The idea of TESOL standards could refer to several different areas of English language teaching and training. Below we take a look at some of them in detail.
Types of regulation: Accreditation and moderation
These two terms are often confused as being the same thing, they are not. Accreditation relates to an external validation process, whereby a recognized body (such as a university) inspects the full course delivery and decides if it meets a set of criteria for that certificate level. Accreditation usually only takes place once for any particular course. An accreditation may need to be updated if the course or its contents significantly change.
Moderation is a continuous process. It is usually done annually for a fixed course, or as in the case of many TESOL courses, conducted on a course by course (monthly) basis. Moderation may be completed by any internal or external suitably qualified person or body. Moderation involves regular checking and updating of any course to ensure that standards are consistent and being maintained.
All respected TESOL courses are both accredited and moderated.
Types of certificate: Levels and entry standards
TESOL qualifications are available at every educational level, from a weekend TESOL course of a few hours, up to a PhD in TESOL taking up to eight years to complete.
For teaching ESOL throughout the world the generally accepted entry level standard is a 120-hour TESOL certificate. This may be taken online or onsite.
In addition to certification, there are some other requirements that are sometimes needed for certain teaching positions. These include, being a native English speaker, being from a particular country, having a degree in any subject, and having a degree in English. Which of the overall requirements are needed is entirely dependent on the country and the job in question. It is fairly obvious that high paying jobs in the Middle East for example require a much higher level of qualifications and experience than many other starting positions in less wealthy countries throughout the world.
Types of course
There are three standard routes to a 120-hour TESOL certification. The specific details of the courses vary depending upon the course provider; however there are some general features which we may describe.
Online courses: These now probably provide more certification worldwide than any of the three options. The course is typically a 120-hour TESOL certification at entry level. The courses tend to be modular in nature and make use of end-of-module tests as a form of assessment. Online courses allow the user to complete the course over a longer time frame than other options and also benefit from the fact they can be taken from anywhere in the world, including the participants own home.
Onsite courses: Unless one operates near where you live, this option will require travel. They are located throughout the world, in all major cities where English is taught as a second language. They typically require around four weeks attendance and cover the same theoretical material as online courses. The big advantage of an onsite course is the possibility of completing some teaching practice. As the courses are often offered in practicing language schools, there are readily available classes for you to teach.
Combined courses: The final option provides some features from both of the previous two options. Typically these courses involve doing the online work first and then going to a location for between eight and ten days to complete some teaching practice.