Teaching English as a Second Language

2023/24 | Conestoga College

Program Code: 1008
Interdisciplinary 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.

This handbook must be read in conjunction with general information about Conestoga College found on the website and in the Student Guide. The information in the Student Guide and on the college website​ applies to all students, regardless of program.

The Student Guide provides details regarding Student ServicesSafety and SecurityStudent Rights and Responsibilities and more. 


Welcome to Conestoga!


You are entering a journey into a new world of language learning.  Whether you are acquiring a new language, such as French or American Sign Language (ASL), learning to teach English as a Second Language (TESL), or learning how to interpret for those who have challenges expressing themselves in English, your world and opportunities within it have now grown.

Effective language and communication skills are Essential Employability Skills that are vital to today's global economy.  You can apply these newly learned skills in a variety of settings: business, education, health care community services, or the trades.

This handbook provides you with the specific information related to the academic standards, guidelines, and protocols to help ensure your success in your respective program of choice.  If you have any additional questions, please contact your faculty, your coordinator, or me directly.


Shawn Brake

Executive Dean, School of Interdisciplinary Studies

Program Academic Team

Executive Dean, School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Shawn Brake
Doon, 2A139
519-748-5220 ext. 3058

Chair, Conestoga Language Institute
Natalie Hughes
Doon, 2A139

Administrative Assistant
Liliana Pereira Melo
Conestoga Language Institute

Program Coordinator/Faculty
Amanda McIntosh
Waterloo Campus

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.


Conestoga College email accounts will be used as the primary method of communication between instructors, the college and the students. You are expected to regularly check your email accounts for messages and updates.

Career Services – Program Specific

As part of the Part 2 Practicum, FPLT8310, 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.

Orientation – Program Specific

The TESL Certificate program in-class delivery participates in the post-graduate program orientation prior to the beginning of classes. At that time, you will be introduced to the program faculty and learn important information about the program. 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.

College Hours

The College is open and offers classes seven days a week.

Program Overview

Program Description

The Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Certificate Program is a full-time two 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 two supervised teaching practicums.  This program is recognized by TESL Canada and TESL Ontario.    ​

Current Program Design

Students can find their program design on the Student Portal by following the steps below:

  1. Log in to Student Portal
  2. Click on 'My Courses' tab
  3. Select 'View Progress Report' button

Courses are listed by level/semester. Please be aware that General Education electives and program option courses are listed at the bottom of the student's progress report and indicate the specific level/semester in which they are to be completed.  ​

​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 learners 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.

Program Technology Requirements

Program technology requirements are posted on the program web page. Students in hybrid delivery courses will require a device, webcam functionality, and reliable Internet access. 

Equipment, Supplies and Texts

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

Academic Information

Academic Dates

It is the student's responsibility to be aware of various important academic dates throughout the year. These academic dates are posted on the college website.

Please note that Continuing Education courses and Apprenticeship programs may have different start dates and exam dates for courses. 

Academic Dates - TESL

  • 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 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 Student Success website for other learning and wellness assistance.

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.

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 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.

Credit Transfer, Pathways & PLAR

Conestoga recognizes you may have formal post-secondary education that may allow you to enter a program at an advanced level or provide for individual course exemptions. To ensure your credits are eligible for transfer, please contact our Credit Transfer Office at: credittransfer@conestogac.on.ca. 

The Credit Transfer Policy and Procedure are available on the college website.

For more information, visit the Credit Transfer webpage and the PLAR webpage.

If you are currently a Conestoga student and want to continue studying at Conestoga, there are a number of different pathway opportunities available to you.

Whether you wish to transfer to another program or apply to a new program after graduation, Conestoga has established pathways, to help you meet your goals.

Conestoga College has articulation agreements with many domestic and international institutions. These agreements allow students to transfer into a specific program with advanced standing. Students must meet the academic requirements stated in the agreement.

For more information regarding pathways at Conestoga, contact the Credit Transfer Officer at 519-748-5220 ext. 2166.


​​​Conestoga has more than 400 awards, bursaries, scholarships and academic grants available to Conestoga students. These funds are made available to our students through the partnerships we have established with local business and industry leaders. To be considered for an award, complete the General Application available through your Student Portal. Notifications and instructions to complete the application are sent to all full-time students' email accounts in the fall semester (Deadline: First Friday in October) and winter semester (Deadline: First Friday in February). Visit the Student Financial Services on Conestoga's website.

Attendance and Program Standards

Working Together to Plan Your Success

Your success matters!  Regular, punctual attendance, and active participation in scheduled classes, field and clinical placements, labs and any on-campus and off-campus activities scheduled by your program will help you to understand and master the learning complexities of your program.

