Undergraduate Elementary Education with English as a Second Language

The Elementary English as a Second Language (ESL) program prepares you to teach: 

  • All subjects, grades PK-3 and/or grades 3-6.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) in grades K-12, allowing you to teach as a K-12 specialist in an ESL setting

PLEASE NOTE: For Fall 2021, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has established new certification structures for teachers. If you began your Elementary ESL program prior to Fall 2021, please refer to the Elementary ESL Program. If you began the Elementary ESL program in Fall 2021 or later, please refer to the current Elementary ESL Program (for students beginning Fall 2021 or later)

Beginning Fall 2021, incoming students interested in teaching English as a Second Language in Elementary settings complete the PCKET major for PK-3 and/or 3-6, the Educational Studies major, and the English as a Second Language (ESL) minor. Completion of these programs certifies the student to teach English as a Second Language and other content areas in a self-contained classroom in PK-3 and/or 3-6, or as a K-12 specialist in an ESL setting.

Educational Studies Major

Educational Studies Major

The Educational Studies major is part of the program for students seeking to teach Elementary Education with English as a Second Language. Students in the Educational Studies program can earn certification for teaching pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade (PK-3) and/or 3rd grade through 6th grade (3-6). The Educational Studies major is designed to ensure that novice teachers are prepared to address the needs of the whole child; use relevant, research-based criteria to establish a supportive, engaging environment that fosters learning; and use practices that meet individual children’s needs. Students complete several structured field experiences embedded throughout the program.


To earn Elementary Teacher Certification, GVSU students must complete the Educational Studies major and the PCKET (Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Elementary Teaching) major. In the PCKET major, students learn content and pedagogy in the academic disciplines that are taught in an elementary curriculum: English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts, and health and physical education. PCKET faculty engage students in discipline-specific teaching and learning, opportunities for research and scholarly activity in the disciplines, experiences in area classrooms and in the community, and study abroad programs.

ESL Minor

The English as a Second Language (ESL) track of the Applied Linguistics minor is designed for students to teach as a K-12 specialist in an ESL setting. ESL teachers promote educational equity and the academic achievement of non-English speaking students by teaching them how to speak, read, write, listen, and communicate in English and by supporting them in learning content knowledge and academic language while they learn English. Grand Valley's ESL program provides thorough understanding of the structure of English, and theoretical understanding of language learning. ESL students gain extensive field experiences teaching in both general education and ESL classrooms.

PCKET with ESL Advising Guides

Elementary with ESL:

PCKET PK-3 Grade Band with ESL (K-12) Endorsement Advising Guide

PCKET 3-6 Grade Band with ESL (K-12) Endorsement Advising Guide

PCKET PL-6 Grade Band with ESL (K-12) Endorsement Advising Guide

See the Advising Guide for PCKET & Educational Studies Majors for additional information. Please consult with your advisor for assistance scheduling classes and navigating the PCKET degree.


Education courses may be viewed on the Education programs' Course List page. ESL minor courses may be viewed on the Linguistics Department's Applied Linguistics minor page.

Information on the courses for each subject area can be found by searching GVSU's Catalog.

Page last modified August 8, 2023