SIT TESOL Certificate: Executive Summary

Course Description

The SIT TESOL Certificate is a 180-hour course which provides participants with needed skills and knowledge in Teaching English to Speakers of Other languages (TESOL). This is an internationally recognized teaching certification issued by the School for International Training’s (SIT) Graduate Institute. The Certificate is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The course provides learning opportunities for teachers who possess a wide array of teaching experience. For teachers with no experience or little experience, the course provides instruction on learning theories, teaching methodology, and classroom management. For teachers with more experience, the course provides a great opportunity to reorient their teaching methodology and skills towards learner-centered practices.

The course also fosters reflective practice and skills through SIT’s unique approach to experiential learning and reflection on teaching practices. Course participants learn how to effectively base their teaching on learner’s needs and motivation as well as on formalized curricula and materials. The course allows participants to see learners and learning as the focus of lessons, as opposed to teachers and teaching.


Course Objectives

The SIT TESOL Certificate Course is designed to engage participants through components which include workshop sessions, guided lesson planning, teaching practicum, and feedback sessions. The overarching course objectives include the following:

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


·         Plan effective a learning-centered productive skill lessons using ECRIF and PWP frameworks and key TESOL terminology.

·         Plan effective a learning-centered receptive skill lessons using the PDP framework 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 knowing (about, how, why and oneself) and of sensitivity and awareness of cultural aspects of language, texts and activities


·         Effectively teach a learning-centered productive skill lessons using ECRIF and PWP frameworks and key TESOL best practices.

·         Effectively teach a learning-centered receptive skill lessons using PDP framework and key TESOL best practices.

·         Assess students’ learning progress in meeting the learning objectives

Reflect and Provide Feedback

·         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

·         Articulate and provide feedback based on the Experiential Learning Cycle


Course Facts:

  • 180 hours duration (run in either 4-week intensive or longer extensive formats)
  • 1 trainer-to-6-course participant ratio, maximum
  • Certificate awarded by SIT, on pass-fail basis
  • Content includes workshop sessions, supported lesson planning, observed practice teaching
  • Minimum of 6 trainer-observed practice teaching per participant
  • Minimum average of 8 authentic English language students per practice teaching lesson
  • Lesson planning, written assignments and readings required
  • Minimum English language proficiency required for enrollment: CEF C1 level


Course Aims:

Participants will:

  • Plan a lesson according to the frameworks provided and to understand the logic
  • Underlying the framework
  • Write clear learning objectives for his or her students
  • Present new material and ensure the meaning is clear to the students
  • Help students practice the new material and use it in real communication
  • Assess students’ progress in meeting the learning objectives
  • Assess his or her own teaching and make appropriate changes
  • Develop confidence in his or her ability to teach ESL/EFL


Core Course Content Areas:

  • Learning and teaching
  • The four skills (speaking, listening, reading, writing)
  • Speaking
  • Language
  • Culture


TESOL Frequently Asked Questions:

Some answers to frequently asked questions about the SIT Graduate Institute TESOL certificate program

  1. What is World Learning, and what is SIT Graduate Institute (formerly known as the School for International Training)?

World Learning is a private, nonprofit international organization with both academic and field project capabilities. Through its four program units –The Experiment in International Living, SIT Graduate Institute (formerly known as the School for International Training,) SIT Study Abroad, and World Learning International Development Programs- World Learning is a leader in the fields of sustainable development, teacher education, language training, international exchange, study abroad, peacebuilding, and NGO management.

SIT Graduate Institute, with a campus in Brattleboro, Vermont, and center in Washington, DC, is World Learning’s accredited institution of higher education. Established more than 40 years ago, SIT offers Master of Arts degree programs in teaching, conflict transformation, international education, sustainable development, and intercultural service, leadership, and management. Also offered is a certificate and diploma program in NGO leadership and management and more than fifty undergraduate-level study abroad programs.

The mission of SIT is to enable participants to develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and awareness needed to contribute effectively to global understanding and world peace. SIT is recognized nationally and internationally for its work in language teacher education and has been educating learner-oriented and culturally sensitive language teachers in its Master of Arts in Teaching program for over thirty years. It has prepared over 2000 active professional who are working in the field today making significant contributions as classroom teachers, administrators or consultants throughout the USA and in over 70 countries around the world.


