News Marlboro Students Earn TESOL Certificates
MARLBORO, VT (June 4, 2013) – There was good reason to celebrate when the first group of Marlboro College students recently received their TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificates. Featured as part of the undergraduate course offerings at the college for the first time this year, the certificate program is the result of continued partnerships between the college’s Marlboro and Brattleboro (Graduate and Professional Studies) campuses. The Graduate and Professional Studies program launched the MA TESOL in June of last year.
“For years there has been interest on the undergraduate campus in the field of TESOL, in part because it offers a way to go abroad and earn money while you do it,” said Beverley Burkett, chair of the MA TESOL Program and instructor for the certificate course. “Developing the TESOL certificate program seemed like a great way to match an interest, and need, at the undergraduate level with expertise at the graduate school.”
The certificate course is a minimum of 130 hours that includes six hours of observed individual teaching with feedback. This fits the requirement for an entry-level qualification in the field of
TESOL. Finding an appropriate site close to Marlboro to do the practice teaching was not easy, so an internship was arranged at a small language school, the Centro Espiral Mana, in rural Costa Rica during Marlboro’s spring break. The director of Centro Espiral Mana, Mary Scholl, is one of the summer faculty for the MA TESOL at Marlboro’s graduate school. At her center, the Marlboro students were able to have an authentic teaching experience, using a project-based approach to English lesson planning and design, to help their students learn about the local environment. The goal, at the end of the eight-day course, was for the local students of English to hike along a newly created river trail while talking (in English) about nature and doing activities on the trail that would help develop their awareness of tropical river ecology. In addition, it would enable older students, should they go on to become guides, to talk about these issues with eco-tourists. The town, San Isidro de Peñas Blancas, has created the river walk to raise awareness of environmental issues affecting their area.
“We were excited about not only teaching English but also contributing to increased environmental awareness and sustainable job opportunities for local inhabitants,” said Beverly. “One local teenager said, ‘We learned English, but most of all we learned how to look after our river.’”
Referring to what he learned doing the practice teaching, Marlboro junior Ben Glatt said, “It was about seeing the classroom through the eyes of a student and making the first question not, ‘What can I teach them?’ but ‘How can I help them to learn?’” Commenting on her experience in the course as a whole, junior Adeline Banker stated: “Marlboro’s TESOL certificate course taught me that I can think of myself as a teacher, because I have the potential to be one—as long as I’m thinking about the success of my learners.”
ABOUT MARLBORO COLLEGE
With locations in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains and downtown Brattleboro, Marlboro College provides independent thinkers with exceptional opportunities to broaden their intellectual horizons, benefit from a small and close-knit learning community, create a strong framework for personal and career fulfillment and make a positive difference in the world. Founded in 1946, the undergraduate campus comprising roughly 300 students is located in the town of Marlboro with the Graduate and Professional Studies campus nestled in the vibrant community of Brattleboro. Students engage in deep exploration of their interests—and discover new avenues for using their skills to benefit themselves and others—in an atmosphere that emphasizes critical and creative thinking, independence, social justice, sustainability and community.