What is a TESOL course and who is it for?

TESOL is often used to describe the teaching of English to non-native speakers in native English-speaking countries, so this could include teaching English in the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. However, what you learn in a TESOL course can equally be applied in teaching English abroad, so don’t worry.

There are actually many similarities between the definitions of TESOL and what they involve, and they can be used interchangeably across the world. To illustrate this, a TESOL course is sometimes used to describe a TEFL course and language schools often make no distinction between the two when it comes to hiring teachers. So, if you’re looking for a TEFL course or a job in TEFL, you may see it described as a TEFL/TESOL course or job, which is something important to be aware of.

You can expect the TESOL course to prepare you to teach English to speakers of other languages both in your own country and abroad. In this context, and like the TEFL course, it provides a good platform for new teachers to develop their skills and train for a range of potential teaching situations.

What does TESOL mean?

TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This encompasses both TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language).

Are there any entry requirements to do the TESOL course?

Each course provider will have their own entry requirements to undertake the TESOL course. It is worth bearing in mind that some courses are more advanced than others – offering credits up to university level.

The requirements can therefore vary, but generally speaking having an English level high enough to complete the course will be sufficient. For non-native English speakers this translates into a lowest accepted level of B1 on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) level.

How can you study for a TESOL course?

It can be studied both in classroom or entirely online, with some course providers offering hybrid or blended courses which encompass both of these methods of study.

You may also see TESOL mentioned if you decide to pursue a degree in teaching English, as you’d earn a degree or master’s degree in TESOL, not TEFL.

Where can I take a TESOL course?

Courses can be taken in a classroom locally to you or in the country that you wish to teach, or you can study for the TESOL certification online.

What content is covered in a typical TESOL course?

TESOL courses are very similar in nature to TEFL courses and cover much of the same core content. You could expect a TESOL course to cover:

  • Approaches to language teaching – Covering different teaching methodologies and how to teach grammar.
  • Lesson planning – How to plan a good lesson, often following the PPP framework of presenting, practice and production, and creating lesson types suitable for all student types and English levels.
  • Teaching Skills – Encompassing the techniques required to teach the four key skill areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • Classroom management – Learn how to organise a lesson and classroom and manage student behaviour to get the most out of your class.

How long is a TESOL course?

Online TESOL courses could start at 40 hours in length and can go all the way up to 150 hours. 120 hours is a standard length course most employers will look for, and if you’re studying in your own time it can take between 1 and 3 months to complete, depending upon how much time you’re able to put into it.

Classroom-based courses will often involve an intensive, full-time study schedule which typically lasts for about 4 weeks.

What do you get at the end of a TESOL course?

Upon successful completion of the course you’ll be awarded your TESOL certificate. This lasts a lifetime and will show employers that you have the necessary skills and training to start teaching English to students for real. In future you’ll be able to build upon this foundation with more advanced qualifications and experience that you’ll garner from your time in the classroom.

Should you do a TESOL course?

Doing a TESOL course provides a solid basis for both new and inexperienced teachers alike. The training provided within the course will allow you to develop the expertise and skills required for a wide range of English teaching situations. It is therefore worth doing for this reason alone, because if you are well prepared as a teacher both you and your students will benefit in the long run.