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Courses and Classes for ESL Teaching Programs

ESL teaching courses provide individuals who will be teaching English to speakers of another language with the skills to teach both children and adults correctly. They are generally completed during a full degree or certificate program. Read on to discover common topics covered in ESL teaching coursework.

Essential Information

Certificate programs in ESL teaching often require the possession of a bachelor's degree for enrollment. Degree programs are often geared toward teacher certification, although some master's programs exist without the certification component. Programs may be geared toward teaching a specific group, such as children or adults.

Those in an ESL teaching program normally take courses in second language acquisition, grammar and punctuation, cross-cultural communication and ESL teaching principles. ESL teaching programs commonly include an internship or practicum where students get to practice teaching English language learners.

Here are common concepts taught in ESL teaching courses:

  • Principles of adult ESL education
  • Linguistics
  • Reading comprehension
  • Writing
  • Bilingual special education

List of Common Courses

Second Language Acquisition Course

Through this course, future ESL teachers examine different theories of bilingualism and the effects it has on the brain. However, teaching ESL course also examines how people learn their native tongue versus how they learn a second language. Students examine the differences and similarities between the language learning processes and discuss ways to implement first-language learning techniques into teaching a second language. Often, language acquisition courses such as this include an overview of activities that teachers can incorporate into their lessons.

Elementary Grammar and Pronunciation Course

Students in this introductory class learn how to teach English grammar to individuals first learning English. They learn how to teach simple sentence structures and verb forms. They also work with students to help them understand how to pronounce the different vowel sounds and apply intonation. In the later part of many TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) and TESL (Teachers of English as a Second Language) programs, students take courses that are designed to teach more advanced grammar and pronunciation. Students also learn methods for incorporating these lessons into everyday classroom activities.

Communication Between Cultures Course

Any interactions between two people of different cultures can lead to problems, especially if the individuals are unfamiliar with the other's culture. In some cultures, politeness and harmony are of the utmost importance and in other cultures, telling the truth is more important than sparing someone's feeling; when those cultures collide, individuals misunderstand one another. Through this course, students examine what's important to people of different cultures, including how they use questions, how they communicate what's important and how they indicate displeasure.

TESOL Application and Theory Course

This introductory teaching ESL course provides students with an overview of principles and guidelines which can help them as they teach beginning English to students who speak another language. Topics include lesson plan development and games for teaching vocabulary and grammar. Often, this class also includes methods for meeting the needs of individual students.


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