Posted August 09, 2012 2:28 pm
Program is leader in TESOL education
By Caitlin Choi
This year, Woodsworth College’s post-degree certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) celebrates forty years in the business, solidifying its position as a leader in the field of TESOL education.
In addition to being one of longest-running programs in Canada, it’s also one of the best, says TESOL instructor Lindsay Brooks. “I think it’s one of the best because of the range of courses, the cohesiveness of the program, and the wonderful students that we attract,” said Brooks, who’s been an instructor for the program since 2003. “By constantly evolving to reflect the dynamic nature of the field of second language learning and teaching, we offer a dynamic program that prepares students for teaching positions locally and/or abroad.”
The TESOL program has adapted its curriculum over the years to reflect current research, trends and best practices in language education, she said. As a graduate of one of the top TESOL programs, students leave with a reputable certification and a competitive edge for securing employment.
“To get a good position abroad or in Canada, a TESOL certificate is essential,” said Brooks. “Increasingly, employers are requiring a year-long certificate and this is what we offer.”
In addition to the strong theoretical focus of the program, students are given the opportunity to link theory with practice. To complete the certificate, each student must complete 30 hours of observation and 20 hours of practice teaching in a real ESOL classroom.
The TESOL program admits both native and non-native English speakers, and students from diverse professional, academic and cultural backgrounds. “I think the diversity of our students is one of the program’s greatest strengths,” says program director Sarah Witol.
“A passion for teaching unites seasoned professionals and recent grads looking for a new career direction, as well as new and veteran teachers from all over the world and I think it’s this diversity that contributes to such a dynamic classroom environment. It’s also a big part of why our students continue to learn outside the classroom. Students have said their study groups after class are often the highlight of their time in the program. “
Catering to the needs of its students, the program supports both full-time and part-time students. Most students take the course on a part-time basis allowing them the flexibility to continue to work, volunteer or care for their families while completing the certificate.
Marny Gibson, a former student of the program, attests to the value of a TESOL education. “They were very practical, thought-provoking and challenging,” she said about the classes she took at UofT. The retired teacher and TESOL graduate says the two methodology courses, the planning course and the pedagogical grammar course were especially useful. “The assignments, particularly in the Methodology and Planning courses, had obvious application in the field.”
After the course was finished Gibson said administrators continued to be supportive. Gibson said the staff “worked very hard putting together two evenings to introduce us to different job opportunities, and provided us with lots of materials to further our search,” she said. “I absolutely loved my year, and I feel that I made some good friends.”
Applications for September session are still being accepted. More information is available on the TESOL website.
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