traditional undergraduate on campus

Special Education and ESL

Trevecca’s Bachelor of Science in special education interventionist K-8 & ESL offers a dual endorsement in K-8 special education intervention and in English as a second language (ESL). The degree prepares you to become a teacher who assists students who have learning exceptionalities and/or language needs, and it culminates with observation and teaching experiences in the field.

Program Benefits

  • Learn from faculty who possess high degrees in their fields, who make an effort to know you personally and who have relevant and valuable real-world experience in both public and private school settings.
  • Enjoy our small class sizes and supportive campus community.
  • Gain hands-on student teaching experience in both public and private school settings.

What to Expect

Trevecca’s special education interventionist K-8 & ESL program prepares you to assist students who have learning exceptionalities and/or language needs. Schools across the country face the growing need to assist students who have physical, cognitive or language delays as well as behavioral and social conditions that may impact their ability to learn and be successful in today's classroom. Additionally, the number of English language learners across the United States continues to climb. This program equips you to help meet those growing needs.

This degree offers you a solid foundation in special education combined with 12 hours of ESL instruction, giving you a dual endorsement. We are constantly reviewing our education programs to make sure they equip you to meet the current needs of the modern education system in innovative ways. Courses include English Acquisition; Methods and Resources of Intervention for Students with Disabilities; Math Teaching Strategies for Students with Special Needs; Trends, Models and Methods in ESL Instruction; and Linguistics for Teachers of ESL. You’ll learn how to integrate technology into intervention, how to diagnose and remediate reading disabilities, and how to apply effective behavioral management strategies in the classroom. Our technology course prepares you to confidently use technology to supplement traditional teaching methods and to present engaging virtual instruction.

This program also offers incredible field experience in a diverse range of learning environments. You’ll gain 120-140 hours of hands-on experience with student teaching opportunities in both public and private schools. Trevecca has partnerships with both Wilson County Schools and Metro Nashville Public Schools. As part of your field experience, you’ll get valuable feedback from faculty and experienced teachers aimed at helping you improve your teaching craft.

Why Choose Trevecca?

Founded in 1901 and a leader in online education for more than two decades, Trevecca helps students discover and pursue an individual calling by providing innovative instruction; cultivating a supportive, Christ-centered community; and establishing relationships that open doors.

Highest Rating 2023 Educator Preparation Report Card, Tennessee State Board of EducationRecognized nationally and locally for academic quality, Trevecca has earned a reputation for providing the world with servant leaders, problem solvers and difference makers. Trevecca’s holistic approach to education encompasses intellectual, social, emotional, physical and spiritual growth.

As a Christian university, we offer programs that explore the ways faith intersects with your field of study. This means you can gain your education degree in a supportive, Christian community with small classroom sizes and engaged faculty members who care about you, your faith and your goals.

CAEP-Accredited-ShieldTrevecca’s School of Education degree programs meet the rigorous national standards for education preparation established by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through content and pedagogy, clinical partnerships and practice, candidate recruitment, progression and support, program impact, quality assurance and continuous improvement.


Course Descriptions

Get details on all the courses you’ll complete as you work toward this degree at Trevecca.

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Financial Aid & Costs

Financial Aid & Costs

Nearly every student at Trevecca receives some form of assistance in paying for college. Learn all about the affordability of a TNU education and options for receiving aid.

Learn More

As part of earning a dual endorsement in K-8 intervention and English as a second language (ESL), students will receive training in both subject areas to prepare them for classroom environments where students have learning exceptionalities and language needs. Coursework covers topics such as concepts of assessment; methods and resources of intervention for students with disabilities; methods of assessment and evaluation for ESL; trends, models and methods in ESL instruction; and linguistics for teachers of ESL. Students will be given a strong foundation in special education intervention that includes learning to integrate technology into intervention, discovering how to diagnose and remediate reading disabilities, and becoming trained in behavioral management strategies.

