Interested in teaching or tutoring English language learners? Consider a career in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)!

The TESOL Essentials Series is an online certificate program open to anyone interested in the world of TESOL, regardless of professional background or prior teaching experience. Participants in this program will complete an intensive 8-week synchronous course to learn TESOL fundamentals, then work asynchronously under the supervision of a mentor, to complete a 15-hour teaching practicum at a site of their choosing.

What Sets Us Apart

  Program includes 8 weeks of synchronous sessions and an asynchronous teaching practicum
  Develop supportive network of peers, instructors, and mentors
  Learn from Penn’s experts in TESOL and educational linguistics

About the Program

The Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Essentials Series is a 135-hour certificate course that teaches participants the theoretical and practical skills needed to begin a career in TESOL. This series is accessible to anyone interested in the field of TESOL, regardless of professional background or prior teaching experience.

Program startNot available

Program Length6 months

Certificate OfferedPenn GSE Certificate in TESOL Essential Series

Format(s)This program includes both live virtual sessions and asynchronous work to be completed at your own pace

Ideal Candidates

  • Current teachers of all experience levels interested in adding to their skillset
  • Working professionals with an interest in the field of TESOL
  • Professionals working closely with ESL/EFL populations, especially in educational settings
  • Recent college graduates interested in TESOL
  • Mid-level professionals interested in diversifying their skillset
  • Retirees interested in TESOL
Programs for Working Professionals

Housed within Penn GSE, the mission of the TESOL Essentials Series certificate program is to provide a more accessible and affordable path for professionals of all ages and backgrounds to enter the field of TESOL confidently. We are the only certificate program that offers synchronous coursework plus a mentored teaching practicum that exceeds the 120-hour standard for entry-level short-term certificate programs established by the TESOL International Association.

Throughout the 8-week synchronous course, participants will:

  • Develop a working knowledge of the history of TESOL and the theoretical underpinnings of second language development
  • Develop a working knowledge of the form and function of language with a primary focus on the Communicative Approach
  • Develop a repertoire of fundamental teaching skills, including strategies for teaching procedures for planning a cohesive lesson, delivering effective task instructions, managing a classroom of mixed-ability students, conducting formative and summative assessments, and providing corrective feedback
  • Demonstrate understanding of course topics by applying theory to practice in teaching demonstrations
  • Establish a working teaching philosophy statement
  • Establish a practicum teaching site with at least three English language learners and one site supervisor

During the 15-hour mentored practicum, participants will:

  • Complete a one-hour observation of an ESOL colleague and submit a written report of their observation
  • Lead teach at least 14 hours of an ESOL of at least three English language learners
  • Submit a weekly reflective teaching journal for instructor feedback
  • Submit for instructor feedback two 15-minute lesson recordings (with accompanying lesson plan, materials, and reflection)
  • Collect student evaluations at the end of their practicum teaching experience
  • Submit a signed teaching log detailing their practicum hours

Following the completion of all coursework and Practicum requirements, participants will be awarded a 135-hour TESOL Certificate of completion from Penn GSE and will have the theoretical knowledge and practical experience needed to successfully enter the field of TESOL as a working professional.


Program Leadership

Hannah Brenneman
Academic Director, TESOL Essentials Series
Associate Director of Fieldwork & Service Learning, Educational Linguistics Division

Anne Pomerantz
Faculty Advisor, TESOL Essentials Series
Professor of Practice, Educational Linguistics Division