Courses and Grading

Course Objectives

By the end of the program, candidates will be exposed to, through demonstration, explanation, evaluation and reflection, the following key areas:

  • Language The components of English, as a language system of communication + Historical and current theories of second language acquisition
  • Culture The role of culture in planning, instruction and evaluation + Language and culture are inextricably intertwined
  • Instruction Knowledge of language and culture to plan for effective instruction and assessment of learners, using appropriate materials/resources to support authentic use of language skills, which meets the needs of all learners
  • Assessment The purpose of assessment, types of assessments and the basics of assessment theory to evaluate learners language skills and communicative ability
  • Professionalism The importance of classroom research, professional development opportunities and professional ethics in the field of TESOL

Course Descriptions

There are three classes required for the WTTP: Foundations of Learning & Teaching, Language Skills, and Grammar Review. These courses are designed to give you a broad overview of what you need to know to become a successful English teacher in a variety of contexts.   Below you will find class descriptions and learning outcomes for each of the three classes. You will also find information about the Teaching Practicum, which will be managed through your Foundations of Learning & Teaching class.

Student Learning Outcomes

Foundations of Learning & Teaching (60 hours)

This course is designed to help candidates understand the foundations of teaching and learning and how this foundation translates into successful lesson planning, teaching and evaluation. This course will expose candidates to the basics of SLA theory and ESL methodology as they relate to lesson planning, classroom management and evaluation. Candidates will also reflect upon the role of culture in language learning and teaching and their own teaching practices. In addition, this class will address issues of professionalism in the TESOL field.

This class meets for 12 hours per week and will also help students prepare for and evaluate their practicum teaching experience.

By the end of this course, students will

  • Understand the basic teaching cycle (Prepare, Teach, Evaluate)
  • Understand the elements of a successful ESL lesson plan
  • Identify/Understand the strengths and weaknesses of common TEFL methodologies as they relate to lesson planning, classroom management and evaluation
  • Understand, practice and evaluate the appropriateness of basic classroom management techniques
  • Determine how to meet overall class needs and accommodate for individual students
  • Critically evaluate ESL lesson plans and materials
  • Appreciate the importance of reflection in the teaching process
  • Understand the basics of ESL assessment theory (purposes, advantages and limitations of assessment instruments) to evaluate learners language skills and communicative ability
  • Demonstrate knowledge of language and culture to plan for effective instruction and assessment of learners, using appropriate materials/resources to support authentic use of language skills, which meets the needs of all learners
  • Be exposed to the historical and current theories of SLA as they are related to successful lesson planning, presentation and assessment
  • Reflect upon the role of culture in planning, instruction and evaluation (language and culture are inextricably intertwined)
  • Understand the importance of classroom research, self-reflection, professional development opportunities and professional ethics in the field of TESOL
  • Reflect upon and evaluate one’s own teaching style/role as a teacher and its effect on teaching

Practicum Teaching & Observations (30 hours: 10 hours teaching + 10 hours peer observation + 5 hours WESLI class observation + 5 hours Tutoring)

The practicum-teaching component is the cornerstone of WTTP. Candidates will practice-teach the same Conversation Class for the entire five weeks of the program. Candidates will teach one hour each Wednesday and Friday and observe their partner’s teaching on the same days.

Students in the Conversation Class are from the community and WESLI. These classes will have up to 14 international adult students. Most students have the ability to hold a simple conversation in English using limited vocabulary. They are told that the classes focus on oral communication and do not have homework.

By the end of the practicum, candidates will be able to…

  • Demonstrate appropriate presentation skills, language use, classroom management techniques, awareness of student needs, and flexibility to facilitate an engaging learning environment*
  • Demonstrate integration of SLA theory, ESL methodology, classroom management and assessment into teaching practice*
  • Reflect upon their classroom instructional experiences via self-observation and self-evaluation
  • Examine own attitudes, beliefs and assumptions about teaching and learning to engage in critical reflection of teaching practice
  • Demonstrate a professional and culturally sensitive demeanor appropriate to the field of TEFL in teaching practice*
  • Demonstrate the ability to maintain a cohesive lesson plan while adapting to a variety of challenges and opportunities in the classroom*

*Candidates will be observed during the practicum by experienced teachers. The instructor for the Foundations of Learning & Teaching class will oversee the administration of the practicum process; however, information learned in ALL classes will be put into practice during the practicum.

Language Skills (20 hours)

This class is designed to help candidates understand the basic concepts and terminology used for describing the four language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking. Candidates will discuss the different approaches and techniques required to teach the productive (speaking and writing) and receptive (listening and reading) skills. Candidates will also be made aware of the role grammar and lexis play in language learning. Candidates will be exposed to a variety of activities that help learners practice these skills. Candidates will also discuss appropriate methods of assessment.