Career Opportunities

With your special education degree with a dual endorsement in K-8 intervention and ESL from Trevecca, you’ll be well-prepared to succeed in a variety of roles. Some of our graduates teach students in specialized classroom settings, some to assist students within general education classrooms, some aspire to teach and then move on to pursue leadership roles as instructional coaches or administrators, some teach abroad and some work in the private sector for agencies that provide services for students with learning exceptionalities. Some of the more specific roles your degree prepares you for include, but are not limited to:

  • Special education interventionist K-8 classroom teacher in both public or private school settings
  • Instructional coach focusing on the exceptional learning needs of students
  • Special education leadership teaching roles in both public and private school settings (team leads)
  • Behavior modification instructors
  • Collaboration specialists to bridge communication between the general education and SPED instructors

Your degree also prepares you to continue your studies. Trevecca offers highly respected advanced degree programs in educational leadership, ESL and accountability and instructional leadership that could open additional professional doors in the field of education.

“I finished feeling supported, encouraged and inspired by the professors. They genuinely wanted us to succeed. The small class sizes allowed professors and students to build strong mentor relationships. The faculty poured themselves into ensuring I received the best education possible.” 

Michaela Adcock Trevecca graduate


Course Descriptions

Get details on all the courses you’ll complete as you work toward this degree at Trevecca.*

Life, Calling, and Purpose
INT 1100
Students will begin a journey of self-awareness where they can identify their individual gifts and talents while considering how God can use their uniqueness within their field of interest. Goals of the course include building community, understanding leadership and service, and evaluating God's calling. Required of all first-time freshmen (those enrolling with less than 24 hours) who are younger than 24 years of age and have not taken a similar course at another accredited institution.
English Composition I
ENG 1020

Emphasizes the recursive writing process through appropriate determination of subject, audience, purpose, and style, with correct usage of grammar, punctuation, and logical organization. Students will use appropriate technologies for writing and learning.

English Composition II: Critical Reading, Writing, and Thinking
ENG 1080

Emphasizes intellectual and analytical reasoning through reading and writing assignments. Includes instruction in library and research technologies and the writing of a research project.

Speech Communication
COM 1010

A study of the principles and practices of effective human communication, with emphasis placed on public speaking. The course emphasizes the critical thinking and skill development necessary for effective speech. Listening skills are included in the study.

Financial Stewardship
BUS 2010

Provides the student with a basic understanding of his or her economic environment and the basic principles and tools of personal financial management. Emphasis will be placed on personal financial planning, including budgeting, managing personal debt, insurance, taxes, investments, and real estate. When possible, topics will be analyzed and discussed from a Christian perspective.

Introduction to Health and Wellness
HPE 1500

Designed to assist the student in their understanding and development of a healthy lifestyle. Emphasis is placed on the components and behaviors that promote lifelong, positive outcomes in the five dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual. Includes a fitness laboratory component. Fee charged.

Life Science
SCI 1500

A study of biological concepts including the chemistry of life, principles of inheritance, evolutionary theories, biological organization of various organisms, and relationships between organisms and their environment. Issues related to current advances in biotechnology and medicine are also considered. The process of scientific inquiry is emphasized and practiced in both the lecture and laboratory. Fee charged.

Physical Science
SCI 1600

Designed to convey the nature of matter and methods of study in the physical sciences and to study physical science concepts; issues and values related to the well-being of individuals, society and the environment are considered. Lecture and lab. Fee charged.

Earth and Space Science
SCI 2510
World Literature
ENG 2000

Designed to engage students in dialogue with a variety of Western and Non-Western world literature, past and present. ENG 2000 is a recommended prerequisite for all upper-level literature courses.

Introduction to Biblical Faith
REL 2000

An introduction to Biblical faith and literature designed to help the student acquire a knowledge of the basic content of Scripture as well as be able to employ basic Bible study skills.

Christian Tradition
REL 3000

An introduction to theology as it has developed in the history of the church with a view to understanding the relation between faith and life. Special attention is given to understanding the doctrine of holiness.

Christian Life and Ministry
REL 4000

An integration of Christian spirituality, life, and ministry. Through a wide variety of readings and experiences, care is given to evaluate the spiritual structure of the student and to understand spiritual gifts, disciplines, and what it means for each individual to be a constructive influence in the Church and society.

