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  • FAQ's New York, USA

    What will I learn?

    The SIT TESOL Certificate Program addresses three areas:

    1. Participants explore the relationship between language learning and teaching, which later provides the foundation for their investigation of teaching.

    2. Participants plan, teach and assess lessons in the four skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing), grammar, and culture, through experiential activities, teaching demonstrations, discussions, lesson planning, and readings.

    3. Participants put their new knowledge and skills into practice through daily practice teaching sessions. Trainers observe and facilitate feedback sessions after these lessons. From them, participants learn to reflect on and assess their own teaching as well as to learn from their peers' teaching.

    What are the lessons like?

    The sessions are all very practical and hands-on. There are four basic session types:

    1. Information workshops. This is when you learn about effective teaching practices, frameworks, language awareness etc. This involves lots of pair and group work; it is not lecture-style.

    2. Guided lesson planning. The trainer will give you a lot of assistance in planning your lessons at the beginning of the course. By the end, you will be able to plan independently.

    3. Practice teaching. You will have practice teaching with real ESL students. This is your opportunity to put into practice what you have learned. You will observe your peers' lessons when you are not teaching.

    4. Post-teaching Feedback. After each practice teaching session, there will be a feedback session in which you analyze your own lesson in terms of what helped and hindered your students' learning; analyze your peers' lessons and give them feedback as well as get feedback from your peers on your lesson; and receive verbal and written feedback from the trainer on the lesson you taught. This is an incredibly valuable and important part of the learning process.

    Does the school offer any job assistance?

    Yes. ESL teaching opportunities exist around the globe. As globalization continues and the world gets smaller, English is becoming more and more important. Teaching opportunities are expanding in many countries as students and workers seek to improve their marketable employment skills. Here in New York, the most multi-cultural city in the U.S, there is a substantial ESL industry that services 2 general populations - students coming from abroad to learn English in our exciting city; and immigrants who need English for a better life here. This is all good news for qualified ESL teachers - whether you want to travel and live abroad or stay in the U.S. and discover new cultures at home.

    The certificate is a pre-service credential which is recognized internationally. This certificate will help you find an entry-level position in a language institute, in an adult education program, or a literacy center domestically or overseas. Most college and university teaching positions, however, require you to have an MA TESOL degree. Almost every teaching opportunity overseas now requires the TESOL or TEFL certificate (see below for definitions), and usually one that provides over 120 hours of instruction including a practicum. This Certificate Course more than fulfills this requirement.

    Who teaches the course?

    The course is taught by one trainer or two trainers working in tandem. The trainers' responsibilities include teaching the course content, processing discussions, coaching participants in developing lesson plans, coaching participants on how to plan and teach lessons from the learners' perspectives, facilitating peer teaching and learning, analyzing participants' teaching through observable learner behaviors, and providing feedback to participants based on measurable outcomes. The trainers have significant experience in:

    1. Teaching a variety of levels with diverse student learners.

    2. Leading group discussions in which they help participants reflect on what they know and what they are learning about teaching and learning.

    3. Introducing frameworks and guiding the participants' use of a framework.

    What kinds of people take this program?

    Participants encompass a broad range in age and experience. There are college-age students who are interested in traveling and working overseas; working professionals preparing to enter alternative careers or retirement; stay-at-home moms looking for some extra cash or to re-enter the workforce; people concerned about the economy looking for a job abroad; people wanting to travel and learn a new language and culture; and those who have been teaching in ESOL for many years without formal practical training. Non-native English speakers with strong English skills also take the certification so they can teach English when they return to their own countries or elsewhere.

    What are the entrance requirements?

    You must have a high school degree and show a capacity for tertiary education including a good understanding of the English language and good writing skills. Trainees need to have a language level high enough to teach an Advanced level class. Non-native speakers should have the equivalent of the below test scores. All potential course participants are required to have an oral interview (which can be done by phone) and write an essay to ensure their language skills are adequate to take the course and to teach English. All participants must show a willingness to plan and teach in groups and to work reflectively.

    For non-native speakers of English, the language proficiency requirements are set as:

    • 650 (paper-based TOEFL)
    • 280 (computer-based TOEFL)
    • 115 (IBT TOEFL)
    • 900 (TOEIC)
    • Band 7 on IELTS
    • C2 on the Common European Framework
    • CPE

    Please note that that this is a guide only. If you have not done any of these tests, we can assess your English language level in the application process.

    Will this certificate enable me to teach ESOL/ESL in US public schools?

    No. To teach in public schools you need a public school certification or licensure, a process which involves an undergraduate degree (B.A.) followed by at least 13 weeks of full-time student teaching under a veteran teacher in the public school setting. However, the SIT TESOL certificate may qualify you for an aide position in a public school ESOL/ESL program.

    What is the difference between TESOL and TEFL?

    Basically they are the same thing. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is an umbrella term that includes Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). TESOL is an acronym that is used more by US-based programs and TEFL more by British programs. Most job postings will include one of these terms.

    Does everyone who attends get a certificate?

    To receive the certificate you must meet all the program requirements. The requirements are:
    1) attend all the program sessions (allowances are made for emergency situations),
    2) communicate effectively in written and oral English
    3) successfully achieve the goal and objectives of the program,
    4) complete all of the student teaching requirements,
    5) successfully complete all program assignments. Trainers will meet with you at regular intervals to give you feedback on all aspects of your work in the program. You will also do self-assessment and peer assessment as part of your program.

    What are the benefits of doing the certificate program through you?

    The school in New York has been in the language teaching business since 1973. In addition to the Certificate program they also run American and Professional English Programs, a foreign languages program and a translations department. This expertise and resources benefit you in a number of ways.

    1. Job Opportunities. We frequently hire outstanding course participants as instructors directly into the American English Program. Many current teachers at the school have gone through the course and have a common bond based on their experiences. This also means that there are plenty of past graduates around to support and share their experiences with participants who are currently getting certified.

    2. Resources and Observing Classes. Taking an accredited course at a language school which offers an English program also means that participants have access to the schools teaching resources. There are also plenty of opportunities to observe real classes taught by experienced teachers. You can do this before taking the certification, during or at any time after the program.

    3. Experience. The school staff has a lot of experience in the ESL field. The school was a founding member of IALC, the International Association of Language Centers. Members of this organization are audited and held to the Association's strict standards for quality language instruction. As a result of the school's involvement in this association, they have connections to schools all over the world that will be available to you when you finish the certification. Because of the cumulative experience of the staff and administration, the school also has connections to schools all over the city and abroad, placing you at the center of a valuable network of schools, colleges and English language programs where you might potentially find a teaching position.

    4. Professional Development. The school provides in-house professional development to all its teachers once or twice a month. All participants can attend these sessions for free as long as they are in New York. The school also offers grammar seminars for ESL professionals. These courses, at an additional charge, are especially useful for new teachers concerned about their existing grammar knowledge.