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TESOL and ESL Specializations

After obtaining your TESOL certification, you already know that you can teach ESL classes in the United States or instruct at a TESOL program abroad. But in fact,TESOL courses have in fact prepared you to work in many other specialized areas. Explore some of the alternative options by following the links below.

TESOL Elementary School

Because fluency is more easily attained if instruction begins at a young age, elementary school teachers of English as a second language play a vital role in the learning process. Elementary education is the base upon which students build in middle and high / secondary schools, so a good elementary school TESOL teacher will instill and cultivate proper studying skills as well as provide interesting and interactive activities to captivate curious young children with characteristically short attention spans. These teachers must use narrative vignettes, dialogues, tests and other materials to create a comprehensive learning experience.

Educational computer programs or interactive websites may also be used as tools to aid students in the language learning process.

Teaching Elementary ESL in the United States

In the United States, the teaching of English as a second language to elementary school children falls under the ESL program. ESL is not part of the normal public school curriculum, rather a supplementary, comprehensive English course for students trying to attain a grasp of the language to better function in American society.

Elementary school ESL teachers are always employed by the either the public school system or a private school. Teachers of ESL must be certified to instruct in that state, as well as having completed a bachelor’s degree. In addition, linguistic master’s degrees, such as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), are gaining popularity as a way to specialize and become certified to teach English.

Regardless of location, elementary school teachers will typically be dealing with students ages five to ten, give or take a year.

Teaching Elementary TESOL in Non-English Speaking Countries

Teaching English as a second language outside of the United States is known as either TESOL, TEFL or TESL, with TESOL often used as an umbrella term. The specific responsibilities of these teachers differ from nation to nation, program to program. Regardless, the common primary duty is to facilitate the academic and social study of the English language in an environment will little regular exposure to it.

Elementary level TESOL teachers usually work five days a week, Monday through Friday, for seven to eight hours a day, either during normal class hours or after school. They instruct at either a public or private school, or are part of a government initiative or commercial education company.

The requirements to become a TESOL teacher at an elementary school level also vary by nation and program. The degrees demanded differ, with more stringent programs asking for a bachelor’s degree in applied linguistics, TESOL or educational linguistics, and more liberal ones accepting any major from an accredited university (even in these cases, a premium is often put on education or English majors). Certification in either TESOL, TEFL or CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is preferred, if not a must, and some courses additionally require a teaching license in elementary education.

Necessary experience also differs, with some organizations asking for up to four years in a teaching English as a second language program, along with general elementary school experience, and others accepting candidates with no prior background. Competence in the host country’s native language is often not required. Some courses stipulate that the candidate be a native English speaker and even a passport holder of an anglophone nation, such as the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom.

TESOL Middle School

Middle school / junior high school TESOL teachers facilitate the academic and social study of the English language by building upon the fundamentals students have learned in elementary school or by creating a foundation from scratch. Either way, these English teachers must build a sturdy base that students can further expand upon in high school English language courses. Middle school English language teachers must use narrative vignettes, dialogues, tests and other materials to create a comprehensive learning experience. Educational computer programs or interactive websites may also be used as tools to aid students in the language learning process.

A big factor which influences the experience of teaching English as a second language is whether the teacher chooses to instruct within the United States or in a non-English speaking country abroad. The schooling structure of some nations does not include middle school, instead jumping directly from elementary to secondary education. If the schooling structure does include middle school, some similarities may exist; middle school English language teachers typically educate students from ages 12 to 15, give or take a year.

Teaching Middle School ESL in the United States

In the United States, the teaching of English as a second language to middle school children falls under the ESL program. ESL is not part of the normal public school curriculum, rather a supplementary, comprehensive English course for students trying to attain a grasp of the language to better function in American society.

Middle school ESL teachers are always employed by the either the public school system or a private school. Teachers of ESL must be certified to teach English to speakers of other languages and have completed a bachelor’s degree. In addition, linguistic master’s degrees, such as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), are gaining popularity as a way to specialize and become certified to teach English.

