College of Education & Professional Studies


Minor and Licensure

In our diverse society, many K-12 students are not just learning new ideas and information — they’re coming from many language backgrounds and learning English as a new language at the same time. That’s why ESL teachers and bilingually licensed teachers are in high demand in Wisconsin and across the nation.

One of the most rewarding benefits of being an ESL / Bilingual teacher is helping bilingual learners succeed academically and socially. Also, this background can help you serve as an advocate for your students and their families. 

Adding a minor in ESL / Bilingual Education to your major course of study will give you a valuable edge as you begin your teaching career. 



Why study ESL / Bilingual Education at UW-Whitewater?

14% of urban public school enrollment in the United States is composed of multilingual learners.

5.4% of K-12 students in Wisconsin are English learners or multilingual learners.

3.79 million English learners consider Spanish their home language.

The ESL / Bilingual Education minor was designed to give you a foundation in teaching linguistically and culturally diverse students. Our program focuses on linguistic, psychological, and sociocultural issues affecting students learning English as an additional language.

This minor will also prepare you to add a valuable supplemental license to your primary license area, such as elementary education or a world language. 

Preparing for ESL / Bilingual-Bicultural Education licensure at UW-Whitewater also gives you access to: 

  • Wisconsin Instructional Technology Resource Center, which houses computer labs, virtual reality experiences, and more
  • An array of program-specific scholarships available to incoming and current students
  • A dedicated librarian who specializes in education
  • Professional development opportunities such as the Wisconsin Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages conference and Wisconsin Association for Bilingual Education conference

What our ESL / Bilingual Education students do

Gain first-hand teaching experience in diverse classrooms

Pursue research with faculty mentors

Student teach abroad

Field study and cross-cultural experiences

As part of this minor program, you’ll participate in ESL and bilingual field experiences through an elementary, middle or high school placement. These field experiences are coordinated with other required field experiences and directed student teaching in your major.

Our students have the opportunity to student teach abroad at two partner sites in Mexico: Guanajuato or Oaxaca. Other international student teaching opportunities can take education majors to Ecuador, Jamaica and Sweden.

Campus and community involvement

Our students are active on campus and in the community in many ways: 

Undergraduate research
Many of our students work with our faculty members as part of the Undergraduate Research Program or Research Apprenticeship Program

Service learning
As part of their required field-based experiences, our students work with multilingual learners in classrooms around the region. 

Student organizations
Students minoring in ESL / Bilingual Education might be interested in campus organizations such as: 

What our graduates do

ESL / bilingual classroom teacher in the U.S.

EFL classroom teacher abroad

English language teacher to adults

ESL education jobs: Career success

Our graduates have found employment in K-12 schools throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota, and in English teaching programs abroad. 

UW-Whitewater alumni have attended graduate schools such as: 

  • UW-Madison
  • UW-Milwaukee
  • Edgewood College
  • University of Southern California

Our faculty

Our knowledgeable, approachable faculty members have all taught ESL and/or Bilingual Education in the schools or with adult learners. Many of our faculty members have been involved with multi-year research projects focusing on the professional development of teachers, some for up to 10 years. 

Also of note, all of our faculty members have either lived or taught abroad in places such as Austria, Ecuador, Germany, Russia and Spain. 

Meet our faculty »

Want to learn more about becoming an ESL / bilingual teacher or studying ESL / Bilingual Education at UW-Whitewater? Contact us »

Students who declare a minor in Bilingual or ESL Education are typically working either toward a Bachelor of Science in Education or toward a Bachelor of Arts degree in a specific major and wish to add a supplemental license. 

Options within our minor include:

  • Teaching English K-12 (licensure)
  • Teaching English Bilingual-Bicultural (licensure)
  • Teaching English to Adults (non-licensure)

To complete the minor, you’ll take required courses such as: 

  • Introduction to ESL and Bilingual-Bicultural Education
  • Survey of Educational Linguistics
  • Critical Perspectives on Bilingual Learners in Schools
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • ESL Methods and Curriculum
  • Teaching Content in the Bilingual Classroom

Explore full minor requirements

To apply, you’ll complete the UW-Whitewater application for admission and indicate your major and minor of interest.  

Apply Now

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