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ESL at McMaster McMaster should consider ESL programs for educators

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McMaster offers programs for students to develop their English language skills and immerse themselves in the English-speaking McMaster community. However, McMaster does not offer an English as a second language program for students who wish to further their education in this field of interest.

For students who are looking to improve their English in an environment that is predominantly English-speaking, McMaster does offer a 4-week ESL program from July to August to help students develop their English-speaking skills.

McMaster also offers a program for international students, whose primary language is not English, who wish to improve their English skills. This includes oral, written communication and English-speaking skills to help students who speak English as a second language feel more comfortable adapting to an English-speaking environment such as McMaster. The McMaster English Language Development Diploma is committed to providing and encouraging and supportive environment for development and success in the program.

However, given that the diploma is a two-term, full-time bridging program in English language and development, students who are interested are expected to apply for the program with a the a minimum score of English proficiency in order to register for the program. According to MELD McMaster, these minimum scores of English proficiency are 70 in TOEFL iBT, 5.0 in IELTS, 55 in CAEL or 65 in MELAB.

“ESL education would not only benefit students who are interested in becoming educations, but also surrounding communities where there is an increasing need for ESL educators,” 

Students can work for MELD as coaches, however, it is not a program that students can participate in for the intent of teaching. Although the opportunity to be a coach for MELD would be beneficial as well, it does not serve the same purposes that an ESL program for the pursuit of obtaining a certificate/diploma to be certified as an ESL educator would.

Especially for students who are interested in teaching English abroad or even voluntarily participating in the active efforts to help refugees in Canada adapt and improve their English-speaking skills, an ESL education program at McMaster would be beneficial.

Alternatively, the University of Waterloo, through Renison University College, is now offering a TESOL certificate and diploma for students who are interested in pursuing teaching English as a Second Language as a summer program for students who are in their final year of their undergraduate career or for anyone who is certified as a teacher. The certificate program certifies you to teach English internationally, while the diploma certifies you to teach in Canada and overseas as well. The certification would allow students to teach different levels of ESL including adult education.

The program is a summer program the requires you to complete 150 hours (or 100 modules) of in class study along with a 30-hour practicum for completion. It is available for students at McMaster in enroll in, though enrollment would be done completely separately of McMaster University.

Though McMaster offers programs for international students who can benefit from ESL programs, there are no programs available for students who are interested in being the educators of ESL programs, or those who simply wish to be able to take courses that are directly related to ESL education. For those who do wish to pursue ESL education, the closest campuses to Hamilton would be Brock University or the University of Waterloo, which is difficult to manage if you are already a student who is enrolled at McMaster.

ESL education would not only benefit students who are interested in becoming educators, but also surrounding communities where there is an increasing need for ESL educators.

McMaster should consider offering a program for ESL education, where students who are interested in pursuing ESL education as either a study or a summer certification can do so here instead of having to seek an opportunity elsewhere.

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Author: Reem Sheet

Reem Sheet's name alone indicates she is meant for a career in journalism. A second year English and Philosophy student, she is the Opinion Editor for Volume 88. An avid writer and volunteer (to the point of volunteering for an organization that organizes volunteers), Reem is firm in her opinions and takes great pride in having a lot of them.