M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction: Teaching English as a Second Language




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In 2016, there were 26.1 million Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals above the age of five living in the United States. The MED program in TESL at UNC Charlotte is uniquely designed to prepare teachers to be second language education specialists, leaders in their schools, and advocates for English Learners (ELs) in their communities.  
If you have a passion for equity in education and for making sure students from immigrant communities are fully supported in schools, the M.Ed in Teaching English as a Second Language may be a good fit for you.

The M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction: Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is a 33-hour program designed to prepare teachers to work with K-12 learners in the public schools, adult ESL (English as a Second Language), and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students. The program allows those current teachers who already possess an “A” level license in another teaching discipline to receive K-12 licensure in ESL. The program includes a Master’s capstone research project or comprehensive portfolio.

[Note: Beginning Spring 2019, the M.Ed. in TESL will become a specialized concentration under the newly redesigned M.Ed. In Curriculum & Instruction in the Cato College of Education. We are currently accepting new applicants in the redesigned M.Ed. in C & I with a Concentration in Teaching English as a Second Language. Please contact the graduate program director for more information.]

Why choose our program?
  • Our faculty are nationally recognized, award-winning experts in the field. They have been recognized for their scholarship, excellence in teaching, sustained service to schools, community engagement and in their efforts to promote diversity at both the local and national levels. They are mentors for our students not only in coursework but also in writing grant proposals and in the research process.

  • M.Ed. coursework is available 100% online, which allows students flexibility in scheduling their studies and projects around work and other commitments.

  • Our students take content and pedagogically rich courses, which prepare them as leaders in curriculum, design, and delivery. Most students lead professional development workshops that focus on English Learners (ELs) in the schools and district where they teach. Our graduates co-teach and co-plan curricula that is culturally responsive and sustaining.

  • Students do community-engaged outreach projects that support students and families outside of the school environment. In the Charlotte area, for example, our students work closely with school partners as well as with after-school  and youth empowerment programs in the community.

  • Students are encouraged to substitute a study abroad experience for one of the M.Ed. courses. Our Office of Education Abroad can assist students in finding an international study option that fits your interest and training. Graduate students in TESL have opportunities to travel to China, Korea, Germany, South Africa, and India as part of already established UNCC College of Education faculty-led summer programs.

  • All teacher education programs at UNC Charlotte are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).  

Career Options

Teaching English as a second language is a high-demand area that continues to experience growth in schools across the country.  ESL is also identified as a high needs area in North Carolina as well as many other states. Currently, teacher candidates who enter programs in these high needs areas may qualify for loan forgiveness programs that can offset costs of tuition. Graduates may pursue careers in a number of areas such as:

  • Teachers in public or private K-12 schools

  • Lead teachers, teacher trainers or district leaders in ESL departments

  • Teachers in private language schools

  • ESL instructors in English language training institutes in community colleges or universities

  • Individual tutors in schools and homes

  • Teachers of ESL abroad in countries such as China, Japan, and Korea.

  • Positions with multinational companies

  • Instructors or program directors at non-profit organizations that serve immigrants and refugees

  • Consultants within federal and state government agencies


Student Opportunities

Graduate students in TESL are trained to design and deliver professional development to schools and have numerous opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research projects. These collaborations often lead to opportunities to present at national conferences and to become published in the field.

Embedded in our program is the opportunity for teacher candidates to work with families through clinical experience and internships.  Through these contacts, candidates understand the struggles that diverse communities have experienced and are equipped with the knowledge to become advocates for these students and families.

The Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure (TEAL) is an information and student success resource for current and potential teacher candidates. Their staff provides a variety of services such as: information on (and preparation resources for) testing required for program admission and teacher licensure, verification of program completion for teacher licensure, guidance surrounding the teacher licensure application process, and information on campus resources and scholarships/loans for education students.

The Center for Graduate Life provides the support and sense of community students need to meet the challenges they will face throughout their graduate experience. The Center offers workshops on topics like grant writing, presentation skills, publishing in scholarly journals, and understanding the academic job search. Virtual workshops are available online on subjects such as graduate academic writing and research writing at the graduate level.

The University Career Center provides services, programs, and support for students and alumni. Services include such options as an Education Career Fair held each spring semester, individual appointments with career advisors and the Hire-A-Niner online job and internship database. Southern Teachers Agency is a free placement service that helps recent graduates in their search for education jobs in PK-12 private and independent schools around the South.

Student Success Stories

Our graduates hold a variety of teaching positions in the Charlotte area, around the U.S. and in various countries.  Graduates are employed in a teaching in local and national K-12 schools and districts, community colleges, English language training institutes, local non-profit agencies, and in a variety of programs abroad (Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, and Egypt). Graduates who choose to stay in the area are highly recruited and have easily found employment at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Cabarrus County, Union County Schools, Kannapolis City, and other surrounding districts.

Lydia McAllister Fergison,a 2009 graduate of our program, is an example of our successful alumni. She is now the principal at one of the highest needs schools in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System. Click here to learn about her path to become a leader in her school system.

Faculty Accomplishments

Our faculty research efforts have garnered numerous grants to enhance the training of our students and provide services to the immigrant population. Faculty grants have supported such initiatives as: NC Quest grant to provide innovative professional development for teachers in three local high needs schools, a 3-year evaluation that explores the impact of OurBRIDGE on the Charlotte immigrant community, a research project that uses an interdisciplinary approach to preparing Spanish Teachers, a curriculum project designed to purposefully infuse diversity into coursework to prepare teacher candidates for K-12 urban classrooms throughout all programs within the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K12 Education.

Our faculty are passionate about teaching, their academic disciplines and their students. Faculty members also use their research and community service experience to bring new instructional methods and innovative educational trends into the classroom. Faculty members have received awards from the UNC Charlotte College of Education for Excellence in Research, Excellence in Teaching, Excellence in Diversity and for their Sustained Service to Public Schools. 

Are you ready to make a difference? If so, click here to learn more about the requirements for the M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction: Teaching English as a Second Language,  graduate student financial aid and the graduate application process. 

TESL Graduate Program Director
Lan Kolano, Ph.D., Professor of Education
Dept. of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education
Email: lan.kolano@uncc.edu
704-687-8713


Photo: James Nix/Independent Tribune