Teaching English to Adults in Ontario, Canada Self-Check

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Yuliya: Cheryl, last time we talked about what you would need to teach children in Ontario. Would it be the same for adults? If I taught adults at a college or somewhere else, in university? Like, what would be the next steps in ing finding similar employment?

Cheryl: Yes, so, teaching adults is a completely different thing in terms of regulation and , and it does depend on what you want to teach to adults.

For example, you can teach at the college and university level with a Master’s or PhD - that's generally what they're looking for. Some college programs are also focussed on a specific trade or a specific industry. 

So if you have experience in fashion design, - I don't know why that's the first thing that popped into my head, - but if you have experience in fashion design and you want to teach a college-level design course, then your industry experience is very important. It's nice if you also have a master's, but the industry experience is really what they're looking for, they are looking for practical training.

If you want to teach English to adults for example, that's a different type of because we have professional organizations in Ontario and in Canada that provide accreditation in those fields. So in Ontario, for example, there's an organization called TESL [Teaching English as a Second Language] Ontario, and they provide for what an adult education teacher needs to know and they accredit programs who teach...

The general qualifications you need to teach English to adults in Ontario, you need an degree. It doesn't have to be in English, it can be in anything, but they want to see that you've completed university level of education. Because technically a TESL diploma is a post graduation certificate, that's what it's classified as. 

So you would need the university education and then you would need to a program at a TESL Ontario accredited institution, and there are several throughout Ontario. They're mostly concentrated in the Toronto area and the Ottawa area.
Some of them are public colleges and universities, some of them are smaller private institutions, so anything, any institution that has been accredited by TESL Ontario can offer a program to train you.

TESL Ontario also has a PLAR process, a Prior Learning Accreditation and Recognition program. I think that’s what PLAR stands for. So if you have prior training and experience in teaching English to adults, you can apply through TESL Ontario to have that .

Yuliya: In which case you wouldn't need to take a TESL program? 

Cheryl: Exactly, yeah. They may recommend that you take one or two small courses. So, for example they often recommend that you take a course to get familiar with the Canadian Language Benchmarks because that's a specifically Canadian thing.

Yuliya: Canadian thing… Okay, and how different would you expect things to be in other provinces of Canada? A lot? A little?

Cheryl: Kind of a lot, but kind of a little. So, across Canada, there is another organization called TESL Canada that also provides teacher accreditation for teaching English to adults. So, in other provinces TESL Canada is the standard that employers look for. 

It's only really Ontario and Saskatchewan and BC that are kind of a little bit different, but the rest of the country, TESL Canada is the standard. So it's a similar organization to TESL Ontario in that they schools to offer courses to become an English language teacher. 

Yuliya: Thank you! That's been very helpful!

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