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What is TESOL?

Reviewed by Jon Konen, District Superintendent

If you have an interest in teaching English to people from other countries, you have likely come across the term TESOL. This term stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

This is a more modern term that encompasses the old way of describing this sector of education: TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language).

TEFL was primarily focused on helping people who didn’t speak English in their day-to-day life in their native countries. People who might be from Russian cities where only their native language was spoken, would be an example. TESL, on the other hand, was the approach developed for people who came from countries that used English in some capacity, such as in government and business related affairs. These types of learners have a background that includes English, but still requires a formal education to gain a complete comprehension of the language.

tesol mobile

The importance of TESOL is more apparent than ever in our increasingly global and diverse world.

Training Courses

For teachers who want to teach these types of student populations through a TESOL program, can become certified to teach in these roles. Training courses can be found online and used for preparation for the official certification through TESOL.org.

Their site offers a way for you to learn more about these 5 certificate programs:

TESOL: Core Certificate Program. This 140-hour program is designed to give students a solid foundation in the main skills required to teach English as a second language. This program even requires a practicum experience with a student to prove you can apply your skills in real-world roles.

TESOL Certificate: Advanced Practitioner. Once you have your core certification out of the way, and experience in the field, you may want to earn your advanced practitioner certificate. This can prepare you for leadership and management positions in your organization. This may also help you make a bigger impact in curriculum design and how programs are executed and evaluated.

ELT Leadership Management Certificate Program. This certification can be useful to those who already work in leadership or management positions, and those who want to move into these higher roles. This program is even offered online. By the time you read this, all their certificate programs may have online options; so check out TESOL’s site to be sure. This can really help busy professionals move ahead without slowing their careers down.

Leadership Development Certificate Program. This is a 4-week, 40-hour online program that is available and targeted for those who want to be leaders in the TESOL International Association.

Principles and Practices of Online Teaching Certificate Program. This TESOL program can help you become proficient in online and mobile course design, development and instructor. This certificate program includes three classes, with each lasting six weeks at a time. You will also need to complete a two week capstone project that is related to the course materials.

Do you want to learn more about TESOL certification and how you can use your skills to help people who speak English as a second language? Visit their site or contact schools in your area who offer TESOL related education programs.