If extenuating, unplanned circumstances require you to miss a class or an assessment, please note that it is your responsibility to follow up with individual faculty members prior to the class/assessment and access any missed information.

Attendance for Evaluations

Evaluations are critical components of each course and your overall success in your program. It is your responsibility to attend all evaluations (e.g. test, exam, presentation, etc...). If there is a concerning pattern of absence from evaluations across your program, you may be asked to meet with the Program Coordinator and/or Student Advisor to discuss strategies for success.

While circumstances such as religious holidays and academic accommodations may necessitate rescheduling of evaluations and will be accommodated, please note that there will be no special arrangements made for rescheduling evaluations due to personal conflicts such as work, commuting, or vacation plans.  

Faculty Responsibilities

  • To communicate the dates of each evaluation at the beginning of each semester through the Instructional Plan.
  • To communicate, in writing, any unplanned extenuating circumstances that may require changes to the course schedule.
  • As per the Religious Holiday Procedure, provide alternative evaluation arrangements for missed evaluations due to recognized religious holidays as defined by the College Employer Council.
  • To provide all accommodations requested by Accessible Learning.
  • To consider alternative evaluation requests in good faith and examine the unique circumstances (e.g., unexpected family obligations, personal emergencies, etc...) and collaboratively determine an appropriate solution.
  • Note, do not request doctor's notes from students.

Student Responsibilities

  • To review the instructional plan and familiarize with the dates of evaluation.
  • As per the Religious Holiday Procedure, inform your faculty member in writing that the religious holiday defined by the College Employer Council will occur during the semester and may require considerations for evaluations to be rescheduled.
  • If you must be absent from any scheduled evaluation, report your absence on the Student Portal using the procedure below. You must do this prior to the start of the evaluation or risk receiving a mark of zero.

How to Report Absences on the Student Portal

  1. Log into the Student Portal and click on the 'Absence tab'.
  2. Indicate whether or not there is an assessment scheduled on that day by clicking 'Yes or No', as well as the reason for the absence (illness or other).
  3. Click 'Continue' to report the absence.
  4. Click 'I agree' to confirm the absence.
  5. You will receive a confirmation email that your absence has been recorded.

Important! Please note the following:

  • The earliest you can record an absence for a particular day, is after 8:00 p.m. the day before. You must report each day you are absent.
  • The Absence Recording System will show you as being absent for the day, starting from the time that you recorded the absence. For example, if you record your absence on a specific day at 11:00 a.m., the system will show you as being absent for all classes starting after 11:00 a.m. that day.
  • If you are going to be present for any other classes on the day for which you recorded an absence, please let the faculty member know by attending or following up by eConestoga or college email.
  • As soon as possible, email the faculty member associated with the evaluation you missed and arrange for appropriate follow-up. 

Documentation for Absences

Conestoga recognizes that unexpected circumstances, such as brief illness, do arise during the term. As a visit to a health practitioner may not be necessary or possible, we do not ask you to provide a doctor's note except in exceptional circumstances.       

If the evaluation cannot be rescheduled, (e.g., experiential activity, lab, or a group presentation) your professor may provide you with a revised assignment or allocate its marks to another evaluation item, so long as the combined total does not exceed 40% of the course grade. This will be communicated to you by email.

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.

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 their 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.

Unpaid Work/ Education Placement and Job Shadowing – Program Protocols

  • Students must provide the practicum supervisor with a completed Pre-Practicum Information form and/or Required Practicum Information form (available online through eConestoga 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. ​

What is Academic Integrity?

Having academic integrity means acting fairly and honestly when engaging in academic activities. 

By having and applying an Academic  Offences Policy and Procedure, Conestoga ensures graduates complete their studies fairly and honestly through hard work and dedication, and thus are well-prepared for their future careers.

Copyright at Conestoga 

Conestoga facilitates access to print, media, and electronic resources to support and enrich learning, teaching, and research in compliance with the following:


Plagiarism is submitting or presenting work of another person(s)/organization in whole or substantial part as one's own without proper citation and referencing.

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 and/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 Evaluations module.

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.

Academic Progress through the Program

Academic Progression

The college's approach to academic progression is governed by the Promotion Decision Procedure.

A student's academic achievement results in a promotion decision, such as eligible to continue, graduate, and discontinued.

Progress from one level to the next in a program is dependent upon the successful completion of courses and/or meeting program promotion standards.

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.

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.

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. 
Note: A supplemental evaluation will not be granted for a course in which a student has received an academic offence. An academic incident resulting in a warning is not considered an academic offence.
For more information visit the College Policies, Procedures, Practices and Guidelines webpage then click on the Academic Administration side tab and search for the document entitled Clearance of Academic Deficiency. 

