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ACE TESOL: Online vs. Face-to-face

  • ACE TESOL: Online vs. Face-to-face

The following blog post was written by Nancy Robertson, a Program Coordinator at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.

As the program coordinator of the ACE TESOL Certificate program, I am asked on occasion by prospective students as to whether the program is delivered online. I can sense the confusion as I explain that the 100 hours of coursework, followed by a 20-hour practicum, is offered only in face-to-face delivery. I can appreciate their surprise. It must seem antiquated and behind the times as there are an increasingly number of TESOL courses offered online. However, there is a very purposeful and deliberate intent for the face-to-face delivery, and this is best explained by comments I received recently from our current trainees.

"I can't imagine doing this online," remarked Maggie Zelaya, a professional writer who has chosen ELL teaching as a complimentary career. “Every class my ACE TESOL teachers performed several teaching demonstrations, and I learned an incredible amount from observing them in action.”  

Maggie also highlighted the effectiveness of the micro-teaching assignments in the 100 hour course. Students are required to get up in front of their classmates and practice their teaching skills at least two or three times. They receive feedback from their teachers and peers. “Without this in-class experience I would not have felt as confident and prepared going into the practicum,” she said. “Those assignments improved my teaching skills significantly.”

Michelle Bjorndalen, who volunteers as an ELL instructor at Bow Valley College, and Jacqueline Ngai, who is continuing her post-graduate studies and has taught children at a Chinese school, chose the ACE TESOL program because it’s taught in the classroom and because we arrange practicums right on site.

Michelle said the teachers were personable and that she gained experience by interacting with other people. She found the classroom atmosphere valuable in making connections with classmates and interacting with the instructors. "The trainers are so experienced and very involved in the ESL world,” she explained.  “They know what is out there; they have the pulse of the job market."

Jacqueline added, "I appreciate the experience of learning with a group so diverse in background (i.e. culture, professions, experience, etc.) I learned so much from both my trainers and my classmates. I also like how practical and applicable the course material is."

There is no doubt that online delivery offers flexibility in our fast-paced and busy world; however, it’s clear that for certain programs, such as the ACE TESOL Certificate program, face-to-face delivery is the optimal method for ensuring high-quality instruction, hands-on application, and professional interaction.

Learn more about the ACE TESOL Certificate course offered through Bow Valley College.

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