Teaching English as a Second Language

2017/18 Program Handbook

Program Code: 1008
School of Language and Communications Studies

Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

This is a companion document to the current Conestoga College Student Guide

Program Handbook Guidelines

The purpose of this handbook is to provide students with program-specific details and other important information. The material in this handbook is accurate at the date of posting, and is applicable for the current academic year. Students will be informed of handbook changes that occur, if any, through college email. Program handbooks are updated yearly and students must check their program handbook for the current edition. 


Welcome to Conestoga!

Congratulations on being accepted into the post-grad TESL Program at Conestoga College ITAL. I am pleased to welcome you to the Program as you begin your journey into the world of teaching ESL/EFL. The possibilities are endless whether you decide to teach in a community ESL or LINC Program locally or decide to teach abroad. You will be amazed where this career can take you!

To ensure that you are prepared to begin your teaching career, the Program combines a strong theoretical foundation with numerous opportunities for practical application in the English language classroom. During the two practicum placements in the Program, you will have an opportunity to apply what you have learned. As you progress through the program, know that our faculty is dedicated to supporting your learning.

This handbook provides you with specific information related to the academic standards, guidelines and protocols related to the TESL Program. If you have any additional questions please contact your faculty, your coordinator or contact me directly. I wish you all the very best throughout the Program and look forward to meeting you.


Christine Buuck
Dean, Academic Administration

Program Academic Team

Dean – Academic Administration 
Christine Buuck
Doon Main Campus
519-748-5220 ext. 3675

Chair – Conestoga Language Institute 
Crystal Brown
Doon Main Campus
519-748-5220 ext. 2178

Administrative Assistant for the Conestoga Language Institute
Liliana Pereira
Doon Main Campus
519-748-5220 ext. 3751

Program Coordinator
Laura Stoutenburg
Doon Main Campus, Room 2E20
519-748-5220 ext. 3896

Program Faculty

Lesline Smikle
Doon Main Campus, Room 2E20
519-748-5220 ext. 3433

Laura Stoutenburg
Doon Main Campus, Room 2E20
519-748-5220 ext. 3896

Other Faculty

Including the above-mentioned faculty, dedicated faculty from the Conestoga Language Institute and from partnering language education institutions will work with you for the duration of this program. Your academic success is paramount to the whole team.

Contact information for this faculty will typically be provided on the first day of related courses.

Program Overview

Program Description

The Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Certificate Program is a full-time 2 semester graduate program designed for students who wish to teach English as a Second Language in Canada and/or overseas.  The program focuses on current theory and practice in language teaching in diverse learning environments, including in-class, blended, and online learning. The program includes 2 supervised teaching practicums.  This program is recognized by TESL Canada and TESL Ontario.    

Program Curriculum Sequence/ Design

The following is the anticipated sequence of the program over its two semesters of implementation beginning in September 2016.

Level Course Number Course Name Credits Hours
1 TESL8200 (101) TESL001: Foundations for English Language Learning 4 55
1 TESL8210 (101) TESL002: Foundations for English Language Teaching I 2 35
1 TESL8220 (101) TESL003: The Structure and Sound of English I 2 35
1 TESL8230 (101) TESL004: Observation/Practicum I 2 25
2 TESL8245 (101) TESL 005: Foundations for English Language Learning and Teaching II 3 45
2 TESL8250 (101) TESL 006: The Structure and Sound of English II 4 60
2 TESL8260 (101) TESL 007: Teaching the Four Language Skills 3 50
2 TESL8280 (102) TESL 008: Observation/Practicum II 2 35

In-class delivery students will take the Part 1 classes concurrently for 9 weeks beginning in September, followed by the Practicum in November and December. You will take the Part 2 classes concurrently for 10 weeks beginning in January, followed by the Practicum in March and April. Occasionally, minor program design changes do occur and students are notified of these changes as soon as possible by the Coordinator of the Program.

