What is the TEFL Course Practicum?

What is the TEFL Course Practicum?

By Heather Holding, Greenheart Travel Intern

Heather is taking our Professional 170 hour online TEFL course, and sharing her experiences through this blog series.

The Greenheart Travel online TEFL course also certifies you for 20 hours of “in person” coursework, which this specific course refers to as the “practicum”. Many people might be confused as to how you can obtain “in person” hours while taking an online course, but it’s simple really! You do the coursework in your current town/city and have a supervisor sign off on it in your log. The course will recognize these hours and certify you for them.

During the 3rd week of the course the Student Affairs Department sent an e-mail explaining what the Practicum is. For teaching English programs like South Korea it is now required for students take a 100 hour in person class or a 100 hour online class + 20 practicum hours. The practicum requirement can be fulfilled by:

  1. volunteer/student teaching
  2. observing
  3. tutoring

You have 30 days after your course ends to complete your Practicum hours however, it is a good idea to get started early. There are forms online and explanations inside the course that explain everything. The forms included include a letter that you can send to organizations asking them if you can tutor/observe/teach and a log of hours that will require your and your supervisors signature. When finding a location to complete your hours, it is required that you are working with non-native English speakers and teaching them specifically the English language (math, science, etc. do not count towards your hours).

So, how do you find a location where you can complete your Practicum? There are a number of way you can go about finding a place to complete your hours:

1. Do a simple Google search of “ESL Classes & your city,state” (Example: ESL Classes Chicago, IL) and contact anywhere that pops up with ESL classes in your area.

2. Look through the following ESL databases to see if there are any organizations near you:

3. Check the Practicum section on Moodle (which you will have access to when you start the course). TEFL students have posted information about where they have completed their hours here.

4. Review the document called Preferred Practicum Locations, also under the Practicum section on Moodle. This document contains a list of organizations that have opted to participate and are seeking volunteer TEFL students.

5. Contact any faith based organizations, non-profit organizations, community centers, libraries, schools, etc. in your area to see if they have ESL classes and are looking for volunteers.

6. Tutor a non-native English student privately. Tutoring can take place in person or via Skype if necessary.

This week I began to give quite a lot of thought into my practicum. My freshman and sophomore years I was a member of an organization on campus called DCSA. DePaul Community Service Association. Once a week I would do some type of community service. There are about 25 different small service groups within DCSA that do different community service projects. It was always so rewarding and something that I enjoyed doing on my Friday’s. My Junior year I did not participate because I studied abroad. There is a group in DCSA called (AIRE) Achieving Immigrant Rights and Equality. AIRE works with Chicago’s immigrant population by helping further their education. Volunteers work with Latino immigrants, tutoring them in ESL (English as a Second Language) classes.

PERFECT! So this Friday I am going with my roommate to Little Village to tutor Latino Immigrants in ESL to count towards my practicum! I’m really excited to test out what I have learned so far and get back into doing some rewarding work that I think will be really fun!


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