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TESOL program

We are proud to announce the launch of Durham Region's first Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) diploma program*! This exciting one-year program will prepare you to teach English in adult language classrooms, and will be accredited by TESL Ontario.

Contact us at tesol@ontariotechu.ca.   

Apply for September 2020 start

*Pending final approval.

  • We’re the only Durham Region-based TESL Ontario accredited program.
  • When you successfully complete your studies with us, you will have earned multiple credentials:
    • From Ontario Tech University:
      • a diploma in TESOL
    • From TESL Ontario:
      • an OCELT certificate (Ontario certificate in English Language Teaching)
      • an ICTEAL (International Certificate in Teaching English as an Additional Language)
  • If you’ve completed a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education or Master of Education program at Ontario Tech University’s Faculty of Education, you may be eligible for transfer credits.
  • We include a significant focus on online language teaching to prepare you for the growing demand for English instruction via videoconferencing platforms.
  • Our courses are infused with technology and prepare you to make informed decisions about how software applications can support your language teaching.
  • Some of our courses are offered entirely online in a virtual classroom through Adobe Connect, while others are offered on-site at the Faculty of Education, giving you the best of both experiences.
What does the TESOL accreditation allow me to do?

Your Ontario Tech University diploma in TESOL demonstrates to employers that you’ve undertaken rigorous post-baccalaureate studies in English language teaching (far exceeding the quality of privately offered certificate programs that are run over a few weekends). This will heighten your marketability in the global English Language Teaching (ELT) industry which continues to expand as the world becomes increasingly connected.  Your TESL Ontario certificate in OCELT qualifies you to teach in publicly-funded adult language classes in Ontario (in fact no other certification is acceptable for teaching in government-sponsored language programs in Ontario). Your TESL Ontario certificate in ICTEAL qualifies you to teach English internationally.

How do I apply to the TESOL diploma program?

Students who wish to be considered for admission to the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) post-baccalaureate undergraduate diploma program at Ontario Tech University may apply through the TESOL Diploma Application Form.

What job opportunities will be available to me after completing this program?

Graduates from this program will be qualified to teach in any publicly-funded (government-sponsored) language class, such as Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) or job-specific language-training programs. You will also be qualified to teach in many private language schools or tutoring programs. Additionally, graduates will be qualified to teach English in a wide variety of international contexts (private or public language schools, post-secondary institutions, corporate programs), as well in online language schools that link qualified teachers with students in other countries through video-conferencing. Additionally, the regard for the rigour associated with an Ontario Tech University diploma in TESOL will undoubtedly accelerate your opportunities to move into administrative and/or teacher mentor roles.

Can I teach ESL in an Ontario elementary or secondary school?

Neither the TESOL diploma (from Ontario Tech University) nor the OCELT (from TESL Ontario) qualifies you to teach Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in a publicly funded Ontario school. A Bachelor of Education along with additional course work specializing in ESL teaching is required to teach in that context.

However, the TESOL diploma and OCELT would be recognized by private Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools (where teachers are not required to hold a Bachelor of Education) as suitable credentials for teaching in their ESL programs.

English is not my mother tongue; can I still teach ESL?

Yes! In fact, sometimes the best English teachers are former English learners. You know the challenges firsthand and can bring your own experiences to your lesson planning. You will be required to demonstrate compliance with Ontario Tech University’s English proficiency requirements, as well as those of TESL Ontario.

Do I need to speak a second language to take this program?

No. While familiarity with multiple languages can certainly inform your English teaching, your passion for language education and the credentials you earn in this program will enable you to reach all your students regardless of their linguistic background.

Can I get OSAP for this program?

We are currently seeking Ministry approvals for OSAP funding and will update you as soon as that process is complete.

Can I complete this program part-time?

At this time, we are only offering the TESOL program full-time over two terms. Looking ahead, if demand warrants, we will consider offering the program on a part-time basis. If your concern is with regard to holding down part-time employment while studying, it might be helpful to know that the TESOL program consists of approximately 20 hours per week of class time – which may provide some flexibility for other commitments.

Do I have to find my own practicum placement?

No, we will make those arrangements on your behalf. Your practicum will consist of a few hours per week over the 12-week term (rather than one large block over multiple days/weeks) and will take place in an approved adult English-language classroom.

Will I receive a placement close to where I live?

We cannot guarantee your placement will be nearby your home. We partner with a number of publicly funded programs in the Durham Region, including the university’s own English Language Centre at the north Oshawa campus location. We will certainly do our best to place you in a location that is convenient for you, but please be prepared to have to travel to a site beyond your own local community.

This full-time undergraduate diploma can be completed in eight months, and features a blend of on-site, online and experiential learning.

The majority of courses will be held at our downtown Oshawa campus location and will include self-directed online components. Additionally, at least two courses will be taught fully online in our virtual classrooms, giving you valuable first-hand experience in online language teaching and learning.

In addition to over 270 hours of coursework, you will complete at least 50 practicum hours in a TESL Ontario approved language classroom: 30 hours of observation plus 20 hours of teaching.

This diploma program is completed in two full-time terms (September - April) with the following courses:

Term 1

TESL 100 - Foundations
TESL 101 - Methods 1
TESL 102 - Teaching Components 1
TESL 103 - Mobile Teaching and Learning*
TESL 104 - Professionalism
TESL 105 - Practicum 1

Term 2

TESL 201 - Methods 2
TESL 202 - Teaching Components 2
TESL 203 - Socio-Cultural Contexts of Education*
TESL 204 - Reflective Practitioner
TESL 205 - Practicum 2

Course descriptions

TESL 100 Foundations

This course provides an introduction to Education Theory, Communication Theory, Linguistic Theory and Language Structure. It will serve as an overview that provides the context for all other learning in this program. It is a prerequisite for all other courses and must be taken prior to or concurrently with other courses. It will consist of 12 hours of Education and Communicative theory, 12 hours of Linguistic Theory and Concepts, and 12 hours of Language Structure studies.

