The 50-hour practicum required by TESL Ontario provides an opportunity for TESL students to experience a variety of English as a second language instruction settings, observe experienced instructors in action, practice-teach under their supervision, and receive professional feedback and advice. In addition, facilitating a practicum is a rewarding opportunity for practicum mentors. Mentors create a positive learning environment where the 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.
N.B. TESL Ontario acknowledges that there are certain provisions and constraints under which different accredited TESL programs, their host institutions, and ESL 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, practicum mentors, and practicum students, and the distribution of such responsibilities.
1. PRACTICUM STANDARDS
The practicum component of an accredited TESL program meets the following standards:
1.1. Each TESL student completes 30 hours of observation in at least two of the settings listed below and 20 hours of supervised practice-teaching in one or more of the classes observed.
Settings: LINC, adult ESL, ELT, OSLT, EAP, ESP, standardized test preparation
Practicum students spend at least five hours observing the class they will teach prior to teaching it to make sure they start planning with an adequate sense of context.
1.2. All observation and practice teaching hours are completed through a TESL Ontario accredited program in settings located in Canada. Up to half of the required practicum hours (i.e., 15 hours of observation and 10 hours of supervised practice teaching) can be completed in a "synchronous" virtual learning environment (VLE).
1.3. Both observation and practice-teaching components of the practicum are completed under the direction of a TESL Ontario approved practicum supervisor and a qualified practicum mentor.
1.4. Practicum mentors meet the degree and English language proficiency requirements of TESL Ontario accreditation, hold valid TESL Ontario accreditation, and have taught adult ESL for a minimum of 2000 hours, including a minimum of 1400 hours of teaching adult ESL in Canada.
N. B. Where there are no practicum mentors meeting Standard 1.4., TESL program directors may refer practicum students to mentors who are either TESL Ontario accredited or have training, as well as experience, that equates or is superior to that required by TESL Ontario.
1.5. Classes that are observed or taught have a minimum of 5 ESL students. Students are 18 years old and older.
N.B. TESL Ontario does not recognize any observation or practice teaching hours completed in a TESL training classroom context with TESL students role-playing as ESL learners.
1.6. Throughout the 20 hours of supervised practice teaching, each practicum student individually teaches the class. Pair or group teaching is not recognized by TESL Ontario.
N.B. Substitute teaching cannot be assigned to meet any of the required practicum 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 the practicum sites, assigning students to suitable sites/settings, assisting students in finding suitable sites, etc.).
2.4. Provides consultation and support for practicum mentors, as needed.
2.5. Provides on-going supervision, guidance, assistance, and resources necessary for practicum students to complete the required tasks and assignments.
2.6. Evaluates the observation reports and has input into the evaluation of the practice teaching results.
2.7. Meets with practicum students to provide feedback both during the practicum and upon completion.
2.8. Provides the opportunity for practicum students to give feedback on their practicum experience.
3. PRACTICUM MENTOR’S RESPONSIBILITIES
(A practicum mentor is an adult ESL instructor who allows the practicum students to observe, or observe and practice-teach his/her class at the practicum site.)
The practicum mentor
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 the practicum students to develop tasks and activities relevant to the needs of learners 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.
N.B. The practicum mentor has the right to withhold permission to use any unsatisfactory lesson plans or materials the 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 the practice teaching hours.
3.5. Is present in the classroom and supervises the practicum students throughout the practice teaching hours.
3.6. Provides practicum students with concrete and constructive feedback (verbal and/or written) about the practicum students’ lesson plans, teaching performance, interaction with learners, providing feedback, and other pedagogical issues on a continuous basis, and responds to their questions.
3.7. Completes practice-teaching evaluation forms (provided by the TESL program), discusses them with the practicum students, and submits them to the practicum supervisor.
3.8. Contacts the practicum supervisor or the TESL program director with any concerns regarding the 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 practicum mentors, their colleagues, and the ESL students.
4.3. Documents the 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 practicum mentor or the practicum supervisor when needed.