Fine Arts
MUS 1500

Designed to give students a historical perspective of music, art, sculpture, and architecture from ancient times to modern times.

Concepts of Mathematics
MAT 1040

Considers the realm of mathematics as some of the greatest ideas of humankind-ideas comparable to the works of Shakespeare, Plato, and Michelangelo. This course will introduce students to several of these ideas, selected from topics in numerical patterns, infinity, geometry, topology, chaos, probability, and statistics. Study of these topics will not only demonstrate the beauty of mathematics but will also develop critical thinking skills. This course is designed for liberal arts majors to satisfy the general education requirement.

English Acquisition (FE-10)
ESL 3150

Current approaches, methodologies, techniques, and materials for teaching English language learners primarily in K-12 setting. Designed to provide theoretical and practical experience in language acquisition. Fee charged. Course includes 10 hours of field experience in ESL classrooms, which must include a 6-12 setting.

Human Growth and Cognition
PSY 2500

Explores human growth and development over the life span to understand the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels: physically, emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally. Designed to provide the developmental approach to cognition in children and adolescents within the context of major learning theories. Brain research, learning modalities, and metacognition are also examined.

Becoming a Teacher (FE-20)
EDU 1020

Provides observation and participation in a public school. Field study is completed in the following areas: classroom observation, classroom material preparation, and classroom interactions to enhance the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions required of educators. The requirements for entering the Teacher Education Program are part of the course. Graded S-U.

Foundations of Education
EDU 1500

Surveys the historical, social, philosophical, and psychological foundations of the American school system with emphasis on an introduction to the teaching profession. Designed to be the first course taken in the teacher education program. Taken in conjunction with EDU 1020.

Education in an Urban Culture (FE-10)
SOC 3270

Provides an overview of the diverse educational needs, challenges, opportunities, and rewards that teachers encounter as they seek to effectively meet the needs of learners in urban schools. Students explore the history of public schools in urban areas, the characteristics of the urban child, as well as effective teaching strategies for working with students who are identified as "at risk" as well as English Second Language (ESL) students. This course addresses the competencies, tools. and instructional strategies to effectively create positive classroom environments and assist in student achievement. The course includes a 10-hour field experience for Education majors in a low socioeconomic, ethnically/racially diverse, preferably ESL school setting. Any non-Education major may complete the field experience requirement through volunteering in a number of alternative settings such as private agencies, and businesses whose primary focus is working in urban communities with children and their families identified as "at-risk." The alternative settings listed would be an acceptable environment to address the course learning outcomes. This course is an option for any student exploring choices in meeting the Intercultural Literacy requirement.

Student Teaching Seminar
EDU 4600

Focuses on the application and analysis of knowledge and teaching skills in the classroom, lesson and unit planning, classroom management, discipline models, and current professional issues. Taken in conjunction with enhanced student teaching. Permission required.

edTPA Seminar
EDU 4730

A prerequisite for Enhanced Student Teaching. This course provides the candidate with experiences in preparation, procedures, implementation, and submittal of required edTPA documentation for initial licensure. Permission required. Graded S/U.

Public School Health
ALH 2100

Designed to assist the future teacher in developing an understanding of the whole person, including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development; the continuum of health and how it interrelates with academic performance. Prevention of disease, first aid, CPR, choking, drug abuse, current health issues, and healthcare agencies are presented to increase the potential teacher's awareness in assisting students in all areas of their lives which affect their academic success.

Trends, Models, and Methods of ESL Instruction (FE-10)
ESL 2010

This course examines the currently used models of ESL instruction from a variety of school boards and regions from across the country. Students are expected to not only understand the differences in models and methods but to also understand the implications for effective language learning. Fee charged. Course includes 10 hours of field experience in ESL classrooms, which must include a PreK-5 setting.

Methods of Assessment and Evaluation for ESL (FE-15)
ESL 3010

This course examines the differences between language proficiency assessment for placing and evaluation of language demonstration and use. Candidates are expected to understand the various methods of assessment and evaluation for ESL instructors as well as create samples of assessment and evaluation strategies. Fee charged.

