Multilingual Learner Education (M.Ed.)

Gain the foundational and practical information you’ll need to effectively serve multilingual learners.


Program Overview

The Multilingual Learner Education (MLE) M.Ed. program (formerly the English Language Learners program) prepares pre- and in-service teachers to work with individuals who are learning additional languages, study the development of multilingualism across the lifespan, and engage in applied linguistics, language, and literacies research. Our mission is to build a more peaceful, just, and equitable world through the teaching and learning of multiple languages. Together, educators and researchers in and beyond this program aim to promote multilingual learners’ academic and professional success, communicative competence, intercultural and cross-disciplinary understandings, and positive identities.  

The program offers two unique tracks:

  • Teaching Multilingual Learners prepares language educators to teach language to multilingual learners across the lifespan and across contexts.
    • In this track, you can earn initial teaching certification to teach PreK-12 English as a Second Language (ESL) in elementary, middle, and secondary schools in the U.S. or add the ESL endorsement to your initial licensure.
  • Applied Language and Literacies Studies is designed to prepare students for research-oriented opportunities in fields of applied linguistics, languages, and literacies education.


Of job-seeking MLE graduates, 100% were employed or attending graduate school within four months of graduation. Recent career placements include:

  • Chinese Teaching Fellow, Yu Ying Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.
  • Program Coordinator, Tennessee American-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Nashville, Tennessee
  • ESOL Teacher Wekiva High School Orlando, Florida
  • Bilingual Education Associate, New Oasis International Education, Herndon, Virginia
  • Director of Training. Xi'an International Studies University, Xi'an, China
Wenna Li, M.Ed.

"The program helped me to visualize what ideal classroom teaching looks like and how everyone, including teachers, could benefit from it."

Wenna Li, M.Ed.

Program Facts

Program Director: Shannon Daniel
Admissions Coordinator: Erica Bodden
Admission Term: Fall
Credit Hours:  The MLE M.Ed. program with licensure is 33 credits. Without initial licensure, the program requires 30 credits.

Application Dates

  • Application Deadline 1

    Jan 3, 2024

  • Application Deadline 2

    Feb 3, 2024 

  • Rolling Admissions

    After Feb 3, 2024*

    *Applications received after the Feb 3rd second deadline are reviewed on a rolling basis and accepted as space and funds allow.

Program Curriculum

The graduate degree in Multilingual Learner Education includes a minimum of 30 credit hours of required and elective classes in areas of your interest.

You'll be prepared to teach and/or conduct research with multilingual learners, educators, and communities.


  • Required Courses by Specialization

    Teaching Multilingual Learners (33 credits with initial PK12 ESL licensure; 30 credits for those who are not seeking initial teaching licensure)

    This track is designed for teachers who wish to teach English as an additional language for multilingual learners across the lifespan and across contexts. Coursework provides leading educators with theoretical and practical knowledge and skills related to language acquisition and pedagogy essential for effective instruction with multilingual learners. Students in this track have the option to earn initial teaching licensure to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in U.S. public elementary and secondary schools (PK-12). In addition, those who come to the program with initial licensure can earn an add-on ESL endorsement. Upon completion of this track, students also earn a specialization in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), which can be helpful in obtaining language teaching positions internationally, in community organizations, and/or in universities.

    Required classes for this program track include:

    • EDUC 6520. Foundations for Multilingual Education
    • EDUC 6530. Educational Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition
    • EDUC 6540. Methods and Materials for Multilingual Education
    • EDUC 6550. Assessment of Multilingual Learners
    • EDUC 6541. Practicum: Multilingual Learners
    • EDUC 6560. Language Curriculum Design

    Note: To be recommended for initial ESL licensure, students will need to show proficiency in a world/additional language (equivalent to 6 credits) and complete a full semester of student teaching by the end of the program. Academic advisors will discuss course requirements with students during their program.

    Applied Language and Literacies Studies (30 credits in total)

    This track focuses on the theoretical, empirical, and practical dimensions of linguistics, including how multilingual learners apply their languages in solving real-world problems in and across different disciplines and social contexts and how languages are acquired, learned, taught, and practiced.  Courses in this track are designed to prepare you for research-oriented opportunities in fields of applied linguistics, languages, and literacies education.

    Required classes for this track include:

    • EDUC 6565.   Scholarly writing and thinking
    • EDUC 6530.   Educational Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition
    • EDUC 6590.   Language Variation and Socialization
    • EDUC 6595.   Qualitative Language Analysis

    Note: Academic advisors will discuss additional course requirements with students during their program.

  • Practicum

    Students in the pedagogical tracks engage in an intensive teaching practicum, working with an experienced mentor-teacher. The practicum includes co-planning lessons, observing and supporting the mentor's pedagogical interactions with students, designing and implementing lessons, and having constructive conversations about these lessons with program faculty. Prior practicum placements have included elementary and secondary school classrooms in Metro Nashville Public Schools, our partnership with the English Language Center on campus, Nashville Adult Literacy Council, and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition's adult ESL classes. Many mentors are Peabody alumni.

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At the heart of our program is the push toward educational equity for multilingual learners who are too often marginalized and relegated to learning environments that do not provide them with rigorous learning of languages or disciplines like literature, science, mathematics, social studies. Graduates serve as educators, advocates, and researchers alongside communities, families, and children who bring diverse cultural and linguistic resources to schools and other learning environments.

Selected Faculty Research

Shannon Daniel, associate professor of the practice of education

Shannon Daniel, associate professor of the practice of education

Professor Daniel researches the contributions and strategies of resettled refugee youth, how refugees leverage their skills and strategies to succeed in their country of resettlement, and how teachers can improve their instruction of multilingual learners across elementary and secondary schools.

Chris da Silva, professor of the practice of education

Chris da Silva, professor of the practice of education

Professor da Silva takes an ecological perspective in analyzing multilingual language learners' access to learning. She not only investigates young children's learning experiences in classrooms, but also researches family and community resources and how teachers can learn about and leverage these resources to support students.


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