Many new entrants to the TESOL profession experience real difficulty in funding a course which includes six hours of observed and assessed teaching practice. One result is that a considerable number of new entrants to the profession complete a distance only programme and simply head abroad in search of a teaching post.
There is of course, no substitute for teaching practice. In the case of experienced practising teachers it is not always necessary though there is little doubt that they too would benefit from a professional course that includes observed and assessed ESOL teaching practice.
However, ACTDEC — the Accreditation Council for TESOL Distance Education Courses — firmly believes there is no reason why teaching practice should not follow distance-training; quite the opposite!
For anyone without teaching experience it is now possible to undertake a two month teaching practice development practicum where, through the completion of a Teaching Practice Portfolio maintained by the participant and the sponsoring institution, teaching experience is recognised and rewarded.
This scheme makes it possible for teachers with Associate or Accredited Teacher status to obtain an ACTDEC Certificate of Teaching Practice Development at the end of the two month development practicum.
The Portfolio Scheme may be full or part time. The requirements for successful completion of the supervised teaching practice and award of the certificate include the observation of eight lessons given by experienced teachers with candidate observation tasks assessed by a moderator.
The completion of six unobserved lessons each with a reflective lesson appraisal (self report feedback forms) which are externally assessed.
Four lessons observed by the institutionís teaching practice supervisor. These are followed by four audio cassette recordings of feedback sessions with the supervisor. Six further lessons observed and graded by the institutionís practicum supervising teacher, four of which are subject to self-report form completion.
Submission of a piece of writing (500 words minimum) reflecting on the affect the procedure has had on the development of the participant.
In addition the candidate will have completed a teaching practice portfolio folder containing documents relating to the above.
Distance-trained teachers having successfully completed a level 3, 4, 5 or 6 programme will have a greater opportunity of finding a suitable sponsoring institution for teaching practice if they themselves do the searching locally or in the area where they wish to find employment.
It is however important to bear in mind the ACTDEC General Information for Schools and Institutions particularly items 1 to 4 which everyone should read carefully.
ACTDEC charges a fee for registration, administration, monitoring the programme and for the award of the certificate.
The fee is currently £95.
The institution may seek some form of payment; usually a reduction in salary during the practicum for support, TP observation, assessment and administration of the teaching practice portfolio. Institutions and schools interested in participating should visit the Portfolio Information for ELT Schools page.
ACTDEC Teaching Practice Development Scheme Director
Jackie Sykes, BA(Hons), LTCL(TESOL), Dip.TESOL, MA TESOL.
The Accreditation Council for TESOL Distance Education Courses
21 Wessex Gardens