At Greystone College Vancouver, we offer two TESL Canada recognized TESOL programs: TESOL diploma program and TESOL 130, a certificate program. This is the second one out of three blog series where we will compare the programs and help you find the one that is right for you.
In the second post of this series, we will explore the first and second month practicum and observation components of each program, as well as the class make-up.
First and Second Month Practicums: While both teacher training programs offer virtually the same classroom material, only the diploma program includes a first month and second month practicum.
In the diploma program, your first month practicum involves lesson planning, giving feedback and planning field trips and field trip task sheets. The practicum allows you to devote more time to the planning process. You’ll answer questions that will get you thinking about how effective and how well-organized your lessons are. The assignments will give you a chance to consider your objectives and to explore ways to bring language learning outside of the classroom.
In your second month practicum, you have the opportunity to work as a teacher’s assistant at ILSC, our sister school. You’ll gain invaluable insight into a real classroom. You’ll be exposed to a variety of materials, different teaching styles and of course real students. You’ll build your skills and confidence as you explain activities and help out the teacher.
Observations: Both programs provide the opportunity to observe ten classroom hours. In the diploma program, these are spread out across your first two months and include a variety of class types and levels. In the certificate program most of your observation is usually with your sponsor teacher, the teacher whose class you will be teaching in during your final practicum. This gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with the teacher, the class type, the class dynamics and the level before you step in.
Please note, if you do take the 130 certificate program and would like a chance to observe a wider variety of classes, we may be able to arrange for extra observation hours, though this is subject to teacher availability and cannot be guaranteed.
Class Make-Up: While both programs require a high level of English, the diploma program tends to attract more international and non-native speakers. If you are a native speaker and do not have a lot of experience in multi-cultural environments, or with non-native speakers, this is a great opportunity for you to broaden your horizons and learn more about other cultures. An open-mind is essential for ESL teachers. Furthermore, most non-native speakers have a better understanding of what parts of the English language are difficult. Even if they haven’t taught before, they’ve usually been students in English classes. They are great resources for activity ideas, classroom management tips and so on while you may find yourself a valuable resource for new vocabulary, giving you a chance to practice your teaching skills. This is also fantastic opportunity to connect with peers from all over the planet. Who knows where your TESOL diploma may take you.
If you are a non-native speaker, you will need to take a written test and pass an interview to demonstrate a sufficient level of English. Unless you have near native-like fluency, the diploma program is probably the right choice for you. While your native English speaking classmates may have an advantage in terms of vocabulary, you’ll likely have the advantage when it comes to explaining grammar terminology. This is a great opportunity to boost your confidence and make friends with locals.
Conclusion: Once again, the question of how much experience you have will affect your decision. If you’ve never planned a language lesson before, the diploma program will provide you with more opportunities to practice. If you’ve never taught, seen or experienced a language course before, the diploma program will expose you to more levels and class types during observation. On the other hand, if you do have some experience, the certificate program will have you teaching sooner. It will also give you a chance to see how lessons build on each other as you will be observing consecutive days in the same classroom.