TESL 101 Methods 1

This course is the first of two Methods courses. It includes an in-depth exploration of past, current and emerging approaches to language teaching (nine hours), and the development of course and program planning skills (nine hours). Students will learn the skills and strategies required to develop their teaching of reading, writing, speaking and listening with English-language learners. Socio-linguistic theories and approaches such as task-based learning and communicative language learning will form the foundations for classroom activities.

TESL 102 Teaching Components 1

This course presents instructional strategies related to the four skill areas (reading, writing, speaking, listening) with a focus on receptive language (12 hours). Course content also includes a 12-hour focus on developing grammatical, vocabulary, and textual competencies; as well as 12 hours dedicated to designing language learning assessments (journals, portfolios, presentations, feedback and error correction).


TESL 103 Mobile Teaching & Learning

This fully online course introduces a number of themes related to computer-assisted language learning (CALL). Topics include software apps and digital tools; tandem learning/social media; virtual classrooms; virtual reality (Second Life); multimedia resources; digital literacy in language learning; fully online and blended learning; building an online community; and one-to-one online teaching.

TESL 104 Professionalism

This course focuses on elements of professional standards and growth as established by TESL Ontario. Topics include: understanding the job market; networking; professional conferences and journals/publications; publicly funded language and settlement centres; and private language schools.

TESL 105 Practicum 1

This course provides students with an overview of the interconnected nature of planning, instruction, assessment and managing student needs within a classroom. Topics from Methods 1 and Teaching Components 1 will be contextualized as part of orientation and reflection with respect to a 25-hour practicum placement that is embedded within the course. This course consists of 11 one-hour in-class sessions, 15 hours of observation in a TESL-approved classroom, and 10 hours of supervised teaching (five of which can be online if desired). (Responsibilities of students during their practicum will be discussed in the in-class sessions.)

TESL 201 Methods 2

This second of two Methods courses will develop teaching and assessment strategies at an in-depth level. Course content includes nine hours of teaching skills (classroom management, individualized instruction, error correction, and interactive skills), and nine hours of placement and exit testing (CLB, CEFR, TOEFL, IELTS). Students will continue to develop the skills and strategies required to effectively teach reading, writing, speaking and listening with English-language learners. The course will also focus on managing continuous intake classes and multi-level classes.

TESL 202 Teaching Components 2

This course presents instructional strategies related to the four skill areas (reading, writing, speaking, listening) with a focus on productive language (12 hours). Course content also includes a 12-hour focus on developing pronunciation, textual competencies, grammar, vocabulary, as well as 12 hours dedicated to progress assessment.

TESL 203 Socio-Cultural Contexts of Education

This fully online course is an introduction to language as a context-dependent social phenomenon. Students examine how various contexts and social factors such as age, gender, social class, accents, status, setting, audience and topic influence linguistic choices, with special attention to multilingual contexts. Other topics include language attitudes, linguistic discrimination and global Englishes (emerging localized or indigenized varieties of English).

TESL 204 Reflective Practitioner

This course builds on the content of TESL 104 (Professionalism) to further explore elements of professional growth, e.g. action research, developing a growth mindset, and membership in communities of practice. Students will explore the concept of ‘teacher as researcher’ and learn the fundamentals of inquiry, data collection and analysis, and sharing findings.

TESL 205 Practicum 2

This course provides students with an in-depth exploration of the interconnected nature of planning, instruction, assessment, and managing student needs within a classroom. Topics from Methods 2 and Teaching Components 2 will be contextualized for program/lesson planning in the 25-hour practicum placement that is embedded within the course. This course consists of 11 one-hour in-class sessions, 15 hours of observation in a TESL-approved classroom, and 10 hours of supervised teaching (five of which can be online if desired). (Responsibilities of students during their practicum will be discussed in the in-class sessions.)
Our TESOL diploma program includes two 25-hour practicum placements—one in each term. Students will be placed in an approved English language classroom for adults with an associate TESL-certified teacher. Each practicum placement will consist of 15 hours of observation and 10 hours of supervised teaching. The practicum hours will take place throughout the term, and will be arranged around students' course schedules. Potential placement sites include Ontario Tech University’s English Language Centre, EAP partner schools and LINC programs. In keeping with the growing demand for online English teachers, the practicum teaching hours will include opportunities to teach English language learners in an online setting.
Admission Criteria

To successfully apply to the TESOL diploma program, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Hold a three-year undergraduate degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution.(International applicants can review the university’s International Admissions Credentials document for admission equivalencies for international documentation) 
  • If your mother tongue or first language is not English, you will be required to give evidence of your oral and written proficiency in English. To learn more, please visit the TESL Ontario Proof of English Language Proficiency page.
  • Demonstrate personal suitability for the program as determined via supporting documentation, which will include responses in essay format to three questions as part of the online application process.
  • An interview may be required as part of the application process.

    Note that admission to the TESOL diploma program is competitive, and meeting the minimum entry conditions does not guarantee admission.
Important Dates

The TESOL diploma program has one intake per year, in September. The deadline to apply is March 31.

Late applications may be accepted, depending on availability. For information, please contact the program office at tesol@ontariotechu.ca.

How to Apply

Apply using the TESOL Diploma Application Form.