The Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages International Association was formed in 1966. Since then, the landscape of EL, ESL and the TESOL classroom have changed. Since 2010, the TESOL International Association has implemented a number of programs and initiatives including the growth and expansion of online educational opportunities for TESOL professionals. With an ever changing industry and an increase in the desire for TESOL professionals, it’s important that current teachers, professionals and students pursuing TESOL as a career keep abreast of current trends.
How to stay in the know and in the now.
Education and educational theories constantly evolve. TESOL professional, Kristen Lindhal, recommends three ways to keep or invigorate your TESOL curriculum. The first step is exploring the resources available to you or finding out what other professionals are doing. Surveying the existing educational landscape is a good way to learn what challenges other professionals are experiencing and exploring new ways to overcome these challenges.
Give some power to the people, aka your students.
Lindahl’s second step involves finding out what learners and students really want. Certain teaching strategies or curriculum implementation involvedeveloping and fostering autonomous learners. This doesn’t mean that students should be left on their own. Instead, the goal is to encourage students to have a say in what they learn; to encourage students to take their learning beyond the classroom. Barbara McCombs, writing for the American Psychological Association, advocates for teachers to incorporate hobbies or particular passions of students into the curriculum. In addition, McCombs and Lindhal both propose that feedback from students is essential not only for creating successful students, but also creating active learners.
Express individuality in how you teach.
Lindhal’s third step is directed at teachers. Specifically, educators and professionals should embrace the feedback from students and develop their own approach combining student input with the individual educator’s teaching philosophy. In the arena of TESOL, educators should also keep in mind where they are teaching, i.e. what kind of learning environment does the school or professional opportunity foster? How does your curriculum can fit the system surrounding you and your students?
Keeping in mind all these considerations, think about the kind of learning environment you want to develop and how you’ll hone your personal as well as professional skills in it. At Spring Arbor University, a faith-based approach combined with the flexibility of an online learning environment opens opportunities for educators and professionals looking to reach English learners on a personal level while changing lives through language instruction.