Nelson TamsmartquoteI highly recommend S-TESL because of its teachers, philosophy and staff. If you are trying to decide on what school to attend, they offer information sessions and an invitation to observe a class. Classes are available online, in-person, in the evening or daytime or as week intensives. So many choices make it easier to pursue the certification. The class and homework assignments, readings and participation are rigorous and well worth your time and effort if you are serious about this field and helping the ESOL community.
Ann Eastwood, February 2017

Affiliation with a respected university

There are many good, practical courses leading to a certificate in teaching English. Ours earns post-bachelor’s credit from Seattle Pacific University, which many students find advantageous. Through affiliation with Seattle Pacific University, the School of Teaching ESL is accredited by the Northwest Association for Colleges and Universities, a regional accreditation association. Regional accreditation is considered the gold standard for higher education in the United States.

University credit with graduate credit option

The university credits earned at S-TESL may apply to a future master’s degree in TESOL (provided specific requirements are met), thus saving both time and money. More than 3,500 certificates have been awarded since 1985, so most local administrators, and many overseas administrators, are familiar and pleased with the training their teachers received from S-TESL.

120 hours of quality TESOL education

In general, overseas employers require a BA + a certificate that reflects at least 100 hours of instruction. Our 12 credit certificate reflects 120 hours of instruction.

Strong recognition locally and abroad

With over 30 years experience delivering TESOL training and education in the Puget Sound region, S-TESL is practically a household name in local academic circles. You can find S-TESL alumni in nearly every local ESL or IE (Intensive English) Program. TESOL Certificates are well-recognized abroad, especially when backed by an accredited university. We have tracked our students to over 55 different countries to teach English. Our numerous graduate testimonials are proof that students have been more than satisfied with their education at S-TESL.

Required Field Experience

All students complete a minimum of six hours’ field experience in an ESL classroom. The setting and assessment tools will vary depending on the format (day intensive, evening, or online). Teaching ability is assessed in a variety of ways. For example, in the 4-Week Intensive, you will work in the classroom with a professional teacher who will meet with you before and after the lesson to prep you for your teaching slots and provide feedback on your performance. The following day, you will debrief with fellow trainees and your course instructor. Micro-teaching sessions done in class will be formally assessed by your course instructor. Read more about Field Experience »

Free lifetime employment resources

As an S-TESL alum, you will receive exclusive access to a number of resources to help you find gainful employment locally and abroad. Our alumni listserv gives you access to weekly job postings and professional development opportunities. We deliver a three-hour employment seminar during the 4-Week intensive course, but all TESOL graduates are invited to attend. In fact, S-TESL alumni can return anytime to sit in on the employment seminar. We also encourage current students and graduates to send us their resumes and cover letters when applying for jobs and we will provide you with feedback and “best practice” strategies to make your application stand out.

A range of study options and formats

We have a variety of study options to suit your needs, including site-based and online classes. In fact, we have so many options – 4-Week Intensive (day), Evening Classes, Online Classes, Summer One-Week Intensives – that you really should contact us for advising to tailor a program just for you.

Highly-qualified instructors

Our instructors have at least an MA degree with a minimum of 5 years experience in teacher education. In fact, several of our instructors have been with S-TESL for more than 10 years. Nearly all of our instructors have taught locally and abroad, and they have a wealth of knowledge to share.

Dedicated training center

We are entirely devoted to teaching training and education. We have a fully-equipped training center to accommodate all your TESOL education needs. For example, 4-Week Intensive students conduct their field experience in our on-site ESOL class. We encourage you to come in for advising and take a tour of our facilities.

You’ll leave S-TESL prepared to teach

S-TESL classes
  • guide you through varied ESOL activities from the first day of class to the last.
  • examine and discuss activities (used for teacher training) as to how they would appear differently in different language classrooms. This helps you see how activities can be tweaked for widely diverse teaching situations.
  • give you thorough preparation to make in-class decisions (theory, methods, activities, materials, student-variables, administrative pressures).
  • give you micro-teaching opportunities (and you also observe and evaluate your colleagues’ micro teaching).
  • connect theory to practice so that you know how to apply what you are learning.