By the end of this class, candidates will be able to…

  • Understand basic concepts and terminology used for describing reading, writing, listening and speaking skills
  • Understand the basic features (major skills and sub-skills) of each of the fours skills and the components which help learners decode meaning through reading & listening and produce meaning in writing & speaking and determine tasks for targeted practice
  • Identify some of the difficulties learners may face when reading, listening, speaking and writing
  • Understand basic forms of assessment for the four language skills, specifically focusing on understanding multiple ways of assessing speaking
  • Understand the principles and best practices associated with teaching and assessing the four skills
  • Recognize the purpose and context for assessment of grammatical and lexical skills
  • Critically evaluate ESL materials in terms of their ability to support the learning process for reading, writing, listening and speaking

Grammar Review (20 hours)

This class is designed to refresh candidates’ knowledge of grammar and grammar terminology to be able to use it to the extent that they want to in their own teaching and so that they can locate information from outside sources as needed. Candidates will also discuss and be aware of typical grammar pitfalls for ESL learners. They will gain an awareness of what they know already to promote confidence in the classroom but also knowledge of what they may not know, or what might require more preparation. Candidates will become aware of particular recommended resources and the range of resources available to them when they are teaching in order to facilitate ongoing self-education.

By the end of this class, candidates will be able to…

  • Understand the components of English, as a system of communication
  • Recognize grammatical structures and terminology used to talk about language and rules related to words, sentences, paragraphs and texts
  • Critically evaluate student grammatical errors and explain how to form/when to utilize selected structures using correct terminology
  • Use a range of reference material to analyze and describe language for teaching purposes

Course Assessment

Components of Assessment

To meet the assessment requirements of the WTTP, candidates are required to attend and participate in all three core classes and:

  • Practice teach ten 50-minute Conversation Classes
  • Peer observe ten 50-minute Conversation Classes
  • Complete five hours of tutoring
  • Observe five hours of classes (both WESLI classes and additional video observations) and completed five Observation Reflections as they relate to their core class work
  • Maintain and submit a portfolio of all coursework, including written assignments, materials related to teaching practice, and self observation and reflections

Portfolio Components

The portfolio assessment is designed to allow candidates to keep track of their own learning process. Candidates may choose what to include in their final portfolio and should reflect their ability to understand, demonstrate and reflect upon the course goals and learning outcomes; however, they must include the following:

  • Copies of all lesson plans and post-lesson reflections
  • Practicum observer notes and feedback
  • Peer observation notes and reflections
  • Video clips of segments and/or entire lessons
  • Completed written assignments as required by core class instructors
    • Foundations of Learning & Teaching
    • Language Skills
    • Grammar Review
  • A final 2000 word self reflection about the practicum experience, emphasizing insights and realizations that resulted from the practicum experience
  • An initial Statement of Teaching Philosophy
  • Sample Cover Letter
  • Updated resume
  • Letters of reference (optional)

The portfolio may be maintained as a hard copy or digital format. Candidates are encouraged to utilize technological tools to maintain and submit their final portfolio. Some useful resources may be:

  • Evernotes
  • WordPress/EduBlogs or other free blogging platforms
  • Pathbrite
  • LaGuardia ePortfolio
  • Emaze Presentation Tool
  • KEEP Toolkit
  • iWebfolio

Your Foundations of Learning & Teaching instructor will provide you with more information regarding the Portfolio. Your completed Portfolio is not due until the end of the session; however, you are encouraged to begin to compiling materials during week one.

Course Grading Policy

TEFL Certificates will be awarded to candidates who successfully meet the above course requirements. Candidates will receive one of three grades: pass, low pass or fail in each of the course classes and as a final overall grade. Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a TEFL certificate and may request a letter of recommendation. Final grades are kept in the WESLI database indefinitely. Transcripts may be requested at any time.

Pass = 80 – 100%

  • A Pass is awarded to candidates who meet or exceed the course requirements. These candidates have demonstrated the skills and awareness necessary to work independently as a teacher.

Low Pass = 60 – 79%

  • A Low Pass is awarded to candidates who meet the course requirements, but will continue to need guidance to help them develop their skills as a teacher.

Fail = 59% and below

  • A Fail will be awarded to candidates who fail to meet satisfactory completion of the above components of assessment.

Grades reflect the extent to which a candidate has achieved competence in the stated goals. Candidates demonstrate competence through the classwork and homework assignments listed in the Outcome Goals.  As many of the activities are carried out during class time, attendance and participation in class discussion are key parts of assessment, and thus are essential to passing individual courses and the program as a whole.