A. Course Objectives

B. Course Requirements

C. Course Competencies


A. Course Objectives


By the end of the course, participants will be able to:


  • Plan for effective, learning-centered productive (speaking and writing) and receptive (listening and reading) skills lessons using frameworks and key TESOL terminology
  • Analyze language in terms of its meaning, form and use, and in terms of challenges students may have with it
  • Plan and effectively teach lessons that encourage the development of students’ cultural knowings (about, how, why and oneself) and of sensitivity and awareness of cultural aspects of language, texts and activities


  • Effectively teach learning-centered productive and receptive skills lessons, scaffolding students’ learning and engaging students in participation in their own learning


  • Reflect on planning and teaching decisions in terms of their effect on individual students’ learning and on the learning of a group of students using key TESOL planning terminology



B. Course Requirements

Participants will meet the following course requirements in order to receive the SIT TESOL Certificate:

These must be met in order to receive the SIT TESOL Certificate

Attend all course sessions

  • In the event of an illness or emergency, participants must notify a trainer as soon as possible and must make up all missed work and any practice teaching sessions as determined by the trainer.  If more than 2 full-days on an intensive course or 14 hours on an extensive course of absences are incurred, the participant will not be eligible for a certificate.


Participate actively and respectfully in all aspects of the course

  • Participants are engaged and remain on task during all aspects of the course including workshops, lesson planning, practice teaching, observation of practice teaching and post-teaching feedback.  Participants will develop and maintain respectful, supportive relationships, demonstrate an awareness of their impact on others, and fully participate in collaborative aspects of the course by offering ideas and constructive feedback, and by being open to ideas and feedback from peers and trainers.


Successfully complete all assignments

  • Complete all assignments to course standards – including lesson plans, extended reflections and other written assignments, readings, Portfolio, Self-assessments, program evaluation


Plan and teach all scheduled lessons

  • (6 hours per each participant, including any make-up lessons)  Participants will demonstrate progress in rigorous and effective planning, teaching and reflecting on the lessons.


Demonstrate oral and written mastery of the English language.  

  • Participants will demonstrate an English language ability that makes them credible teachers of advanced level ESOL students, and that enables them to communicate clearly and accurately during the course.




C. Course Competencies

Competencies for receiving the SIT TESOL Certificate

The SIT TESOL Certificate course is a competency-based training.  Award of the SIT TESOL Certificate is based not only on a participant’s ability to meet the course requirements successfully, but also on the person’s ability to demonstrate progress in the planning, teaching and reflection competencies specified in the Participant Record Book.

In order to be assessed as demonstrating the competencies and so meeting the criteria, a participant is expected to achieve scores of 3 or 4 (if the center is using a numeric scale), or “Consciously becoming more skilled” and “Consciously skilled” (if the center is using verbal designations) in the different competencies.  In order to be awarded the certificate, a participant must achieve an overall average of 3 (“Consciously becoming more skilled”) in each major competency area by the end of the course.

A score or designation of or below 2/”Consciously unskilled” indicates a participant is not yet meeting the criteria for the competency and needs to work on it in order to demonstrate progress.  A score or designation above 3 or 4 indicates that a participant is exceeding the criteria.

Participants are not expected to master (i.e., exceed the criteria) all the competencies during this 130-hour course.  Participants are expected to demonstrate awareness of progress, insight into, and increasing confidence in, their teaching skills.

Please read the assessment descriptors on the next page carefully to familiarize yourself with what each number or phrase means. The “I” in the right column refers to the participant and what s/he might say about her/his competency in planning, teaching and reflecting at each skill level.


Assessment Descriptors


Which means…


Unconsciously unskilled (UU)

Plan: I’m not sure what this is or what it involves.

Teach: It may have happened; I’m not aware of whether it did or didn’t.

Reflect: I don’t know how to see or reflect on this.


Consciously unskilled


Plan: I can identify what this is and what it involves but I haven’t been able to plan a lesson with it in mind

Teach: I haven’t implemented this yet.  If it happened, I wasn’t aware of it or didn’t plan it. I’m aware that I’m not doing this.

Reflect: Sometimes I can recognize or identify it in my peers’ or trainers’ teaching and/or feedback if others point it out to me. I think I see how it affects learning but it’s hard for me to give examples. I can recognize possible actions that would help me with it but cannot, even with guidance, make an action plan for it.


Consciously becoming Skilled


Plan: I can analyze a plan to see if this is present and I can talk with ease about what it is and what it involves.  I have shown evidence of planning this at least once.

Teach:  I have implemented this in class at least once.  It may have been a bit awkward or not particularly effective.  Student learning may or may not have happened.

Reflect:  I have been able to identify it in my own or in others’ teaching and student learning at least a few times.  I’m still developing my initial ideas about how it affects student learning.  I can make a plan to improve this when my trainer directly guides me.


Consciously becoming more Skilled


Plan:  I’m able to design a plan with this explicitly in mind and have shown evidence of planning this a few times.

Teach: I have implemented this in class effectively at least once and student learning was evident.  I may have implemented it a few times in which student learning may or may not have been evident.

Reflect:  I can usually identify it in my own and others’ lessons.  I’m beginning to link this concept to observable student behavior in a lesson. With some trainer help, I can make a plan to improve this area.


Consciously Skilled


Plan:  I can plan for this consistently and intentionally.  (I still have to think about it.)

Teach:  I’ve used this in my teaching more than a few times to help English language learners learn and am actively fine-tuning my skills to maximize student learning.