Online students may register for Part 1 classes in any order, as long as the Practicum is taken after or concurrent to at least one other course. All Part 1 courses must be complete before registering for courses in Part 2.

Program Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this program will enable the graduate to:

  1. Apply principles of second language acquisition/learning and aspects of the nature of language to the design of learning opportunities in varied contexts.
  2. Assess the language learning needs of adult learners in order to develop and facilitate appropriate language learning opportunities
  3. Create a respectful learning environment which enables a culturally diverse group of learning with diverse individual learning styles to meet their language learning needs and goals.
  4. Design learning activities which integrate linguistic, sociolinguistic, textual and pragmatic aspects of the English language in a context which is accessible and meaningful to learners.
  5. Adapt planning and instruction to program context variables in order to help learners achieve their goals within a variety of current program contexts.
  6. Develop plans for teaching and learning which are appropriate for learners in specific programs, drawing on a variety of curricular models and resources.
  7. Plan syllabi, lessons, activities, and assessments that support all learners in reaching their language learning goals.
  8. Choose from a wide range of teaching resources and technological tools to best meet learners' needs and enhance learners' engagement and motivation.
  9. Instruct adult language learners in a clear and engaging manner which fosters community and supports learning.
  10. Implement a variety of methods of assessment to monitor learner progress and to guide decision making in keeping with the assessment requirements of a variety of programs.
  11. Adapt current technologies to the needs of the learners and the type of delivery model in a variety of adult language learning settings.
  12. Develop a dynamic and evolving philosophy of learning and teaching based on reflection, collegial discussion, action research, and dynamic interaction with learners.

Student Services


Refer to the Student Guide for information on Student Services including Accessibility, Counselling, Learning Commons, Student Financial Services and Student Life.

Career Services – Program Specific

As part of the Part 2 Practicum, TESL8280, a workshop specific to job search for an ESL job market will provide you with sample resumes and cover letters, names addresses of regional employers and sound advice on looking for work in Waterloo Region and beyond.

Co-Curricular Record – Program Specific

Conestoga offers a number of volunteer opportunities to enhance your college learning experience in concrete ways, including Conversation Partners with second language students. The new Co-Curricular Record initiative will provide you with the opportunity to document these experiences.

Orientation – Program Specific

The TESL Certificate program, in-class delivery, participates in the post-graduate program orientation in the evening one week prior to the beginning of classes. At that time, you will be introduced to the program faculty, learn important information about the program, and meet with graduates of the program who are currently teaching English in the community. You will also receive an overview of services available at the college and have the opportunity to purchase textbooks and parking passes, and to obtain a library card. 

The TESL Certificate program, online, delivery, offers an online orientation on the Monday of the first week of the semester to orient new students to online learning and the TESL program design.

Program Information and Requirements

Academic Assistance

Academic assistance is available to students through a variety of avenues. The program coordinator and faculty can advise students on specific program and course information. Access the Conestoga website for assistance provided through Accessibility Services. Access the Learning Commons website for detailed information on the academic services they provide, including Learning Skills, Peer Services, Math and Writing assistance.

Academic Dates

Academic dates can be found on the Academic Dates webpage.

  • Academic start dates for the TESL in-class delivery reflect the start dates of regular Conestoga programming. Courses finish according to the week-by-week schedule provided in the first week of classes.
  • Online course start dates reflect the start dates for OntarioLearn courses. Each online course is designed on a 12-week schedule. 

Academic Probation – Program Protocols

See below.