  1. Why should I take the SIT TESOL certificate course?

The SIT course provides practical ESOL teacher-training in which participants develop skills in planning and teaching lessons focusing on speaking, listening, reading, writing, language and culture. The sessions are highly interactive and experiential. During the course individual participants do six assessed hours of practice teaching to ESOL students. Trainers observe participant teaching, guide participant reflection on the lesson, and give practical advice after each session.


  1. Who teaches the course?

SIT TESOL certificate course trainers are highly qualified, experiences ESOL teachers who have worked with adult learners and have previous training experience. They are licensed by SIT through a rigorous, multi-step process and bring a strong passion and dedication to their work. The trainers teach the course content, process discussions, and coach participants in developing lesson plans and teaching. They also observe participants’ teaching and provide feedback to participants after each teaching session.


  1. Is the course the same at all sites?

All courses are delivered by SIT-licensed trainers and focus on the same content areas, teacher skills, and course outcomes. In addition, each course is assessed by an evaluator who observers lesson planning and practice teaching sessions. The evaluator reviews participants’ written work and collects direct feedback from course participants. The evaluator ensures that SIT’s high standards are upheld.


  1. What kind of people take this course?

Participants are a diverse group. Many are college-age students who are interested in travelling and working overseas. There are also working professional preparing to enter TESOL as an alternative career or in retirement. Non-native English speakers with strong English skills also take the course so they can teach English in their own countries or elsewhere. Many experienced teachers find the certificate course a valuable introduction to SIT’s model of reflective practice.


  1. What are the entrance requirements?

You must have a high school degree and show a capacity for college-level education including a good understanding of English language and solid writing skills. You must remain calm under pressure, be willing to accept the authority of your trainers, commit to conveying a difference of opinion in a respectful manner, and be willing to work as a positive team player. All applicants must submit an application along with a one-page essay. Non- native speakers typically have a minimum TOEFL score of 600 on the written test or 250 on the computerized version, an IELTS Band 7.0 or higher, or a CEF C1. Non-native speakers must also have a second interview to ensure their listening/speaking skills are adequate to take the course and to teach English. All participants must show a willingness to plan and teach in groups and to work reflectively.


  1. What kind of job will I be able to get with this certificate?

This certificate can help you find an entry level position in a language institute or an adult education program in the United States or overseas. Most college and university teaching positions, however, require you to have a master’s degree. SIT also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching degree.

As a graduate of the program, you will have access to information about teaching positions through SIT’s Career Center, located on SIT’s Brattleboro campus.


  1. Will SIT’s TESOL certificate enable me to teach ESOL in U.S. public schools?

The SIT TESOL certificate may qualify you for an aide position in a public school ESOL program. However, to teach in the public schools in the US, you need public school certification, a process which generally involves an undergraduate degree followed by a period of full-time student teaching in a public school under the direction of a veteran teacher. Specific requirements vary from state to state.


  1. Can I get graduate credit for the course?

Participants may choose to pursue the option of five graduate credits to be awarded upon successful completion of the course. There is an additional $500 fee for these five credits. If you are interested in pursuing this option, you should check with the Registrar’s Office at whatever college or university you are attending or plan to attend. Of the five graduate credits, up to two may be applied toward SIT Graduate Institute’s on-campus Master of Arts in TESOL program, and these would take the place of the two-one credit electives. It is not possible to apply any of the five credits toward SIT’s online Master of Arts in TESOL program.

Please note:

The SIT TESOL certificate is graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Credits earned from SIT Graduate Institute are transferable only at the discretion of the receiving school.


  1. After I finish the certificate course, if, at a later date, I decide to complete SIT’s MA in TESOL program, is there any special financial aid available for certificate alumni?

Yes. Any SIT TESOL certificate holder who enrolls in one of the SIT MA in TESOL programs will be given a tuition reduction of $2,000.


  1. Does everyone who attends the course get a certificate?

No. Acceptance in to the course in not a guarantee that you will receive a certificate. If trainers feel that any participant has not successfully completed or mastered any segment of the course, or has not completed the written work satisfactorily, the participant will not be awarded the certificate, but will be awarded a Letter of Learning instead. To complete the certificate successfully, you must meet all the program requirements:

  • Attend all the program sessions (allowances are made for absence due to emergency situations):
  • Communicate effectively and fluently in written and oral English;
  • Successfully meet the goals and objectives of the program;
  • Successfully complete all the student teaching requirement and all program assignments.