College of Education & Human Services

English as a Second Language Endorsement Option

Bachelor of Science in Education in Elementary Education (Grade 1 - 6)

Location: Macomb and Quad Cities campuses

Illinois Certification

Completing the elementary education undergraduate program with English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsement Option enables candidates to teach in self-contained classrooms in grades one through six.

In addition, the program integrates the ESL endorsement coursework (six state approved courses). This enables future teachers to effectively work in elementary classroom settings also attended by English Learners and opens up many career options in this field.

Strengths of the Elementary Education (Grade 1 - 6) Bachelor Program with English as a Second Language Endorsement option

Coursework and classroom experiences are offered to prepare future teachers to

  • Utilize the best practices of teaching which are emphasized in multiple science, social studies, math and reading/language arts methods courses, and ESL methods across all content areas
  • Assess and document student learning in a variety of ways including equitable assessment of English Learners
  • Accommodate the needs of all groups of students also utilizing effective ESL assessment strategies
  • Work with and advocate for parents from all cultural and linguistic backgrounds and utilize community resources
  • Use Social Emotional Learning strategies in inclusive ways
  • Create effective and culturally responsive learning environments
  • Use technology to create meaningful and inclusive learning experiences
  • Motivate students to become lifelong learners
  • Reflect on their practice and engage in continuing professional development

Why Choose Elementary Education with English as a Second Language Endorsement option at WIU?

  • Provides the Elementary Education Licensure and the English as Second Language (ESL) endorsement in one program.
  • Qualifies graduates for many teaching positions (e.g., Elementary classroom teacher; Elementary ESL teacher; ESL Program Coordinator/Director; ESL Resource teacher).
  • Includes a minor in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), which enhances career opportunities in adult education and teaching English abroad.
  • High job placement rates across the state
  • Medium-size classes where professors can provide individualized attention.
  • Opportunities to study abroad in many countries specific for future teachers.
  • Financial aid packages are available at Western.
  • Scholarships specific to this degree ( Federal Student Aid--Teach Grants ; Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program ; Grow Your Own Teachers; School of Education Scholarships)  



The Elementary Education program with ESL Option includes extensive coursework focusing on the methods of teaching in the elementary classroom that address the needs of all learners including English learners. Candidates complete four literacy methods courses that prepare them to teach reading, writing, speaking, and listening. One course addresses teaching literacy in primary classrooms and a second course focuses on teaching literacy in intermediate and middle school classrooms. A third course focuses on English as Second Language methods and materials and integrates children’s literature preparing candidates to use literature for all areas of the curriculum. Two social studies methods courses prepare future teachers to teach students about their heritage and help them develop a global perspective. Candidates learn how to teach science in the elementary classroom and how to use inquiry as a tool for integrating the sciences. Candidates also complete two courses that prepare them to teach mathematics in elementary and middle school classrooms.

In addition, the candidates take the Illinois state approved ESL endorsement sequence of courses as an integrated part of the program. The endorsement prepares future teachers for effectively teaching English Learners in elementary classrooms. Future teachers learn first and second language development theories, how these inform teaching practice, best practices in teaching and assessing English learners, approaches to working with multilingual (e.g., immigrant, refugee) families.

Future teachers learn how to integrate technology into their classroom instruction.

Field Experiences

Future teachers apply these skills as they tutor elementary/middle school students in afterschool programs, assisting in homework completion, reinforcing skills, and/or providing enrichment activities. They also aid in elementary classrooms, assisting the classroom teacher and working with individual or small groups of children. Candidates teach at least 30 lessons in mathematics, science, reading, language arts and social studies during a twelve-week (half days) field experience in the first semester of the senior year.

Student Teaching

Elementary Education with English as a Second Language endorsement option candidates complete a sixteen-week student teaching experience. Student teaching can be completed in the following regions:

  • REGION A Chicago Suburbs (North, West and South)
  • REGION B Chicago Public Schools (City of Chicago)
  • REGION C Quad Cities (including Bettendorf/Davenport IA)
  • REGION D Western/Central Illinois (Quincy, Peoria, Beardstown, Monmouth, Macomb)

Degree Requirements

Freshman Admission Standards for High School Students
Test Optional

Students with a high school diploma and a 3.3 or higher high school grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) will be automatically admitted to WIU. Western is one of just two public institutions in the state that are test-optional in regard to college admissions. Students must have a high school diploma and meet the requirements below.

GPA Only

Students with a 3.3 high school grade point average, on a 4.0 scale, will be admitted.


Students between a 3.29 and a 2.0 high school grade point average will need to submit SAT/ACT scores.

Top 10% of Class Admission

Students in the top 10% of their high school class will be automatically admitted to WIU.

Program Requirements

  1. Coursework: Majors complete a minimum of 125 semester hours.
  2. Required Assessments
  3. Grade Point Requirements
      • Elementary Education: cumulative and major GPA of 2.50 is needed for admittance and continuation in the Teacher Education Program.
  4. Criminal Background Check
    Prior to any field work in schools/agencies, the National Sex Offender, the Illinois Methamphetamine Manufacturer, and the Illinois State Police Child Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth registries will be checked by the candidates education advisor. *In addition, candidates may also need to supply a Fingerprint criminal background investigation report to each individual school district prior to any field work. Candidates may be prohibited from completing field work if a registry check or background investigations disclose arrests and/or convictions deemed problematic. Information may be obtained in Horrabin Hall 40; questions may be directed to the Licensure Officer; 309-298-2117. (NOTE: Federal Law requires candidates to submit a fingerprint background investigation report to school districts prior to student teaching.)

Assessment of Professional Dispositions

  • Disposition 1 - Collaboration: Collaboration is valued in education. Effective collaboration means working with other members of a group (students, parents, or peers) exchanging ideas, sharing experiences and learning processes, and building communities. Group members work together toward common goals. Collaboration is valued inside and outside the classroom as a way to create strong communities.
  • Disposition 2 - Commitment to Learning: Active learning and professional development create exemplary educators. Valuing research, learning in all areas of instruction, problem solving, self-reflection and personal growth creates exemplary students and educators. Through participating in professional development, learning of best practices, and actively engaging in new ideas and knowledge building, individuals show a commitment to learning in and beyond the classroom.
  • Disposition 3 - Valuing Diversity and Equity: Valuing the diversity and uniqueness of all groups and using responsive non-discriminatory practices are essential in education. Individuals implement a variety of practices and strategies that meet the needs of all learners in and outside the classroom. They develop knowledge about ways in which groups and individuals are culturally, historically, economically, and socially shaped. They provide examples of the belief that all students can learn. They show respect in both words and actions for diverse groups, including students, peers, instructors, or advisors.
  • Disposition 4 - Responsibility and Respect: Responsibility and respect are vital for learners and educators. Responsible individuals are prepared, act independently, demonstrate accountability, reliability, and sound judgment. Respectful individuals are empathetic, respect others’ views, and demonstrates integrity. They prioritize health and safety to minimize absences and illness. They accurately report information and take initiative in learning, professional, and personal environments (i.e. online presence). They are engaged, on-task, and responsible in all educational and professional environments. They make ethical decisions, are reflective in all learning experiences and situations, and are responsible for their behaviors and choices. They demonstrate respect for others, including peers, students, instructors, parents, and supervisors.