The 50-hour practicum required by TESL Ontario provides an opportunity for practicum students to experience a variety of English language classes, observe experienced teachers in action, practice teach under their supervision, and receive professional feedback and advice. In addition, facilitating a practicum is a rewarding opportunity for mentor teachers. They create a positive learning environment where practicum students can learn, interact, and grow. They model innovative teaching practices and help practicum students develop their skills in classroom management, lesson planning, material development, and evaluation.
The TESL Ontario practicum requirements are intended to help all participants have a productive and meaningful practicum experience.
TESL Ontario acknowledges that there are certain provisions and constraints under which different accredited TESL programs, their host institutions, and English language programs hosting practicum students operate. Therefore, it will be up to each accredited TESL program (or its host institution) to determine the specific responsibilities of practicum supervisors, mentor teachers and practicum students; and the distribution of such responsibilities.
1. PRACTICUM STANDARD
1.1. Each practicum student completes 30 hours of observation in at least two of the English language program types listed below and 20 hours of supervised practice teaching in one or more of the classes observed:
Practicum students complete at least five prior hours of observation in the class they will teach to assure planning is grounded in an adequate sense of context.
1.2. All observation and supervised practice teaching hours are arranged by TESL Ontario accredited training providers in English language programs located in Canada.
Practicum simulations in teacher training contexts (e.g., in a methodology course) do not count as practicum hours.
1.3. No more than half of the required practicum hours (i.e., 15 hours of observation and 10 hours of supervised practice teaching) can be completed in a virtual learning environment (VLE). All virtual observation and virtual supervised practice teaching (if any) are conducted synchronously.
Based on the English language classes available to them, accredited TESL training providers will determine whether their practicum course is to include any observation or practice teaching in a VLE.
Observation and practice teaching hours completed in HyFlex English language classes count as in-person practicum. In HyFlex course design mode, the teacher is required to be physically present in the classroom, but students may choose to attend the class in-person or join online-synchronously.
In a hybrid course, some sessions are held in-person, and some sessions online-synchronously. Observation and practice teaching hours completed during the online sessions of a hybrid course count as online practicum, and the observation and practice teaching hours completed during the in-person sessions count as in-person practicum.
1.4. Both observation and practice teaching components of the required practicum are completed under the direction of a TESL Ontario certified practicum supervisor and a qualified mentor teacher.
1.5. Qualified mentor teachers meet the degree and English language proficiency requirements of TESL Ontario OCELT certification, hold valid OCELT certification and have taught English to adult learners for at least 2000 hours, including at least 1400 hours in Canada.
Accredited training providers will make every attempt to fulfill Item 1.5. However, in exceptional circumstances where no mentor teachers are available who meet the required OCELT certification and teaching experience, accredited training providers may refer practicum students to mentor teachers who either hold OCELT certification, or have TESL training and teaching experience that equate to or exceed those outlined in 1.5.
1.6. Classes that are observed or practice taught have at least five ELLs in attendance. ELLs are 16 years old and older.
1.7. Throughout the 20 hours of supervised practice teaching, each practicum student individually teaches the class.
Pair/group teaching or substitute teaching by practicum students does not count as supervised practice teaching hours.
2. PRACTICUM SUPERVISOR’S RESPONSIBILITIES
(A practicum supervisor is a staff member of an accredited TESL program who manages the practicum component of the accredited training.)
The practicum supervisor
2.1. Teaches the practicum course and/or holds practicum orientation sessions providing information on the practicum objectives, practicum participants’ rights and responsibilities, practicum supervisor’s role, linking theory and practice, ethics, professionalism, time management, stress, diversity, and other practicum-related topics, as needed.
2.2. Sources practicum sites, liaises with them, and conducts site visits.
2.3. Sets up practicum placements (booking practicum sites, assigning students to suitable English language programs, assisting students in finding suitable sites/English language programs, etc.).
2.4. Provides consultation and support for mentor teachers, as needed.
2.5. Provides ongoing supervision, guidance, assistance, and resources necessary for practicum students to complete the required tasks and assignments.
2.6. Evaluates observation reports and has input into the evaluation of supervised practice teaching results.
2.7. Meets with practicum students to provide feedback both during the practicum and upon completion.
2.8. Provides opportunities for practicum students to give feedback on their practicum experience.
3. MENTOR TEACHER’S RESPONSIBILITIES
(A mentor teacher is an English language of teacher who allows practicum students to observe, or observe and practice teach his/her class at the practicum site.)
The mentor teacher
3.1. Introduces practicum students to the site and provides information and guidance regarding the host organization’s policies, rules, code of ethics, goals, curriculum, and activities, as necessary.
3.2. Provides opportunities for practicum students to observe the class/es they are going to practice teach, thereby preparing them to develop tasks and activities relevant to the needs of ELLs in advance.
3.3. Reviews and monitors practicum students’ preparations/plans for daily activities, and provides consultation and guidance in the development and use of lesson plans prepared by practicum students.
The mentor teacher has the right to withhold permission to use any unsatisfactory lesson plans or materials that practicum students have developed for their practice teaching.
3.4. Enables practicum students to individually teach the class and assume responsibility for facilitating activities independently throughout practice teaching hours.
3.5. Is present in the classroom and supervises practicum students throughout practice teaching hours.
3.6. Provides practicum students with concrete and constructive feedback (verbal and/or written) about their lesson plans, teaching performance, interaction with ELLs, feedback and other pedagogical issues on a continuous basis; and responds to their questions.
3.7. Completes practice teaching evaluation forms (provided by TESL programs), discusses them with practicum students, and submits them to the practicum supervisor.
3.8. Contacts the practicum supervisor or the TESL program director with any concerns regarding practicum students.
4. PRACTICUM STUDENT’S RESPONSIBILITIES
The practicum student
4.1. Attends the practicum course or the practicum orientation sessions offered by the TESL program.
4.2. Acts in a professional and ethical manner; adheres to the host organization’s policies, regulations and procedures (including dress code and work hours); and is respectful of mentor teachers, their colleagues, and ELLs.
4.3. Documents practicum dates/hours and the work that has been completed.
4.4. Discusses the assigned schedule, practicum experience, and progress with the practicum supervisor on a regular basis.
4.5. Successfully completes the required tasks and assignments such as observation reports, guided observation journals, reflective papers, lesson plans, and final essays.
4.6. Requests help from the mentor teacher or the practicum supervisor when needed.