Linguistics for Teachers of ESL
ESL 4010
This course includes the study of language transfer issues for ESL students and the examination of both the oral and written domains to provide appropriate instructional scaffolding. A descriptive linguistics course, including a focus on understanding phonologic, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic aspects of language as they apply to an understanding of any ESL student's native language, significance is also given to sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic aspects of language learning. This is a research course. Fee charged.
Mathematical Ideas and Reasoning
MAT 1070

Designed to provide some insight into the nature of mathematics by examining various mathematical structures. Topics include the development of the real number system, conventional and unconventional algorithms including working in different bases, elementary number theory, algebraic reasoning, data analysis, probability, geometry, and measurement. Critical thinking, writing, and problem solving will be emphasized.

Technology for Educators
EDU 2100

Focuses on media and specific technologies appropriate to teachers in the educational setting, both for instructional purposes and administrative tasks. Includes exposure to and use of various equipment, materials, and software, including Internet and Office. Computer-assisted instruction and management techniques are presented.

Elementary Curriculum and Instruction (FE-20)
EDU 2350

This course focuses on effective instructional methods and curriculum models for K-5 teachers. Best practices in creating diverse, enthusiastic learning environments and writing lesson plans are explored to meet the needs of ALL students, including but not limited to “at risk” and English Second Language (ESL) students. Using data to inform instruction is addressed as part of the planning component. Fee charged. A 20-hour field experience is required in diverse school settings, specifically with ESL students.

Mathematics of History and Cultures
MAT 1090
A History of Mathematics course with an emphasis on the historical development of number systems, algebra, and geometry, as well as the use of mathematics in problem solving in other cultures and in other times.
Reading and Writing (FE-20)
EDU 4130

The course focuses on the integration of reading and writing instruction throughout the K-5 curriculum. Emphasis is placed on the objectives, developmental skills, materials, techniques, and the processes of assessing, diagnosing, and correcting reading and writing skills. Instruction includes a holistic view of literacy development. A clinical field experience of 20 hours in both diagnosis and remediation in an elementary school is required. At least 10 hours must be completed in an ESL classroom setting. Fee charged.

Technology Integration for Effective Intervention Strategies (K-8) (FE-10)
SED 3070

Provides an overview of the technology used to provide access to the curriculum for students in general-education settings and special-education settings. Various systems of technology will be discussed with a focus on the appropriate uses, implementation, and overall understanding of the tools available to students needing intervention services.

Foundations of Special Education Interventionist (K-8) (FE-10)
SED 3200

Focuses on core concepts in special education interventions, including law, procedures, conceptual approaches, data gathering and analysis, constructing IEPs, facilitating IEP meetings, documenting progress and modifications for local and state assessments. A general introductory methods course which is prerequisite for all professional core SPED courses. Field experience is incorporated in this course.

Concepts of Assessment for the Special Education Interventionist (K-8)
SED 3100

Focuses on individualized diagnostic testing and interpretation of psychological evaluations, universal screenings, and progress monitoring as related to instructional planning and eligibility. Basic steps in test administration are reviewed for various major published tests as well as curriculum based or classroom testing methods to document or determine current level of performance. Basic steps of the RTI process will also be discussed. Test administration and scoring is performed.

Methods of Intervention for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities (FE-10)
SED 3400

Defines the various aspects of core content instruction and environmental structure in elementary and middle school settings for exceptional learners with mild to moderate disabilities. Strategies to document and modify social, emotional, communication, behavioral and academic areas are addressed. A focus on differentiation, scaffolding, and determining appropriate accommodations based on student strengths will be addressed. A ten-hour field experience is required.

Collaboration Skills and Resources for Effective Special Education Intervention Programs (K-8) (FE-10)
SED 3450

Explores effective methods for collaborating with families, colleagues and related service providers are defined and examined. Discusses the role an interventionist plays in assisting data teams and alignment of interventions to the specific needs of the student. Assistive technology, transition planning, various technology programs, medical plans and the resources needed to assess these areas are explored. A ten-hour field experience is required.

