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Graduate School of Language Education and Information Science, Ritsumeikan University

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更新日 2015-06-17 | 作成日 2008-08-08

TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and it refers to the professional qualifications for teaching English to non-native speakers of English (ESL/EFL).

LEIS has had an agreement with the University of British Columbia in Canada (UBC) since 2003 and has established a Joint-TESL Certificate Program. This qualification is recognized by UBC as a TESOL certificate particularly relevant to the English usage environment of Japan.


TESL/TESOL Certification Program


TESL at UBC


In this program, a joint TESL (TESOL) certificate is offered by LEIS and the University of British Columbia (UBC) over a period of 2 years, during which 16 credits can be earned. In the summer of the first year, students spend five weeks taking an intensive course at UBC, and in the second year, lessons are taught at Ritsumeikan University by a visiting faculty member from UBC. At the same time, a practicum is held at Heian Girls’ High School in Kyoto during which 20 hours of teaching experience can be gained.

First Year Classes at UBC

Courses in the first year of the program are taken at UBC over 5 weeks. LEIS students can participate in this course after four months into their studies when they have attained the basic minimum skills in English educational theory and second language acquisition. The local students in UBC include working TESOL teachers so English skills will be trained day by day through academic group discussions. The new course of study introduced in Japan for junior and senior high schools expects teachers to have strong English abilities, and the UBC experience will help students to attain this. Through the five weeks in a safe and culturally diverse environment, LEIS students will gain an important experience to pass on to their students in their future classrooms.

A typical weekday has the following schedule. The topics covered during the five weeks are language functions, phonology, morphology, syntax, and other basic disciplines. Furthermore, students can learn about bilingualism, immersion education, first and second language acquisition, CALL and many other topics in multicultural Canada. Over the five weeks, students will be tasked with three reports which are to be completed individually or in groups. For example, in one such task, students are to record themselves in natural conversation with a local resident and analyze the gap between natural conversation and written language from a grammatical perspective, and consider the effects of different contexts in which the recording was made.

Also, every year several students collect data on a topic that they are interested in while in Canada, and use that data to write an academic paper to submit to the center’s research journal called "Working Papers" after returning to Japan. This is a journal that both current and former students of the program can contribute to. For example, one student conducted an interview with an international couple in Vancouver. Qualitative analysis from interview data was conducted regarding issues that arose from their status. As another example, quantitative research in the form of a questionnaire was conducted concerning how LEIS students felt about how their speaking, writing skills and cultural skills developed, comparing just before they left for Canada and after they returned.

Second Year Classes and Practicum

The second year of the TESOL program is held at Kinugasa campus and consists of lectures given by a visiting professor from UBC and practicum. The practicum takes place at Heian Girls’ High School over seven days for a total of 20 hours. The high school students are Japanese, but the lessons are conducted all in English.

The full process starting from preparing the lesson plans to conducting the lesson is carried out together with UBC students. Due to cultural and background differences of the LEIS and UBC students, it is common for students to have different opinions on issues. Therefore, in order for LEIS students to explain their ideas in English to UBC students and come up with a lesson plan that both sides agree on, a high level of English skills is required.

Further, since Japanese learners of English are the focus of the lesson, it is necessary that LEIS students be able to explain to UBC students what Japanese high school students are like, and the level of their English, in advance. Putting the latest language learning theories to work in this language learning situation, students from both LEIS and UBC need to think and work together in order to encourage students' motivation and get the best outcome from the collaborative lessons. It is necessary to prepare stimulating lesson plans for each class in order to give the high school students a sense of achievement after seven days.


TESL at USQ


Here, we introduce the Intensive Graduate TESOL Program at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in Australia.

USQ is a renowned distance-education university. In 2000-2001, it was awarded the “Australian University of the Year” for its development as a leading Australian e-University.

The TESOL program at UBC is a program that lasts for 2 summers, so some students may not be able to participate fully due to their working situations and other reasons. Such students can consider another TESOL program which is held at USQ. This is short-term course held during five weeks in summer, in which students can earn 8 credits. There is a full curriculum which runs from morning till evening. One of the characteristics of the USQ program is its homestay option, where students can stay with a local family for five weeks, and experience another culture and English that is different from what is used in the classroom.

Students can obtain a TESOL qualification through an intensive five-week course starting from the end of July to the end of August. Unlike the UBC program, there is no teaching practicum, but by visiting schools and observing immersion education lessons, students can gain some teaching experience. The topics covered over the five weeks include, research skills, conversation analysis, second language teaching methodology, sociolinguistics and so on. Students can also take part in regular undergraduate and graduate classes. Australia is a multicultural society which has fifty years of history and experience in providing English education for English non-native speakers. We recommend students who want to study TESOL education in such a country to take this course.

Students of the Japanese Language Education program can also take part in this USQ program.


An example of how participants in the TESL/TESOL program take courses


We recommend participants in the TESL/TESOL program to make a balanced plan of lessons from the following group of courses.

  1. Lesson categories

    • a)The basic group of subjects for language education

      b) Skills-based group for language use and language information

      c) The group of subjects for linguistic theory and language information-related subjects

      d) The group of subjects for language culture research

      e) The group of subjects relating to practical school education

      f) The group of subjects relating to how to support students

  2. TESL / TESOL certification program

  3. Dissertation seminar (required seminar)