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What is a TESOL Practicum?

Updated: Sep 24, 2023


Books with a pencil on it placed on a desk in front of a chalkboard

Do you want to teach English as a second language? I sure do!


I recently finished my TESOL practicum and am here to tell you how long it took and what my responsibilities were to give you get a better picture of what a TESOL practicum is like.


Disclaimer: not all TESOL practicums are the same, you may have different experiences than mine.

 

Length

My TESOL practicum which took place at a Canadian university, in a class full of international students who were studying abroad for the summer.


A schedule book

My practicum was a 20 hour practicum. This meant I needed to spend a minimum of 20 hours in an ESL classroom as a student-teacher. I ended up spending 22 total hours in the classroom, but many, many more hours outside of class time preparing lesson plans, which is very normal.


These 22 hours spanned across 4 weeks, but this may be different for you depending on your availability and class schedule.


Responsibilities

I can't speak for all TESOL practicums, but in mine I was not required to grade assignments. I was required to create lesson plans based on topics approved by my professor.


I needed to do 6 hours of observation during the theory portion of my TESOL certificate, then 4 more hours of observation during my practicum. I also needed to do 7 hours of independent teaching and 3 hours of solo teaching.

A student writing on paper

The 4 hours of observation took place at the beginning of my practicum. This gave me time to adjust to the new setting, get to know the students and my professor, and get acquainted with the syllabus. The class I was placed in focused on ESL academic writing.



The 7 hours of independent teaching took place during the middle of my practicum. This involved teaching small sections of my professor's lessons, such as a group work activity. I created lesson plans for my independent teaching which ranged from 30 minutes to an hour.


The 3 hours of solo teaching took place in the last 2 weeks of my practicum. I taught a 1.5 hour long lesson on how to write a formal email and another 1.5 hour long lesson on cause/effect prepositional phrases. The second lesson was definitely the more difficult one to plan.



There are a few more responsibilities for a teacher in training such as dressing professionally, communicating respectfully with both your students and teacher(s), arriving early not late, and putting in serious, honest effort.

A teacher holding books while smiling at the camera



Dressing professionally means no torn jeans or t-shirts, inappropriate slogans on shirts, miniskirts, tops with plunging necklines, crop tops, low rise jeans and pants, flip flops, and old running shoes. If you are unsure what to wear, you can ask your professor and/or google teacher fashion for some ideas.




 

If you have any questions about my TESOL practicum, check out my other blog posts on my practicum or ask your question(s) in the comments below.


Click here for more information on TESOL certifications.



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