TESOL International Association offers a multitude of resources for classroom teachers and researchers. However, these same resources can also be used in teacher education programs to inspire future teachers and contribute to achieving teacher preparation standards. Here are some ways to use them!
Blogs and Newsletters
First, textbooks can be supplemented with the voices of practitioners in the field by bringing TESOL blogs, articles from interest section newsletters, and content from TESOL Connections into our teacher education courses. For example, I recently taught a graduate course on “Teaching Languages Online,” and in addition to our research-oriented readings, I incorporated a number of articles from the Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section newsletter, On CALL, into our curriculum. Students appreciated having some assigned readings that were shorter, more conversational in tone, and offered a teacher’s perspective on the topics presented in our course.
TESOL’s communities of practice further offer webinars on an extensive number of subjects. These webinars are recorded and freely available on TESOL’s YouTube channel. Teacher education students may watch these webinars as part of a lesson or as an enrichment activity. They can respond to the content of the webinars in face-to-face or online discussions or via written reflections.
I commonly ask students in my course “Teaching Pronunciation” to watch recorded webinars from the Speech, Pronunciation, and Listening Interest Section, and students in my course “Language and Culture” to watch webinars from the Intercultural Communication Interest Section. I also inform my students when TESOL webinars are being presented so that they can participate in the live sessions. In this way, students not only learn from experts but also begin engaging in our professional community.
The TESOL Resource Center
TESOL’s Resource Center contains class activities, lesson plans, and assessments, among other materials submitted by members. A teacher educator can utilize these materials as the basis for a wide range of tasks. For instance, teacher education students may evaluate how they could adapt an activity from the Resource Center for their own teaching context. In my own course on language teaching methods, which is online and asynchronous, I have given students the following discussion task during our unit on lesson planning:
Choose a lesson plan from the TESOL International Association’s TESOL Resource Center to analyze. Provide a link to the plan you have chosen to discuss. Imagine that you are a substitute teacher, and you have been given this plan to use in class. You have little time for additional preparation. Critique the plan in terms of its organization and completeness.
- How clear is the plan to you? (I.e., would you be able to implement it as written?)
- Does the plan provide a variety of learning activities?
- Are the activities logically sequenced?
- What kind of information do you think should be added to or deleted from the plan to make it more useful for the teacher who will implement it?
Teacher education courses that are focused on policy or advocacy can explore TESOL’s advocacy resources. Students in my course “Teaching ESL/EFL to Adult Learners” have found TESOL’s resources on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to be very helpful for understanding how this act affects funding, admissions, curriculum, materials, and assessment within adult English as a second language programs.
Issues and Research
TESOL Letters and Alerts express the association’s position on issues affecting our field. Teacher educators wishing to introduce issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion and the impact of governmental policies on education can use these documents to stimulate discussion and help students formulate their own positions on the issues as future professionals in the field.
Additionally, if you teach a course on research methods or work with doctoral students, TESOL’s Research Agenda can serve as inspiration for potential researchers to help them develop research questions to investigate their own classrooms, their communities, or society at large.
For students who are graduating, becoming familiar with TESOL’s Career Center can benefit them in their future job searches. By exploring job advertisements, students can learn about the types of jobs that are available, where these jobs are located, and the types of materials required to apply. Students can see how projects commonly assigned in teacher education courses, projects like writing a philosophy of teaching statement, giving a teaching demonstration, or developing a portfolio of materials, have a real-life purpose and will come in handy when applying for jobs.
The Career Center also has a section on career advice that offers articles related to career advancement and teaching advice, among other tips.
Resources for Teacher Educators
Finally, TESOL offers resources for teacher educators themselves. TESOL’s Standards for Initial TESOL Pre-K-12 Teacher Preparation Programs outline the content, pedagogical knowledge, and teaching skills required by English language teachers and can inform the design of teacher education programs.
To conclude, TESOL International Associations offers all of these materials free of charge, even to nonmembers. By using TESOL resources in your teacher education program, students can engage with the same materials, ideas, and concerns as teachers practicing in the field and begin to envision themselves as English language professionals.