Academic Standing and Promotion Requirements – Program Protocols

  • Students must successfully complete all courses in Part 1 before beginning Part 2.
  • Students who fail no more than one course by not more than 10% in Part 1 or Part 2 may take a supplemental assessment for a pass in the course.
  • Students who fail the same course more than once will be discontinued from the program. Students who fail two or more courses will be discontinued from the program.
  • The Practicum is assessed on a Pass/Fail basis. Failure will result based on any of the following three circumstances:
    • the student teacher fails to achieve an assessment better than “needs improvement” in more than one category of the supervisor rubric.
    • the student teacher fails to observe professional comportment at all times, as captured in the TESL Practicum Protocols.
    • The mentor teacher requests early removal of the student from the practicum out of concern for the learning of the students in the ESL practicum class or due to failure of the student teacher to observe professional comportment.
  • If you fail the practicum, you will attend your feedback session and receive suggestions for improvement. You may apply in writing to request an opportunity to repeat the practicum, listing reasons why the request should be granted. At the discretion of the Practicum Supervisor, you may be given the option to repeat the practicum. If this option is given, you must wait at least one full semester before beginning a new practicum so as to have time to work on the areas suggested for improvement.
  • This program's faculty reserves the right to modify the implementation of the above policies, in individual cases, due to extenuating circumstances

Attendance - Program Protocols

The TESL Certificate program provides multiple opportunities to practice and apply skills needed for effective teaching and classroom management. In order for students to benefit from these opportunities, regular attendance is expected throughout the program.

Awards – Program Specific

Apply for academic awards using the online General Application available through your Student Portal to be considered for awards, scholarships and bursaries available through Conestoga. Notifications and instructions to complete the application will be sent to all full-time Conestoga students’ email accounts in the Fall semester (Deadline: first Friday in October) and Winter semester (Deadline: first Friday in February). Visit the Financial Aid and Student Awards Office on Conestoga’s website at for more information.

Clearance of Academic Deficiency – Program Protocols

Students who fail a course in Part 1 may wait a year to take the failed course again before continuing to Part 2 or may transfer to the online version of the program in order to take the course as soon as it is available.

Communication – Program Standard & Emailing Protocols

Conestoga College student email accounts will be used to communicate to the students via email. Students are expected to regularly check their student email accounts. Faculty will not respond to emails from non-Conestoga email addresses.

Course Add/Drop – Program Protocols

See Student Forms on the Conestoga website.

  • All courses in the program are required for successful completion of the program.

Credit Transfer/Exemptions

See Student Forms on the Conestoga website.

Degree Completion Opportunities and Program Specific Pathways

 Griffith University Master of Education program (Queensland, Australia) will accord Prior Learning for graduates of the Conestoga TESL Program.

Equipment, Supplies and Texts

Required texts are listed in the Course Outline of each course.

Discontinuance - Program Protocols

  • Students who fail the same course more than once will be discontinued from the program. Students who fail two or more courses will be discontinued from the program.
  • To graduate from this program, students who have been discontinued from the program must request and be granted re-admission to the Program.
  • A student who wishes to appeal academic decision or discontinuance from the program should refer to the Conestoga College Student Guide.

Evaluations (deadlines, tests and examinations) – Program Protocols

Graduates from the Conestoga College TESL Certificate program, both in-class and online deliveries, can apply to TESL Ontario and to TESL Canada for TESL Ontario Accreditation or TESL Canada Certification based on the understanding that graduating students from the TESL Certificate program have interacted with all of the course material in a meaningful way. The program provides for this interaction through providing students with feedback on work which must be completed before the end of each course in order to demonstrate meaningful achievement of program objectives.


Course tasks facilitate learning and prepare students for the Course Assignments. A TASK may take a variety of forms: Discussion Forum Postings; exercises found within the text(s); tasks created by the instructor; blogs or journal entries.

Chats and On-Campus Workshops

The instructor for each course in the online delivery of the program will schedule chat sessions periodically through the semester. The instructor will ask you for your availability at the beginning of the semester in order to accommodate schedules. These chats are considered a component of the task work. Online courses may include one or two on-campus workshops during the semester. It is required either that you attend the workshop or, if the distance is too great, that you participate in an alternative fashion identified by the instructor.

Course Assignments and Tests

Assignments and or tests are scheduled for each course. Due dates will be specified for each assessment. These dates can be found in the course week-by-week schedule, which has been created to help you keep track of your own progress through the course.

