Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

The teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) program provides a foundation for studying languages and how they are learned, as well as practical experience with teaching English. Being an interdisciplinary minor, you will be introduced to the fields of linguistics, sociolinguistics and applied linguistics, where you’ll explore how languages have developed, how they are structured and how they are used in real-life situations. You will also investigate how learners learn first and second languages and study principles and methods of language teaching in different cultural and societal contexts, both from a historical perspective and in terms of current practices.

Through this program, you will combine your experiences in studying abroad and in speaking a second language with your interests in linguistics and the study of language learning and teaching.

Preparing for language-related careers

Effective communication, language learning, language teaching and the interaction of language and culture are especially appropriate topics of study for Earlham students interested in fostering understanding among people throughout the world.

Earlham is an ideal place for you to prepare for possible careers in language-related fields. Earlham’s commitment to international education, its wide-ranging off-campus study programs and its cross-cultural orientation make it a special place to bring together the study of language, cultural understanding, language learning and teaching.

Off-campus study

You can practice teaching English while participating in a variety of off-campus programs. Past destinations have included Japan, Spain, and China among others.

Learn more

Career preparation

TESOL minors commonly major in a language, comparative languages and linguistics, Japan studies or education via the M.A.T. 3+1 program, which prepares you to pursue employment teaching abroad and domestically or TESOL certificates and master’s programs in related fields.

Learn more about the 3+1 program

Our faculty

Earlham’s TESOL faculty have extensive experience teaching English at many levels, including at Earlham, and present regularly at local and international TESOL conferences on a variety of topics. As an interdisciplinary minor, there are also courses offered by faculty members from the Departments of Languages and Cultures, Education and Psychology.

Program details

As a TESOL minor, you will have opportunities to learn about language teaching principles and methods, and gain practical experience with teaching English through a required field study. Some of the opportunities to gain practical experience will be through community-based programs such as English as a Second Language (ESL) and/or programs abroad such as English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

You may also have on-campus opportunities to serve as a teaching assistant to language instructors in the classroom or tutor language learners through Earlham’s Academic Enrichment Center.


As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which you will cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects you to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of your general education, you will complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, you will meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

To earn a minor in TESOL, you must complete the following courses:

  • One language course at the 300-level or above in the language of your choice OR
    demonstrated proficiency in a second language
  • Participation in an international study program (International students may be exempt.)
  • Three core courses and the Field Study course:
    • TESO 344 Studies in Language Learning and Teaching
    • TESO 345 Linguistics OR another language’s Linguistics course offering (i.e., Spanish, Japanese, Chinese or other) — This course may be taken during off-campus study.
    • TESO 348 Sociolinguistics OR an equivalent course — This course may be taken during off-campus study.
    • TESO 383 Field Study/Practicum (3 credits are expected)
  • One of the following elective courses:
    • CLL 407 (FREN, GER, JAPN or SPAN 407) Translation: Theory and Practice
    • CLL 340 Psycholinguistics
    • EDUC 120 Foundations of Education
    • EDUC/CIL 248 Theory and Practice of Education
    • JAPN 422 Japanese Linguistics
    • JAPN 430 Japanese Language in Social Context
    • JAPN 431 Literacy in Japanese
    • PSYC 230 Human Development
    • PSYC 366 Cradle and Grave
    • SPAN 406 Topics in Linguistics

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Yes! In fact, with the exception of students who already have international experience, one of the TESOL minor requirements is to study off campus. Many students who have studied in Japan, Spain, or France, for example, returned to those countries to teach English.

Learn more about available programs via our Center for Global and Career Education.

If you’re considering a career as a language teacher, the TESOL minor will provide you with the skills and experiences you need to move forward in your career—whether that means graduate school in TESOL or linguistics, or a career in education, international business or nonprofits.

Next steps

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.