual education. Topics in language acquisition include
historical and current theories, developmental stages, as well as the factors that influence
learning an additional language. Topics in educational linguistics include concepts inphonology,
morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, with a focus on classroom applications.

ED 491 Curriculum Models, Instructional Approaches and Assessment Strategies for
English Language Learners (3 credits)
This course examines current curriculum models, materials, teaching approaches and
assessment techniques that maximize the academic achievement of English language learners. It
emphasizes strategies related to planning, implementing, and managing instruction that enable
students in different proficiency levels to access the core curriculum and develop language skills.

ED 492 Classroom Strategies for English Language Development in ESOL and Bilingual
Settings (3 credits)
Theory, methods and strategies for teaching English Language Development (ELD) in ESOL and
bilingual settings. Emphasizes techniques for teaching the four language skills, language
functions, meaningful grammatical forms, and vocabulary through content-based lessons.

ED 409 ESOL/Bilingual Practicum (3 credits)
This course provides practical teaching experience in a field setting with English Language
Learners (ELLs). Students receive instruction through observation and guidance from an on-site
mentor teacher and a WOU faculty supervisor.

NOTE: ED409 is not required for students who are pursuing just the ESOL minor, and not the ESOL teaching endorsement.

ESOL ORELA-NES Exam Preparation

  • Review an outline of the content you need to learn to pass your ESOL exam.
  • Check out the study guide from the library or purchase your own (you will need to be logged into your WOU Portal to access this study guide).
  • To access a more in depth study guide on Canvas, log into your WOU Portal, click on the Canvas icon, then select “Commons” and search for ESOL ORELA NES TEST.
  • Register for your ESOL exam.


If you would like to add the ESOL minor and/or endorsement to your academic plan, please contact one of our pre-education advisors, Olivia Flores or Kolbie Kopp.  For more detailed information about our ESOL program, please contact our Program Coordinator, Jessica Dougherty.


If you are Bilingual in Spanish and English, and would like to learn more about the Bilingual Teacher Scholars Program contact the program coordinator Dr. Maria Dantas-Whitney (