Late penalties

  • In order to facilitate learning for the whole class, the following protocols have been established for assignments handed in late.
  • A penalty of 5% per day will be applied to all late assignments unless permission is obtained for an extension.
  • Permission for late submissions must be obtained from the instructor in advance of the due date.


Students are eligible to graduate upon completion of all academic requirements in their program of study. Students are expected to respond to their invitation through their Student Portal. Convocation ceremonies are held in the spring and fall of each academic year. Students who take longer than the advertised program length are responsible for completing any new or additional courses due to a program design change. Students who are discontinued or have withdrawn and then return to the college will be placed in the current program design and must meet all requirements to graduate.

Online students are responsible to apply to graduate upon completion of the requirements of the program. See Student Forms on the Conestoga website.

Maintaining Student Files

As a condition of program review and accreditation, the TESL Certificate program is required to retain examples of student coursework in each of the courses of the curriculum. Each student is required to complete the “Permission to Retain Material” form. In doing so, students grant Conestoga permission to retain coursework over the duration of the student’s enrolment in the Program. The course work we retain will only be used for review and accreditation purposes.

Program Advisory Committee (PAC)

Program Advisory Committees (PACs) are usually made up of professional and academic representatives, as well as alumni and current students. They meet several times a year to discuss future trends and any improvements that can be made to keep the program current. This helps to ensure that students are learning material that is relevant to their field. At the beginning of each year, the coordinator of the program will ask for student volunteers. The coordinator will decide which students will represent the program for the year. The student representatives are expected to attend the meetings. Students must prepare and submit a report based on guidelines provided by the Program Chair/Coordinator which will be presented at the meeting. Students are expected to be professional, dress in business attire and engage in discussions.

Student Representatives – Program Protocols

Student representatives are selected at the beginning of the Fall term. The student representatives will represent the class at Program Advisory Committee meetings and perform other duties as required.

Program Transfer Protocols

Use Program Application Form located on the website.

  • Any student transferring to TESL from another program at the college will provide any required documentation not already on file and will be interviewed for program suitability.

Program Progression

Students actively registered in cohort delivered programs who take longer than the designed program length of time to complete their studies are accountable for completing any new or additional courses that may result due to changes in the program of study. Students registered in non-cohort delivered programs must complete the program of study within five years of being admitted to the program.

Re-admission Requirements – Program Protocols

Students who were accepted unconditionally into the program but did not attend or who withdrew before the end will have to re-apply, but will not be required to sit for a second interview or writing sample.

To be readmitted to this program, students who have been discontinued from the program must request in writing and be granted re-admission to the program. The student will then re-apply through OCAS, but will not be required to sit for a second interview or writing sample.

Standards of Conduct and Professional Practice – Program Protocols

Standards of conduct and professional practice refer specifically to student conduct during the practicum. They are as follows:

  1.  Dress professionally.
  2.  If you are unsure of the content of the lesson, research it. Make sure that you are prepared. When in doubt, ask for help.
  3.  Go over your lesson plan with your Mentor Teacher before and after you teach the lesson. Show the Mentor Teacher your lesson plan summary IN ADVANCE of the class according to the deadline agreed upon by the two of you.
  4.  Treat your mentor teacher and any colleagues you encounter with respect at all times.
  5.  Do not argue with your mentor teacher or refuse to take his/her advice
  6.  Maintain the confidentiality of all interaction with ESL students, mentor teacher, and any others involved in your practicum setting.
  7.  Be reliable and committed. Do not miss a lesson unless you have a documented illness.

Student Feedback

Student feedback is an essential component of our continuous improvement process. Our opportunities for student feedback include:

Key Performance Indicators

All college programs in the province are evaluated using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD). This survey is conducted each academic year in select classes. Strategic goals to improve the programs are developed from these results. This data and other data specific to the campus and the program/school are collected so that Conestoga College can continually improve quality.

