Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Academics | Earlham College
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Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages:
Preparing for Language-Related Careers

Overview   |   Opportunities   |   Outcomes   |   Our Faculty   |   Plan of Study   |   Courses  


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 students to prepare themselves for possible careers in language-related fields. Earlham's commitment to international education, its wide-ranging study-abroad programs and its cross-cultural orientation make it a special place to bring together the study of language, cultural understanding, language learning and teaching.

The Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Program provides a coherent framework for studying languages and learning about them. Students are introduced to the fields of linguistics, sociolinguistics and applied linguistics where they explore how languages have developed, how they are structured, and how they are used in real-life situations. Students also investigate how learners learn first and second languages, and study principles of language teaching in different cultural and societal contexts, both from a historical perspective and in terms of current practices. Students learn to develop teaching materials and work in community-based English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. They also have the opportunity to assist the language instructors in the classroom or tutor beginning language learners through Earlham's Academic Enrichment Center. With this program, students can combine their experiences in studying abroad and in speaking a second language with their interests in linguistics and the study of language learning and teaching.

TESOL students have pursued a variety of interests after graduation. Many who have participated in study-abroad programs in Germany, Austria, Japan, Mexico, Spain or Colombia, for example, return to those countries to teach English as a second language. Others participate in Earlham's Teaching English in Japan program for college graduates, a two-year experience of living and working in Iwate and Tochigi Prefectures. Some go on to obtain a teaching certificate and pursue the teaching of languages within the United States, either as ESL or as French, German, Japanese or Spanish teachers. Still others continue their study of language in graduate school, either in the field of TESOL or linguistics.

Special Learning Opportunities

Students can be Teaching Assistants in ESL courses or in other language courses for credit or for independent study within the minor.

Students often choose to teach English as a foreign language during these programs: SICE, Japan Study, Middle East/Jordan, Spain.

Our students gain work experience by assisting ESL students in the Writing Center, serving as  Teaching Assistants in ESL or foreign language classes, or tutoring students at the Amigos Latino Center or Richmond High School.


Earlham graduates with a minor in TESOL regularly receive teaching positions in the following programs: Morioka Assistant Language Teacher Program in Iwate, Japan, The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) in most prefectures in Japan and Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in countries around the world.

Graduate work in the field of TESOL or linguistics often lead to teaching positions around the world.

Our alumni work in international centers or study abroad centers at the college level. 

Other graduates have careers in international business.

Our Faculty

Safia Diarra
ELL Instructor & International Student Adviser

Candice Marshall
Director of International Student and Scholar Services

Cynthia Grinspan
Administrative Assistant

Plan of Study

The Minor

Students who wish to minor in the program complete:

  • One language course at the 300-level or above in the language of their 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 Second 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


* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

Combines theoretical foundations of second-language acquisition with practical classroom techniques and procedures. Examines principles of proficiency-oriented instruction, language functions, sociocultural variables, and comparison of first- and second-language acquisition.

TESO 345 LINGUISTICS (3 credits)
Introduces students to the nature of human language: its use, evolution and diversity. Approaches language as a system of communication and human behavior. Provides students practice in using certain basic skills when thinking about language: analyzing data, making generalizations, proposing hypotheses, providing argumentation and formulating proposals. (AY)

Designed to help students interested in language learn how language functions in a social context. Topics include language and cultural meaning, connections between language variation and geographical/ethnic backgrounds, social class and social networks, age and gender, forms of address and politeness, non-verbal communication, language for social change, and language education and policy. (D-I) (AY)

In the field study, students gain first-hand experience in language teaching in such settings as a middle school in Japan, a rural village in Mexico, an Austrian school or a bilingual setting within the United States.


Investigation of a specific topic conceived and planned by the student in consultation with a faculty supervisor. Culminates in a comprehensive report prepared in the style of a thesis or research paper.

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.