Behavior Management Strategies for Students with Disabilities (FE-10)
SED 3060

Explores classroom management strategies specific to students with mild to moderate disabilities. Special consideration for the function, measurement and documentation of specific behaviors and program development will be presented. Social skills training, de-escalation, re-direction, medical aspects and research-based strategies will be presented. A 10 hour field experience is required.

Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Disabilities
SED 3300

Investigates the nature and causes of reading disabilities. Focuses on using formal and informal assessments to diagnose areas of reading difficulties. Procedures of remediation based on data collection are also discussed.

Math Teaching Strategies for Students with Special Needs
SED 3350

Provides strategies for special educators to assess, analyze, and remediate mathematical deficits of students with disabilities. Methods of data collection, decision making, and instruction are also discussed.

Enhanced Student Teaching in Special Education Interventionist (K-8)
SED 4660

Consists of full-day classroom observation and practice teaching in the major curricular area in two public schools. Special Education Interventionist K-8 candidates will have placements in elementary grades K-4 and middle grades 5-8. Required as the culminating experience for all who are seeking licensure. Graded S-U. Permission required.

World Civilizations: Ancient and Medieval World
HIS 1400

A course of study from ancient times to the 1500s dealing with persistent and recurring political, social, and economic issues in history that thinking people have examined and that have shaped our contemporary world. This course covers Western and non-Western cultures. Offered every semester.

World Civilizations: Early Modern and Modern World
HIS 1450

A course of study from the 1500s to the present dealing with persistent and recurring political, social, and economic issues in history that thinking people have examined and that have shaped our contemporary world. This course covers Western and non-Western cultures. Offered every semester.

United States History Survey I
HIS 2010

Survey of United States' social, political, economic, and military development to 1877. Offered annually.

United States History Survey II
HIS 2020

Survey of United States' social, political, economic, and military development from 1877 to the present. Offered annually.

Introduction to Philosophy
PHL 2010

A general introduction to the study of philosophy, both Western and non-Western. The course is organized around three domains of philosophical reflection: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Representative philosophers from Socrates to Confucius will be used to illuminate the philosophical task. The course also includes discussion of world religions as representatives of non-Western philosophy.

PHL 3070

A philosophical analysis of the narratives and principles that have contributed to moral and ethical norms for human action.

*For a complete list of courses, tracks and other relevant information, view the program's course catalog.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the teacher education admission requirements?

Prospective students are required to have at least a 3.0 GPA and should have earned no lower than a B- in the following courses: COM 1010; EDU 1020 and 1500; and ENG 1020 and 1080. Standardized test score requirements include an ACT composite of 22 or higher; an SAT composite of 1120 or higher; or a passing score on the Praxis Core Academic Skills Exam for Educators (a minimum of a 150 in mathematics, 156 in reading and 162 in writing). Students should also successfully complete a Writing on Demand assessment and a teacher education interview. A TBI background check clearance is also required.

Are scholarship opportunities available through the School of Education?

The School of Education receives designated endowment allocations each year. Students are awarded individual scholarships based on meeting required criteria. Federal grant opportunities are also available for those who choose to teach in underserved school settings. You can find Information on these grants through contacting one of our financial aid officers.

Which schools are utilized for field experience placements?
Trevecca offers field experiences in a wide variety of settings in both public and private schools. We maintain a primary partnership with Wilson County Schools for field experience and student-teaching placements. We also have a secondary partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools. The goal is for our students to encounter a diverse range of instructional environments in order to complete licensure requirements and embark on a successful career as an educator.

Related Programs

  • Early Childhood Education & ESL

    The Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies offers an endorsement in early childhood education (PreK-3) and a secondary endorsement in English as a second language (ESL). The degree prepares students to be competent and compassionate teachers of young students and those with language barriers, providing them with the strong foundation and early intervention they need to excel in learning.

  • Elementary Education & ESL

    Trevecca’s Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies offers an endorsement in elementary education and an endorsement in English as a second language (ESL), preparing students to be competent and compassionate teachers in grades K-5 and/or to offer ESL instruction in grades K-12.