Student Appraisal of Teaching (SAT)

The Student Appraisal of Teaching (SAT) allows direct feedback from students on teaching for a particular course. Completion of the SAT form gives teachers and academic managers valuable information to use for the improvement of teaching at Conestoga.

The SAT process occurs in the last one-third of the semester. Typically about one-quarter of the faculty is appraised per term, and each has two courses selected by their academic managers for appraisal. All teachers have a SAT review at least once every two years. The SAT process is managed by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning using an online survey system specifically designed for course/teacher evaluations.  After all marks for the semester have been submitted, a summary of results goes to the academic manager to be shared with the faculty member. Continuing Education students may have an opportunity to complete a SAT form at the conclusion of each Continuing Education course.

Student Evaluation of Practicum

The Student Evaluation of Practicum provides students with the opportunity to give feedback on the quality of their practicum experience. The information gathered enables the program to maintain high standards in practicum placement.

Student Representation

CSI and Conestoga agree that a student has the right to invite a member of CSI to a student/faculty meeting, provided that 24 hours advance notice is given to faculty. This advance notice will ensure that all parties will have an opportunity to adequately prepare for the meeting.

Unpaid Work/ Education Placement and Job Shadowing – Program Protocols

  • Online students must provide the practicum instructor with a completed Program Information Form (available online through D2L at the beginning of each practicum course) before a practicum placement can be confirmed.
  • Students on practicum placement are expected to sign all required insurance documentation before beginning the practicum.
  • Each student is responsible for costs incurred by a particular practicum placement, including the following:    
    • A police check (if needed – relevant for programs run by school boards) 
    • Course texts (if needed – relevant for English for Academic Purposes courses)
    • Transportation/parking as required. 

Facility Information

Refer to the Student Guide for facility information, including hours of operation and closure practices.

Safety Protocols

Refer to the Student Guide for Conestoga’s Safety and Security Services and procedures.

Policies and Procedures

A Student Protection Acknowledgement confirmation pop-up will appear when a student logs into the Student Portal on a yearly basis. This will direct students to policies and procedures relevant to their academic responsibilities. All Conestoga College wide academic policies and procedures are listed on the college website under "About Conestoga", "Policies and Procedures". 
Students are advised to review and comply with all policies and procedures, including the following: 
  • Academic Dispute and Resolution Policy & Procedure
  • Academic Integrity Policy & Violation of Academic Integrity Procedure 
  • Academic Recognition Policy
  • Academic Credential Procedure
  • Clearance of Academic Deficiency Policy & Procedure
  • Co-operative Education Policy
  • Discontinuance Policy & Procedure
  • Eligibility to Participate in Co-op Work Terms Policy & Procedure
  • Evaluation of Student Learning Policy & Procedure
  • Grading Procedure
  • Graduation Requirements and Convocation Procedure
  • Honours Policy & Procedure
  • Program Withdrawal and Refund Procedure
  • Student Code of Conduct Policy
  • Student Concerns and Issues Policy & Procedure
  • Student Fees Policy & Student Fee Invoicing and Payment Procedure
  • Student Feedback Policy

Students must follow all of the policies and procedures for Conestoga College and it is expected that faculty will accept, fulfill and enforce these standards.

Program Handbook Revision Log

Program Revision Log
Revision Date Scope of Changes
6/15/2017 Program Design - Revised

Accommodation Disclaimer

Conestoga College is dedicated to promoting an equitable environment where students have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of College life. In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Ontario Human Rights Code, Conestoga College recognizes its responsibility and legal obligation to provide education, information and services in an accessible manner.

The Program Handbook is intended to provide general information with respect to program expectations. There may be individual accommodations and/or medical circumstances that require exceptions. For example, students may need to be accommodated for a missed assignment or evaluation. Students who are registered with Accessibility Services are not required to provide an additional doctor's note for a missed or late evaluation. For more information about Accessibility Services please drop in or visit our website.

We recognize that other extenuating circumstances may apply. Consult with your Professor. All exceptions based on extenuating circumstances must be approved by the Chair.