How much preparation do you need to get started as an ESL/EFL teacher?
Will a course or two really be that helpful? Can’t you just learn on the job? If you’ve not read Preparing for an ESL/EFL-Teaching Ministry and Qualifications for ESL/EFL Teaching, we encourage you to do that now. They address a number of key questions about teacher preparation.
Below we have listed resources for learning about teacher-training courses, distance learning programs and degree programs.
Short Teacher-Training Courses
Our ICCT Reach Out with English/Essentials of TESOL course is for those who have had little or no professional preparation in this area and those who want a refresher course that offers practical instruction for learning how to teach ESL/EFL to adults. No prior teaching experience or knowledge of linguistics is assumed.
Join us for a 30-hour course (offered two or three times each year) and you will be much better equipped to start or improve your ESL/EFL program either here in the U.S. or overseas. This course is an excellent option if you plan to work as a volunteer, if you are headed overseas for short-term teaching, if you plan to teach ESL/EFL in addition to working in another field, or if you simply want to find out if this is the right field for you before continuing on with additional courses. You will get the essentials you need to get started in teaching ESL/EFL.
The Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is an international TEFL training and certification program taught in over 250 centers in more than 40 countries. Visit Cambridge ESOL for more information.
Distance Learning Programs
A number of institutions offer online MA degrees and/or certificates in TESOL/TESL/TEFL. Although these online programs vary widely in quality, a few provide excellent instruction from professionals in the field. For example, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a 24-semester-hour Certificate in TESL which can be completed online in one calendar year. With more than 300 clock hours of preparation, students focus on principles and methods of language learning and teaching and they receive practical experience in diagnosing student problems, preparing appropriate learning materials, observing master teachers, teaching and tutoring international students, and developing good language assessment tools.
Wheaton Graduate School offers an M.A. in TESOL and Intercultural Studies that will prepare you for a broad range of teaching positions, including career positions in universities, language institutes, and international schools as well as ESL/EFL specialist positions in agencies or community colleges. ICCT courses taken for credit can be applied toward the M.A. in TESOL.
Other Christian colleges and universities with TESL/TEFL/TESOL programs leading to an M.A., Certificate, and/or B.A. include Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, Cedarville University, Columbia International University, Eastern Mennonite University, Goshen College and Seattle Pacific University.
For a listing of nearly 400 programs in 200 different North American institutions, see the TESOL Directory of Degree & Certificate Programs.