TESL@TFLI is a 150-hour certification program with three components: orientation/pre-class assignments, classroom instruction/peer teaching, and field teaching. It is structured so that fall and spring students can typically complete their certificate in the evenings and on four Saturdays over a 15-week period. Summer intensive students are engaged full-time, including Saturdays, for a four-week period.
This component of the program occurs online, and students do the work at home, at the office, wherever they choose. Pre-class assignments are delivered via email and must be completed in one week. The assignments include online observation of an ESL class as well as fundamental reading materials and worksheets on instructional pedagogy, grammar and pronunciation as they relate to teaching English as a second language. The assignments must be completed and submitted on schedule, or students will be advised not to join the onsite sessions.
Classroom Instruction/Peer Teaching
The on-site portion of the curriculum involves over 120 hours in classes and activities at TFLI. Classroom sessions are devoted to such topics as methods, approaches, techniques, classroom management, student assessment, needs analysis, techniques, etc. Central to the on-site classes is preparation for the ESL teaching practicum. This involves the preparation of a lesson plan on an assigned English teaching point and refinement of that plan through multiple rounds of peer teaching, i.e., teaching the lesson to fellow students as if they were ESL students under the watchful and advisory eye of a trainer. By the time that phase ends, students are well-versed in creating, adapting and using lesson plans, and are ready for field teaching with authentic ESL students.
On four Saturdays, students teach actual classes of ESL students, with each class lasting 1-1/2 hours, followed by private feedback from the trainer who has observed the class and grades the student. Students also observe each other teaching, and there is a group feedback and discussion session at the end of the Saturday sessions. When possible, ESL classes are held at TFLI, but sometimes students do their field teaching off-site. After teaching four classes, student learning increases dramatically with the real-life experience, and by the time field teaching has ended, and certificates are awarded, TESL@TFLI graduates are ready to go to work.