• Tom Garside

Week by week - CertTESOL time commitment

online Trinity CertTESOL

We get a lot of enquiries from people who want to take our Cert TESOL course but have other commitments such as work or family, and want to know what the weekly workload for the course is. We understand life is busy, it's one of the reasons we developed our courses to be delivered online. I get it. So I thought I'd do a breakdown of the weekly time commitment to the course. I hope you find it helpful.

The Trinity CertTESOL, like other Level 5 regulated teacher training courses, involves work in a lot of different areas of teaching and learning. The traditional 4-5 week face-to-face course is incredibly intensive, often involving sleepless nights, burnout and high stress levels as trainees typically spend all of their time working on course assignments and lesson planning.

As a solution to this, Language Point’s 12-week online-only CertTESOL course is much less intensive, and allows for trainees to work and study at the same time, and removes the costs of travel and accommodation for trainees visiting different course locations for the time they are on the course. So what does a typical week on the online CertTESOL look like? What do trainees have to do week by week, and how can they manage their time effectively?

Across the course as a whole, the time requirement for study and teaching averages out at around 15 hours per week (some weeks more, some weeks less, and this does depend on how you manage your time, too). Within that time, you will be working online and attending regular group tutorials with our trainers, as well as completing assessed assignment works follows:

Weeks 1-5: Language and methodology awareness

The first few weeks of the course are focused on the theoretical basis for the more practical work that you will complete later in the course. In these weeks, you will mainly focus on completing the range of online input videos and tasks relating to teaching and learning theory, and language awareness, to prepare you to describe, evaluate and deliver effective English language lessons for the assessed components of the course from week 6 onwards.

The input for the course is designed around different types of interactive tasks. You will be asked to summarise, evaluate and develop ideas that are presented in the video content, and to discuss ideas with other trainees online, before writing response tasks onto a shared discussion board. As in all course units, the tasks you complete here will be monitored by course trainers who will respond to all responses that you provide, to guide you in your study.

Weeks 6-7: Guided Observation and Unknown Language lessons

In weeks 6 and 7, you will get your first experience of the TESOL classroom, firstly by observing 4 hours of teaching as delivered by qualified and experienced language teachers. For each of these lessons, you are required to write between 500-1000 words to summarise and evaluate the teaching and learning that you observe. These evaluations for the Guided Observation Journal, and form the majority of the work that you will do in week 6 of the course.

In week 7, you will take part in another practical assignment: the Unknown Language Journal. For this, you will become a beginner-level learner in a class to study a language that you (and others on the course) have no experience with. The teacher will use the methods that we train you in to teach that language, and you are required to write between 500-1000 words for each of the four lessons, to reflect on your experience as a learner. Trainees always say that this is the most enjoyable part of the course, and that having the experience as a learner opens their eyes to the challenges and successes of their own students.

Week 8: The Learner Profile

The next week and a half of the course is probably the most intensive period of work, as you will be putting together the longest assignment for the course: the Learner Profile. This week, you will meet a real learner of English and give them a 30-minute interview and some language testing to define their strengths and weaknesses in English. The assignment itself requires you to analyse the information from the interview and tests to create a study plan for that learner.

This is a really useful assignment - it’s long (around 4000 words), but we give you lots of support and this is a very structured assignment which can be completed in clear sections. Trainees typically say that this is a challenging but ultimately very rewarding and useful assignment as part of their training.

Weeks 9-12: Teaching Practice

The final four weeks of the course are dedicated to the most practical element of your training - the 6 teaching practice lessons which form your Teaching Practice Portfolio. For each of these 1-hour lessons, you will receive lesson planning tutorials and post-lesson feedback tutorials, to help you to develop your teaching in specific areas and improve as you work through the lessons.

Final week assessments

In week 12, the final week of the course, you will also sit a Language Awareness exam (90 minutes, online), and prepare for the external assessment for the course: the Materials Assignment. For this, you will write around 500 words to evaluate a piece of teaching material that you have designed for one of your Teaching Practice lessons, and on the assessment day for the course, you will present this assignment to a Trinity College examiner in a 10-minute assessed interview, This is the final assessment for the course.

Overall, the CertTESOL is challenging, but very rewarding, and the 12-week timetable works well to reduce the stress and workload, helping you to complete all required work to a high level of quality. As a result, our course achieves a 97% pass rate, which shows that the support our trainers provide, along with the organisation of the course weeks, work well to help new and experienced teacher succeed on the course.

Tom Garside is Director of Language Point Teacher Education. Language Point delivers the internationally recognised RQF level 5 Trinity CertTESOL in a totally online mode of study, and the RQF level 6 Trinity College Certificate for Practising Teachers, a contextually-informed teacher development qualification with specific courses which focus on online language education or online methodology.

If you are interested to know more about these qualifications, or you want take your teaching to a new level with our teacher education courses, contact us or visit our CertTESOL FAQ and CertPT FAQ pages for details.


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