A Masters degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is a natural next career step for teachers who specialize in teaching English language learners. Preparing to earn this degree, however, takes some significant time and research. Here are our top 10 tips to help you prepare for, study and complete your coursework.
Foreign Language Courses
Many Masters in TESOL programs require native English-speaking applicants to have taken a certain number of college hours in a foreign language. This is to help you understand what it is like to be a student learning to communicate in another language and to help you communicate with future students.
English Language Courses
If your first language is not English, you may want to take some extra courses in English as graduate programs in TESOL will likely require you to perform well on the TOEFL or IELTS exam. These tests prove your proficiency in English and demonstrate that you can handle graduate coursework in English.
Good Undergraduate GPA
If you are still in an undergraduate program and you know you want to earn a Master’s in TESOL, keep up a good GPA. Many graduate programs have minimum GPA requirements for admission.
Volunteer in your local adult ESL classes as a substitute or a classroom aide to learn more about how to teach English. You can also volunteer as a conversation partner in international or cross-cultural clubs to gain experience.
Attend local and national TESOL conferences before, during and after your Master’s program. You will learn the latest issues and best practices in the field of TESOL and form relationships with other educators.
Read Your Coursework
Take notes on your course readings carefully, and synthesize what you learn. Take good notes, and critically analyze each one in light of your own experiences as a teacher or language learner. Question theories by reading alternate viewpoints, too.
Connect with Classmates and Teachers
Even if you enroll in an online Master’s program, connect with and discuss course material with classmates and professors as much as possible. You will make connections that can benefit you later.
Look carefully through the program requirements and courses in several graduate TESOL programs. Choose a comprehensive program that includes, at minimum, curriculum design and implementation, cultural knowledge, the basics of teaching English to speakers of other languages, literacy and writing for ELLs and second language acquisition.
Do not try to overload yourself with too many courses at once, especially if you are working while you attend school. Follow your program’s prescribed course load as closely as possible, but don’t be afraid to attend part-time or ask for an extension. It is better to pass your courses than to have to repeat them and pay for them again.
Save Course Resources
You will likely accumulate many resources during your courses. Save them so that planning, curriculum development and teaching are easier in the future.
Earning a Master’s degree in TESOL will prepare you teach not only overseas, but also in public schools, and in colleges and universities. By researching and planning ahead, you can take advantage of what you learn in your courses to make your job more enjoyable and less stressful.
Find an accredited TESOL course