The purpose of TESOL is multifaceted, addressing various aspects of English language education. Primarily, TESOL aims to equip teachers with the skills and methodologies necessary to effectively teach English to non-native speakers. This involves understanding the complexities of language acquisition and applying teaching techniques suited to diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. TESOL is applicable in both English-speaking countries, where it supports learners in acquiring English as an additional language, and in non-English-speaking countries, where it aids in teaching English as a foreign language. The TESOL framework is designed to enhance the educational experience of English learners and ensure that teachers are well-prepared to meet the diverse needs of their students in different educational contexts.
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The simple fact is that the vast majority of ESL employers around the world expect their teachers to have the minimum qualification of a 120-hour TESOL or TEFL certificate. There are three main reasons for this:
- Firstly, from the employers viewpoint: They need to know that you have had some basic training relating to teaching English as a second language if you are going to teach their students.
- Secondly, from the teachers point of view: It is important before you go into any classroom and attempt to teach English that you have some understanding of the English language and some idea of how you are going to teach it.
- Finally, and possibly most importantly, from the students view: You would like to know that your teachers are competent at what they are attempting to do and a qualified teacher should provide you with some confidence in this area.
Teaching is a profession and as with all professionals, we can expect that they have at least had the minimum required training to do what they do.
A TESOL certificate course is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to English language teaching. Participants can expect to delve into language awareness, including in-depth exploration of English grammar like the tense system, parts of speech, modals, conditionals, and direct and reported speech. Additionally, the course imparts fundamental teaching skills, such as effective classroom management, strategies to motivate students, lesson planning, creating educational materials, and understanding assessment and testing systems.
A typical 120-hour TESOL course encompasses these areas, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience. Furthermore, depending on the course format, participants may engage in practical teaching exercises. This can include classroom teaching for onsite courses or online teaching sessions using platforms like Zoom for courses with an online component. These practical experiences are crucial for applying theoretical knowledge and developing hands-on teaching skills.
There are two main ways of finding employment:
- Before you leave for your country of choice: As so many ESL teaching jobs require an online interview it is often possible to secure a position within an organization having conducted an online interview from your home country. This means that you can start to arrange visas and work permits (as required) from your own country where you are familiar with the language and customs.
- From within the country of your choice: If you are sure which country and even region you wish to work in, you may decide to travel there first and find employment on the ground. If you are flexible, not in a rush and willing to take on a not ideal position initially, then this can be a good option. As you do not know how long it will take to find a job however, you will need sufficient funds to maintain yourself.
In order to get an interview, most job openings are now found online. There are many major ESL teacher recruitment organizations and your TESOL certificate course should cover these and many other employment aspects.