Teaching Middle School TESOL in Non-English Speaking Countries

Middle school TESOL teachers are sometimes given the freedom to create their own curriculum, implementing their own teaching methods or borrowing ideas from teachers’ workshops held at the start of each semester. Classes may be specialized in spoken English and conversation particularly. Instead of leading courses on the English language in general, middle school TESOL teachers may teach particular subjects, like math or science, in English (in such cases, a degree in the specific subject may be required or preferred).

Besides teaching their own classes, TESOL teachers may also be required to conduct workshops. Middle School TESOL teachers usually work 13 to 24 hours a week, either during normal class hours or after school. They instruct at either a public or private school, or are part of a government initiative or commercial education company. Ten-month to one-year employment contracts with renewal options are common.

The requirements to become a TESOL teacher at a middle school level also vary by nation and program. The degrees demanded differ, with more stringent programs asking for a bachelor’s degree in applied linguistics, TESOL or educational linguistics, and more liberal ones accepting any four-year degree from an accredited university (even in these cases, a premium is often put on education or English majors). Certification in either TESOL, TEFL or CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is preferred, if not a must.

Necessary experience also differs, with most organizations asking for at least one year of general teaching experience. Competence in the host country’s native language is often not required, though it is sometimes stipulated that the candidate must already reside in the host nation. Some programs require that the candidate be a native English speaker and even a passport holder of an anglophone nation, if not specifically American. Gender and a range of age (typically 20 to 60 years old) may also be specified.

Teaching High School TESOL

High school / secondary school English language teachers facilitate the academic and social study of the English language by building upon the fundamentals students have learned in elementary and middle school, or by creating a foundation from scratch.

Either way, these English teachers must build a sturdy base that students can further expand upon in college English language courses or utilize in their professional or personal lives. High school English language teachers must use narrative vignettes, dialogues, tests and other materials to create a comprehensive learning experience. Educational computer programs or interactive websites may also be used as tools to aid students in the language learning process.

A big factor which influences the experience of teaching English as a second language is whether the teacher chooses to instruct within the United States or in a non-English speaking country abroad. Still, some similarities may persist; high school English language teachers typically educate students from ages 14 to 18, give or take a year.

Teaching High School ESL in the United States

In the United States, the teaching of English as a second language to high school children falls under the ESL program. ESL is not part of the normal public school curriculum, rather a supplementary, comprehensive English course for students trying to attain a grasp of the language to better function in American society.

High school ESL teachers are always employed by the either the public school system or a private school. Teachers of ESL must be certified to teach English to speakers of other languages and have completed a bachelor’s degree. In addition, linguistic master’s degrees, such as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), are gaining popularity as a way to specialize and become certified to teach English.

TESOL in Non-English Speaking Countries

Like middle school teachers, high school TESOL teachers are sometimes given the freedom to create their own curriculum, implementing their own teaching methods or borrowing ideas from teachers’ workshops held at the start of each semester. Classes may be specialized in spoken English and conversation particularly. Instead of leading courses on the English language in general, high school TESOL teachers may teach particular subjects, like math or science, in English (in such cases, a degree in the specific subject may be required or preferred).

TESOL teachers usually work 16 to 30 hours a week, either during normal class hours or after school. Opportunities to earn extra income by teaching additional classes may also be available. TESOL teachers instruct at either a public or private school, or are part of a government initiative or commercial education company. Six-month to one-year employment contracts with renewal options are common.

The requirements to become a TESOL teacher at a high school level also vary by nation and program. The degrees demanded differ, with more liberal programs accepting any four-year degree from an accredited university. Certification in either TESOL, TEFL or CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is preferred, if not a must. Necessary experience also differs, with some organizations asking for general teaching experience. Competence in the host country’s native language is often not required. Some programs demand that the candidate be a native English speaker and even a passport holder of an anglophone nation, such as the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom. Gender and a range of age (typically 20 to 60) may also be specified.

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