MA TESOL Teaching Practicum Opportunities
A unique feature of our MA TESOL Program is the multitude of opportunities we have created for our student teachers (STs) to engage with English language learners (ELLs) in our local community. Many TESOL programs have a final practicum after coursework is complete. Here at SMC, we believe that teaching expertise is developed through teaching. For that reason, we have cultivated relationships with English language service providers in the area to increase the variety of contexts in which our students can develop their teacher knowledge base. Given opportunities to teach refugee background students, young learners, high schoolers, and international students, our student teachers emerge from the program with a robust set of tools to succeed in teaching English as an additional language in a range of contexts.
Early Practicum Options
One of our first semester courses, Introduction to Language Teaching (GSL 542) incorporates an initial practicum experience that affords our MA TESOL students their first opportunity to be responsible for activity design and delivery for a class of ELLs. Options for placement in this course include our Intensive English Program at SMC, local schools (e.g., Burlington High School) and local organizations that provide English language services to our refugee background newcomers (e.g., Vermont Adult Learning).
Some of our required MA TESOL courses also include a practicum component, such as English Grammar (GSL 502), which requires students to have 20 contact hours with English language learners in small class or one-on-one tutoring configurations. These experiences are designed to develop the grammatical competence of both the ELLs and the STs. In addition, it gives our students the chance to design and deliver grammar-based lessons.
One of our electives, Teaching Refugee-background Students (GSL 689), pairs MA TESOL student teachers with refugee background adults in our community. Through small class or one-on-one tutoring experiences, our students grapple with the challenges of teaching literacy to adults, practice designing lessons that target real world needs, and develop age appropriate materials.
Our Practicum II (GSL 689) course is a culminating practicum experience in which student teachers are responsible for independently delivering 15 hours of instruction to a group of learners in the setting of their choice. We have partners locally and abroad who are willing to accommodate our student teachers as they design and deliver instruction, reflect on their practice, and receive support and mentoring from both the SMC supervisor and a cooperating teacher.
During this practicum experience, student teachers are provided with lesson plan templates and rubrics outlining the criteria for evaluating teaching. Supervisors offer face to face consultation following teaching observations. These consultations provide an opportunity for the student teacher to reflect on the observed lesson and discuss strengths and opportunities for growth with the supervisor. We also incorporate reflective writing throughout the course in an effort to ensure that our students emerge from the program with an intimate awareness of their teaching philosophy and a reflective practice orientation that will serve them as they continue to develop their identities as TESOL professionals beyond the program.
Practicum II Placements
We are proud to be able to offer several placements for the Practicum II experience. Here at SMC, we have several Intensive English Program courses that are open to STs. These courses target the various language skills and subskills and many of them take a content-based instruction approach, which makes for engaging, relevant content around which our STs can develop lessons.
Within our local community, Vermont Adult Learning is very excited to host our Practicum II students. In this setting, our students can co-teach with local teachers or assume responsibility for the design and delivery of entire courses that immediately target the needs of our adult, refugee background neighbors.
We have also been building partnerships with programs overseas. STs who are interested in completing their Practicum II abroad, while completing coursework online, have the option of doing so in Morocco, Costa Rica, or Japan to name a few. Compensation packages (i.e., costs covered by host institutions) vary depending on the capacity of each partner to cover various expenses. We continually seek partners abroad, so our options will grow to meet the needs of both our MA TESOL students and our international colleagues. Please be sure to let us know if this is something you’d be interested in. Planning starts early!