Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New TESL Program starts in May

By Lori Kittelberg, Communications & Marketing Office

Combine zero teaching skills with teaching a new language to students whose mother-tongue and culture you may not be familiar with and it’s a recipe for disaster.

ESL instructor Janice Penner (second from right in the above photo) knows from experience. In the summer of 1979, she was a volunteer teacher in Japan. She was mystified about how to engage her students and the textbook she was given only had grammar drills.

Years later, she was in Taiwan, studying Mandarin while also teaching English as a Second Language (ESL).

“I had my degree and experience, and the difference was incredible in how much more effectively the students were learning. I was less stressed out and much more confident in my teaching ability,” Janice says.

“People without training are often overwhelmed with the errors their students make – are they because of language barriers, cultural communication issues or because the student has learned something incorrectly?” she explains.

As the coordinator of the new Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Citation at Douglas, Janice hopes to prevent this type of scenario in Canada as well as abroad.

The new, one-semester TESL Program is being offered at the New Westminster Campus starting in May. It is open to those who want to teach ESL locally and internationally. How is it unique? It includes a course specifically on tutoring, plus a 30-hour practicum (many similar programs offer the minimum requirement of 20 hours).

Canada, along with countries like Taiwan, Korea and China are now setting higher standards for foreign English-language teachers. Anyone planning to teach in Canada or abroad would be well-advised to get a credential. And with more people earning money on the side as ESL tutors, it never hurts to have a leg up on the competition.

The program is well-suited to anyone who is looking for a career shift, those who want to pay their way as they travel abroad, ESL tutors and anyone with an interest in other cultures. Applicants do not have to be native-English speakers.

For more information, contact Janice Penner at or 604-527-5175.