Reflect: It’s easy for me to identify it in my, my peers’ or my trainers’ teaching.  I can use the concept to interpret how or if students learned in a lesson.  I can make connections between this and other aspects of learning and teaching.  I can make action plans to improve my understanding and effectiveness.


Unconsciously Skilled


Plan: I consistently and automatically (without thinking) plan for this in my lessons.

·      Teach: I can implement this skill in an automatic or natural way.  It’s part of who I am as a teacher and I’ve shown evidence of it many times during the course. It’s not challenging for me to plan or implement it.

·      Reflect: It’s easy for me to see how this can affect student learning; I can transfer it to other contexts. I can help others make action plans; I have a wide range of techniques that allow me to make decisions to maximize student learning in a variety of contexts.  The concept is integrated into my beliefs about teaching and learning; I can quickly use it as a lens to reflect on my own and others’ teaching and learning.


The SIT TESOL Certificate course competency areas and the specific competencies related to each area are listed below.  Again, please read them carefully so that you are familiar with them.


Competency Area 1:  Planning for a Learning-centered Lesson

A. Designing Objectives

  1. Write well-formed lesson objectives that describe student learning
  1. Write objectives/aims for lesson stages and activities in terms of student learning
  1. Analyze and adapt coursebook materials (deciding what to keep, reject, adapt, change) appropriate to the students, their needs, interests, level, etc
  1. Design and/or adapt activities so that they have a communicative focus

B. Detailing the Steps of a lesson

  1. Detail student interaction patterns and other class configurations (individual work, pair work, group work, whole-class work, teacher-focused activities and stages), ensuring there is a balance of interaction during the lesson
  1. Detail teacher behavior (including instructions; modeling; checking understanding; eliciting; explanations, monitoring, clarifying, etc)
  1. Detail student behavior to clarify what they will be doing, when and with whom
  1. Plan the use of visuals: the board, pictures, posters, etc
  1. Prepare lesson materials which look professional and which respect copyright requirements, citations and photocopy limits

C. Analyzing the Target Language/Text

  1. List relevant knowledge and experience students are likely to bring to the lesson
  1. List challenges students may have in the lesson and suggestions for how the challenges can be avoided or mitigated
  1. Write detailed notes that describe the meaning, form, use of language to be covered in the lesson
  1. Prepare notes for explanations, guiding and checking questions
  1. Make notes about cultural aspects of activities, texts, language
  1. Allocate time appropriate to activities and materials
  1. Support peers’ planning, constructively and respectfully

D. Staging a lesson

  1. Stage a productive skills (speaking, writing) lesson so that student learning is scaffolded and lesson objectives are achievable using appropriate lesson frameworks
  1. Stage a receptive skills (listening, reading) lesson so that student learning is scaffolded and lesson objectives are achievable using appropriate lesson frameworks
  1. Link the lesson to lessons that both precede and follow it



Competency Area 2:  Teaching a Learning-centered Lesson

A. Interacting with Students

  1. Grade their language and adopt an appropriate tone for their learners
  1. Create a safe, respectful classroom environment to maximize student learning
  1. Vary the teacher’s role appropriately on the basis of student needs and the different lesson activities
  1. Respond to student questions and behavior with cultural sensitivity and in a way that promotes learning
  1. Monitor students and respond to and give feedback on student strengths and challenges (task progress, language produced, strategies used, involvement, etc) in a way that supports learning

B. Managing Activities and Materials

  1. Efficiently set up a variety of class configurations to maximize student learning and participation (individual, pair, group and whole-class work)
  1. Use texts and media effectively so that students can engage with them in a learning-centered way
  1. Provide students with adequate think time 
  1. Give effective instructions, model activities and check student understanding

C. Focusing with Target Language and Texts

  1. Convey and highlight meaning, form and use of lexis, grammar and pronunciation
  1. Provide accurate oral and written models for students
  1. Check and clarify student understanding of meaning, form and use
  1. Use a range of means to elicit ideas, information, language from students and respond to them so that the lesson builds and helps students learn key aspects of target language or deal with key aspects of text
  1. Establish context and activate prior knowledge before a reading/listening task
  1. Elicit and model strategies for reading, listening and writing

D. Moving toward objectives

  1. Set up student-centered activities to help students encounter and clarify target language or text/genre features (establish context, use a variety of deductive and inductive techniques to help students notice language)
  1. Set up student-centered activities that help students remember and internalize target language
  1. Set up student-centered opportunities to use target language and any other language/skills to complete a communicative, real-world task
  1. Set up listening, reading and writing tasks so that students can focus on increasingly challenging aspects of the text with confidence
  1. Diverge from the lesson plan based on evidence of student learning
  1. Manage the learning process in such a way that lesson objectives are likely to be achieved (e.g., timing and pace)


Competency Area 3:  Reflecting on Planning and Teaching

A. Focusing Reflection

  1. Identify strengths, challenges and issues in a lesson (planning and teaching)
  1. Identify whether lesson or activity objectives were achieved, providing examples of student behavior

B. Learning Through The Reflective Cycle

  1. Describe details from the classroom:  student (individual and group) behavior, teacher behavior, materials and the class environment
  1. Offer interpretations of how specific events in the class may have affected student learning
  1. Come up with generalizations and theories about student learning that are linked to specific events or experiences in a lesson
  1. Plan specific actions for future lessons based on experience in a lesson

C. Working in Community

  1. Use a variety of key terminology from TESOL to discuss lessons in terms of student learning
  1. Demonstrate a positive attitude to feedback and an ability to make changes to enhance students’ learning