How do we stack up against other certificates?

Each certification program has a different emphasis and its own unique qualities. While some programs have name recognition around the world, the School of Teaching ESL has the credibility of being affiliated with and monitored by an excellent university. People have praised the education they received at the S-TESL – on the last day of class, and years later from the field. (See Alumni Feedback.)

The School of Teaching ESL emphasizes decision-making, and the knowledge you need to make the many decisions you will face in your teaching career. A well-seasoned instructional staff helps to prepare you for your next step in TESOL. The 5000-level education credits from Seattle Pacific University and the Certificate in TESOL awarded by Seattle Pacific University will always be of value on your resume.

A discussion on S-TESL’s online discussion list about preparation and subsequent teaching experiences elicited this comment from a graduate:

“Actually, having taught in China with folks who had ESL certs from England, Canada, Australia, & NZ, as well as other places in the US, plus a few with Master’s degrees in TESOL, I’ll put S-TESL up against any one of them for all-around prep.” ~ Leslie

Our Approach

We walk the talk

All classes reflect the school’s pedagogical approach, which recognizes the needs for both fluency and accuracy in a second language. Classes are task-based and project-oriented. There are no in-class tests. We believe people learn by doing. Our teaching models the way we want you to teach; we walk the talk.

S-TESL equips you for actual teaching

Our program is project-based. You will be designing, practicing, and leading activities for English language teaching in every class. Your teacher educators will help you develop as a teacher by:

  • guiding you through varied language development activities and materials from the very first day of class to the last day of class.
  • examining and discussing activities as to how they would appear differently in different language classrooms. This helps you see how activities can be tweaked for widely diverse teaching situations
  • giving you thorough preparation to make in-class decisions (theory, methods, activities, materials, student-variables, administrative pressures).
  • giving you micro-teaching opportunities to help you practice your face-to-face teaching in a supervised environment. Micro-teaching is often required in a job interview so this experience prepares you for that as well
  • giving you opportunities to provide peer feedback which further helps you develop your own teaching skills
  • giving you the knowledge and skills to function as a professional.
  • requiring a minimum of six hours of field experience in an ESOL classroom. See Field Experience.

What is Micro-Teaching?

“Micro teaching is organized practice teaching. The goal is to give instructors confidence, support, and feedback by letting them try out among friends and colleagues a short slice of what they plan to do with their students… Micro teaching is a quick, efficient, proven, and fun way to help teachers get off to a strong start.” ~ Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University

How to Micro-Teach

As many as six teachers from the same or similar courses can participate in a single micro-teaching session. While one person takes his or her turn as teacher, everyone else plays the roles of students. It is the job of these pretend pupils to ask and answer questions realistically. It is the job of the “teacher” to involve his or her “class” actively in this way. Such a scenario typically runs for five to fifteen minutes. When finished, the person conducting the class has a moment or two to react to his or her own teaching. Then everyone else joins in to discuss what they saw that they especially liked. Finally, the group may mention just a few things that the practice teacher might try doing differently in the future.

Preparing to Micro-Teach

Most instructors provide micro-teachers with scenarios to prepare in advance. If not, think of a few minutes of material that you especially would like to make sure your students understand by the end of your next class. As always, you should not only plan out how to treat the subject matter, but also give some thought to how you are going to present yourself, manage the class, and involve the students. There are, of course, many different ways of teaching a given lesson well. That is why participants find that, along with what they learn from their own experience practice teaching, they can also pick up many helpful ideas from observing fellow micro-teachers.

What is the rationale for Micro-Teaching?

  • You get experience before peers, which can be a safer environment.
  • You can present just a small part of a lesson.
  • More can be covered because there is not the pressure to present all parts of a lesson.
  • You can be stopped. You can start over. You can end in the middle of an activity.
  • Micro teaching can provide structured evaluation and feedback which will focus on your strengths and weaknesses.
  • You benefit from your colleagues’ micro-teaching as well as your own.
  • No ESL students are harmed by your first teaching attempts.
  • Micro-teaching is often a required part of the hiring process.