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TESL Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take this program part time?

No. This intensive program can only be completed on a full time basis. Seneca's Faculty of Continuing Education and Training offers TESL certification through part-time studies.

What is the difference between TESL, TEFL and TESOL?

TESL - Teaching English as a Second Language. Used when teaching English in an English speaking country.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Used when teaching English to students in their own country.
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. A broad term that includes all types of English Language teaching.

I don’t have a University degree. Can I still register for this program?

No.  This program is restricted to University graduates only.

Can I work while completing this program?

We do not recommend that students work while completing this course.  In addition to classroom hours, there are readings and assignments to complete each night.

Are the hours flexible?

No.  The program hours are not flexible and personal schedules cannot be accommodated. This intensive program is suitable for individuals who can handle a rigorous course load and tight deadlines; Attendance at all scheduled classroom hours is required for graduation and certification.

Where is the program located?

The TESL program is taught at the Newnham Campus (1750 Finch Avenue East). It is part of the English Language Institute located in Room B4000.

What are the class sizes? How many instructors are there

There are approximately 20 students in TESL 1 and TESL 2.  There are two instructors for TESL 1 and three instructors for TESL 2.

What are the course hours?

TESL 1  Classes are scheduled during the day Monday to Thursday.  The schedule varies each semester depending on observation timetables and practicum placements. The following is a sample timetable:

Weeks 1 - 4: Monday & Thursday TESL classes 8:55- 12:30, 1:30 - 3:15; Tuesday & Wednesday TESL classes 8:55- 12:30 + 2 or 3 hour afternoon classroom obeservation finishing no later 4:10; Fridays: 2-4 hour classroom observation in the morning and independent study module(s) assigned.

Weeks 5 - 7: Monday & Thursday TESL classes 8:55 - 12:30, 1:30 - 3:15; Tuesday and Wednesday - practicum placement (usually 9 - 3 p.m.); Friday - independent study module(s) 

TESL 2: TESL 2 is full-time, four days/week, Monday - Thursday and independent study module(s) on Fridays.  Classes are generally scheduled between 8:55 and 3:15.  During weeks 3-5, practicum placements are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and may be scheduled between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. depending on program and location.

What is the workload like?

 Both TESL 1 and TESL 2 are very intensive.  You can expect to spend 1-2 hours each night to complete course readings and assignments.  There are a number of assignments in each course with set deadlines which require you to have strong time management skills, and adequate time outside of class to commit to meeting the requirements of the program.

What is the program’s reputation in the industry?

The English Language Institute at Seneca College has an outstanding reputation in the industry for graduating teachers that are knowledgeable and well prepared to teach.

Is Seneca’s certificate recognized overseas?

Yes.  Seneca’s TESL 1 certificate complies with international certification standards and is also recognized nationally by TESL Canada.

Do you assist with job placement?

We do not have a job placement service.  However, during practicum placements, students have the opportunity to work in one or two different ESL programs.  Many will use these industry contacts to begin supply teaching and gain contract positions. We also maintain contact with students after graduation and send out job ads for local and overseas positions.

Where can I work with this certificate?

Upon completion of TESL 1, graduates can work in most sectors of the ESL field including private language schools, learning centres, school board adult education programs, tutoring, overseas and Colleges/Universities.

Does Seneca provide any financial assistance for students?

No. The TESL program is not eligible for OSAP.  Tuition fees must be paid prior to the start of the program.

Can I take TESL 2 at a later date?

Yes.  Providing there is space in the course, students can take TESL 2 in a subsequent semester.

What is the refund policy?

There is an administrative fee of $150 ($250 international) for students withdrawing before the fourth scheduled class.  After the fourth scheduled class, there is no refund of tuition fees .

Have any changes been made to the course since it started?

The program was completely revamped in 2017 to meet changing market demands. It is updated annually to ensure that it remains current with industry standards and practices as well as certification requirements.

What qualifications do the instructors hold?

All instructors are approved by TESL Ontario and TESL Canada to teach both theory and methodology. Instructors have at least a Master’s degree and 15 years of teaching experience.

What are the physical facilities like? Is the equipment up to date? Is there a resource centre?

All facilities are accessible and well maintained. The English Language Institute has a modern computer lab and all classrooms are electronically wired with computers and data projectors in each classroom. Wireless Internet is available throughout the campus. A full resource centre is available with computer access and learning supports.

Does the program involve guest speakers from the industry?

Guest speakers representing the industry are regularly asked to speak to classes.

What happens during the practicum component?

TESL 1 students observe 15 hours in various classes and levels in our intensive EAP program for international students. Students will also observe for 10 hours and teach for 10 hours in a class assigned for practice teaching under the supervision of a mentor teacher.
TESL 2 students first observe classes for 5 hours and then teach a further 10 hours under the supervision of a mentor teacher. Students are also observed by a TESL faculty member during practicum

Do you teach PBLA?

We teach students to create lesson plans using a typical LINC lesson plan template that incorporates skill building and skill using learning tasks. Students are taught the basics of portfolio based learning assessment and idintify evaluative tasks that can be used in the portfolios.

What can I do to prepare for the course?

It is very helpful if you review basic grammar structures prior to the start of the course. Additionally, one major assignment that carries throughout TESL 1 and TESL 2 requires you to find a low intermediate second language speaker to interview and obtain a writing sample. (Do not conduct the interview in advance - just identify the potential interviewee).