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Practicum Requirements

The practicum requirement for your program is an in-field experience in which you will experience the realities of a classroom/school environment related to your degree.  In addition to time on-site, all students will be enrolled in a practicum course.  The faculty member of the practicum course will be the primary contact for questions, concerns, and successes during your practicum experience.

Students are encouraged to seek their own practicum opportunities, or one may be assigned. 

Be sure to consult your specific degree for information regarding your exact practicum experience requirements



TESOL PRACTICUM REQUIREMENTS The TESOL Practicum consists of experiential exposure to an actual second language classroom/school setting.

Students can expect the following workload requirements:

WORKLOAD
0.5 credit:  15 hours of seminar/lab instruction
2.5 credits: 115 hours of practical experience

  • 60 hours of classroom observation
  • 20 Hours of Cooperative Lesson Planning and Observation
  • 10 Hours of Supervised-Independent teaching
  • 25 hours for journal projects and portfolio preparation
Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the practicum experience:

By Monday of each week, you are required to submit the following for the previous week of observation:

  • Reflective Observation Reports (written reflective report on the specified topic listed in Attachment B: Course Assignment Details).
  • Timesheets (Attachment D: Practicum Timesheets).
Although the amount of hours per week that you submit depends upon your observation schedule. By the end of the course, your timesheets should reflect the total number of observation/supervised teaching hours, as specified in the course syllabus.  Although your teacher will track your time, it is your responsibility to ensure that you complete the required amount of hours for the course.

The observation reports correspond to topics for reflection that are listed in Attachment B, not to the number of weeks in the course. In some weeks, you may be asked to reflect on more than one topic.  It is suggested that you complete the observation logs in the order specified in Attachment B and by the recommended completion date.  You may, however, complete logs before the specified due date. 
Each reflective observation report should constitute roughly 6-10 hours of observation.  The observation reports allow for you to reflect upon specific topics designed by the faculty to allow reflection and critical thinking on topics that you have been exposed to throughout your program.

Students who wish to allow time to focus on their cooperative lesson planning and supervised teaching are encouraged to complete 6 hours of observation per week in order to finish observations by the end of week 10 (6 hours x 10 weeks = 60 observation hours).

Students who wish to allow time to focus on their cooperative lesson planning and supervised teaching are encouraged to complete 12 hours of observation per week in order to finish observations by the end of week 5 (12 hours x 5 weeks = 60 observation hours).

From time to time, you may not be able to complete the suggested observation hours for the week.  If this is the case, you should notify your teacher ahead of time.  There is no penalty for “missing” your observation hours for the week; however, you are advised to only miss observation hours for serious reasons.  Otherwise, you may not be able to complete the required hours for the course.  Remember that failure to complete the required observation hours has the consequence of an automatic deduction of 20% off of your final grade.

Cooperative lesson planning provides you with the opportunity to work on lesson plans with a language teaching professional, whom you are observing. Ideally, you will have the opportunity to implement some of your planned lesson in your supervised teaching sessions. 
 Cooperative lesson planning can include the following:

  • Reviewing, commenting, and discussing lesson plans provided by a language professional.
  • Working on a lesson plan with a language teaching professional whom you are observing.
  • Planning a lesson and having it reviewed and commented on by a language professional.

The supervised teaching requirement for this course is intended to provide you with a teaching experience in a live classroom.  The intention is for you to gain real-world, practical experience prior to course completion.  Although every student situation is unique, supervised teaching can include the following:

  • Direct supervised Teaching
    • Supervised teaching consists of delivering a lesson with a language teaching professional in the classroom with you (likely the regular teacher for that specific course).
  • Tutoring Time
    • Up to three hours of one on one or group tutoring may be substituted for direct instruction (you may still include preparation time in your calculation; therefore, three hours of tutoring is equal to six hours toward the supervised teaching requirement).
  • Preparation Time
    • For every one hour of teaching or tutoring, it is assumed that you have done at least one hour of outside preparation.  Therefore, every hour of teaching or tutoring counts as two hours toward the supervised teaching/tutoring requirement (1 hour teaching + 1 hour of preparation).
  • You are encouraged to video record a minimum of two hours of your direct-supervised teaching for use in your teaching demonstration.  You are only required to submit 45 minutes for the teaching demonstration, so it is assumed that you will edit your final video to not exceed this requirement.

Because cooperative lesson planning can enhance and/or serve to prepare you for your direct supervised teaching, students are encouraged to work on both requirements simultaneously.  It is suggested that you conduct 6-7 hours of cooperative lesson planning in conjunction with 3-4 hours of supervised teaching per week for weeks 6 to 8.

Because cooperative lesson planning can enhance and/or serve to prepare you for your direct supervised teaching, students are encouraged to work on both requirements simultaneously. It is suggested that you conduct 3-4 hours of cooperative lesson planning in conjunction with 1-3 hours of supervised teaching per week for weeks 11-15.

For in-service teachers, you may substitute up to 10 hours of supervised teaching, and 20 hours of cooperative lesson planning for direct teaching hours.  Before substituting any of this time, you must seek approval from your supervisor and inform your teacher.  If you wish to substitute time, one hour of teaching may be substituted for each hour of cooperative lesson planning/supervised teaching.  No preparation hours may be included in this time.

You are still required to submit a timesheet signed by your supervisor indicating that you were teaching.

If you are having problems completing your ten hours of supervised teaching, you should notify your teacher immediately.  Please remember that up to 3 hours of tutoring (plus 3 hours of preparation) may be substituted for direct instruction.  If you choose to tutor, this may substitute for up to six (6) hours of direct supervised teaching.  Therefore, you are required to complete a minimum of 2 hours of direct, supervised teaching (plus two hours of preparation).

In extreme cases, you may record a mock teaching session to fulfill the minimum two hour requirement.

When observing a class, please follow the procedures below to minimize disruption to the ESL students’ learning:

  • Obtain permission from the instructor in advance (via email, at least 48 hours in advance unless otherwise specified by the teacher that you wish to observe).  Some teachers may require more notice, so you should find out their preference
  • Arrive on time and remain for your entire scheduled time.
  • Sit where the teacher asks you to
  • Do not interrupt the class to add your own observations or corrections; interact with the students only if invited to do so by the instructor
  • Do not hold private discussions during the class (with students or other observers)
  • TURN OFF cell phones before the class begins
  • Remember to obtain the instructor’s signature at the end of the observed lesson. If an instructor finds your classroom behavior disruptive, s/he is under no obligation to sign your observation log

VIU’s ESL department has made the following requests regarding observations of their ESL classes.  Practicum students will need to obtain prior approval from the ESL Director and the instructor before observing any classes. You may obtain initial permission to observe by emailing the Program Director of the School of Language Studies. To schedule observations with an instructor, you will need to request permission via email no later than Thursday of the week prior to the week in which you would like observe.  Unless otherwise instructed, you should await email confirmation of your request before observing. You will not be permitted to observe without having received an email confirmation of your request.

You will need to seek approval from any outside organizations or institutions in order to do an observation.  You should contact the program director or administrator for any program that you are interested in observing.  Many program directors prefer that requests for observations come directly to them.  Your Practicum Professor or the Dean of the School of Education may assist in identifying strategies to find sites to do observations in the Virginia area or beyond.  It is, however, your responsibility to secure a site for observations.