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​.

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.


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.

Student Engagement

Conestoga 101

The Student Engagement Department is here to help you transition to the Conestoga College experience, connect with your community, and build your skills. 

Start your college experience by completing Conestoga 101 (CON0101) on eConestoga, a mandatory course for all new full-time students that will take you approximately one hour to complete. CON0101 provides an overview of the supports, services, and opportunities available to you throughout your time at Conestoga. Make sure you complete it early on in the term, as it contains valuable information that will help you transition to Conestoga.

​​Student Feedback

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

Ontario College Student Experience Survey

All college programs in the province are evaluated using the Ontario College Student Experience Survey. This survey is conducted each academic year in select classes - every student is invited to participate in each year of their program. 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 forms give teachers and academic managers valuable information to use for the improvement of teaching at Conestoga.

The SAT process has two components: the Early Course Check-in and the Full-SAT. The Early Course Check-in is 8-12 questions, occurs during week 10 of classes and provides early feedback to faculty about the student experience within their classroom. The Full-SAT is 43 questions and occurs late in the semester; a summary of the results goes to the faculty member and their academic manager. Typically, about one-quarter of the faculty is appraised per term. All full-time faculty have a SAT review at least once every two years. Part-time faculty may be reviewed more frequently. 

Program Advisory Committees (PACs)

Program Advisory Committees (PACs) provide the necessary link between Conestoga and the community it serves. PACs operate in an advisory capacity to Conestoga administration with the objective to keep Conestoga responsive to current and future workforce needs, trends or opportunities in industry and the marketplace.

All post-secondary education programs of study at Conestoga, both full-time and part-time, which lead to an employment related credential, or are approved by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU), will be associated with a PAC, with the exception of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. For any program not leading to an employment related credential, such as foundation programs, PACs are optional.

At the beginning of each year, the coordinator(s) of the program will ask for student volunteers. The coordinator(s) will select which student(s) will represent the program at PAC. Student attendees are important members of the PAC and are expected to be present at all meetings and are responsible for preparing and submitting a report based on guidelines provided by the program coordinator.

Students who participate in PACs will receive credit on their Co-Curricular Record (CCR) . Your CCR is an official document, complementary to your academic transcript, which recognizes and records learning that you have achieved through approved Co-curricular experiences at Conestoga.

Conestoga Policies and Procedures

​​Student Protection Acknowledgement

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 Offences Policy & Procedure ​
  • Clearance of Academic Deficiency Policy & Procedure
  • Convocation Procedure
  • Co-operative Education Policy
  • Discontinuance Procedure
  • Evaluation of Student Learning Policy & Procedure
  • Grading Procedure
  • Program and Course Withdrawal and Refund Procedure/International Student Withdrawal and Refund Procedure
  • Readmission Procedure
  • Religious Holiday Policy & Procedure
  • Student Expectations for Online Engagement
  • Student Feedback Policy
  • Student Fees Policy & Student Fee Invoicing and Payment Procedure
  • Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy & Procedure

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

Web-based Tools

​Program courses may use web-based services with data centres outside of Canada. Students may be expected to complete assessments where information is transmitted outside of Canada. Students who do not wish to submit their information to other countries have the right to opt-out. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor if they, in the first week of term or at the time assignment details are provided, wish to submit an alternate assignment.

Course examinations may be administered through a remote proctoring service to assure academic integrity. Ensure that you meet the system requirements that will allow the recording of your computer screen, webcam, and microphone.

Accommodation Disclaimer

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

Conestoga's Accessible Learning services provide support for students with permanent and temporary disabilities who feel they are encountering barriers to learning. They work with students to understand the impact of a disability in the college environment and will help develop a success plan that considers student goals and required academic accommodations. Accessible Learning will also communicate necessary accommodations to professors on behalf of the student. 

To consult with an Accessibility Advisor about accommodations please make an appointment by emailing accessibility@conestogac.on.ca or calling 519-748-5220 ext. 3232.

Exceptions for non-accessibility focused issues need to be consulted on with your professor. Final approval for exceptions unrelated to academic accommodations rests with the program chair.

Program Handbook Revision Log

Revision DateScope of Changes
Program Design - Revised​
​June 2018
​Annual Handbook Updates
​May 2019
​Annual Handbook Updates
​August 2020​Annual Handbook Updates
​November 2021​Annual Handbook Updates
May 2022​Annual Handbook Updates
​May 2023​Annual Handbook Updates

Teaching English as a Second Language