Discover the What, Why, Who, and How of the Community TESOL Programs
What is a Community TESOL Program?
A Community TESOL Program is a framework to provide ESL training teachers a practical teaching experience while fulfilling a need in the local community by teaching ESL classes to adult immigrants and refugees.
The program is built upon the themes of community and reciprocity.
Who Can Create a Community TESOL Program?
A program can be started by universities, educational institutions, and TEFL certificate programs to extend the community outreach and create opportunities for ESL training teachers to gain valuable teaching experience.
Even churches and non-profits can start a community outreach ESL program with or without the teacher development element.
Why Launch a Community TESOL Program?
Research indicates that participating in community-based teaching during TESOL training can promote critical reflection, community engagement, and intercultural communication in future teachers (Yang, 2014).
Adult immigrant and refugee language learners cite language development, friendships, and community as the top reasons for continued participation.
How Can I Launch a Community TESOL Program?
Justifying the program creation to administration and establishing a program can be difficult.
This website provides information on the program benefits and the standards of a successful program gathered from research and personal experience. Use this framework as inspiration and as a guide in establishing a program at your institution.
Contact Sarah for consulting, workshops, or speaking about teacher development through service-learning and community-based ESL
What are the benefits of the program?
A community-based E.S.L. teacher development program benefits E.S.L. training teachers and immigrant and refugee adult students
This program is not viewed as "serving the community." The college students are not considered the knowledge holders, instead, all participants have something to teach and learn.
I believe it's important to establish a collective learning environment from the beginning. When determining the benefits of this program, I approached it as one collective group, asking: What are the benefits to all participants?
The above visual was created after conducting action research on the G.E.C.O. program including observations, interviews, collecting of classroom assignments, and a qualitative survey.
The core of this type of program is teaching and learning English. All participants contribute to the classroom learning through instruction, group work, and pairs. It is my recommendation that a new program starts there, and let the layers develop organically.
What's the structure of a program?
Using research from multiple participant perspectives, this is a guide for the
Standards for a Community-based ESL Teacher Development Program
Want more details? Scroll down to read about each element
Find out More
Here is a closer look at a breakdown of the Standards and Elements
This structure is successful for Gonzaga E.S.L. Community Outreach. Use it to inspire the structure of your program
Remember to assess the needs of your participants and adapt as required
1. Program Structure and Administration
Student-run: University students-teachers are the leaders
Coordinator: Graduate student paid position
External Funding: Student-teachers apply for grants
Networking & Promotions: Build relationships with relevant organizations, social media marketing
Class Schedule: Saturday morning
Class Levels: Multiple levels based on students language levels
2. Curriculum and Instruction
Curriculum & Lesson Planning: Thematic 2-week units, topics are chosen from student preferences, all lessons are created by student-teachers teams
Co-teaching teams: Plan and teach one level class together
3. Learner Intake and Retention
Assess Needs: Use an intake for to student contact information and assess student needs and language level
Absentee Policy: Call or Facebook message absent students
4. Teacher Recruitment and Support
Recruitment & Requirement: Require graduate students to teach 8 hours a year and invite undergraduate TEFL certificate students to gain real teaching practice
Mentor Program: 2nd-year graduate students mentor new teachers
5. Community Building
Socializing & Friends: Multi-level warm-up and snack time, private Facebook group
Cultural Bonds: Place a sticker on the class map for your "home" city and introduce yourself (students and teachers)
Celebration & Certificates: End of session party and a certificate with student name and total hours earned
6. Student Support Services
Pre-K Class: Free class for children age 3-6 years old
Documents to get started
Here are a few documents to use in your program
These documents were created and adapted over the six years G.E.C.O. has been in action
All documents are word.doc so you can adapt based on your program and participant needs
G.E.C.O. Coordinator 2017-2018
MA/TESL Graduate Student, Gonzaga University
I am passionate about teacher training and working with immigrant and refugee adults. During my tenure as Coordinator of the community-based teacher development program G.E.C.O., I worked to bridge the gap between these groups and co-construct one community. I believe these actions are what made G.E.C.O grow successfully.
To see my about me and my other teaching experience visit my CV website
2012 to Present
The G.E.C.O. was developed in 2012 by a group of graduate students at Gonzaga University's Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language. They were seeking more teaching opportunities in addition to the required practicum. For five years it remained a relatively small program. Under my direction, the program was re-invented and grew exponentially thanks in part to the community approach, encouraging all student-teachers to contribute ideas that contributed to the program vision and direction.
From 2017 to 2018 student-teachers applied for grants, designed and led workshops, and developed mentoring relationships in the new mentor program. Additionally: