Frequently asked questions

Applied Linguistics/TESL (Teaching English as a Subsequent Language) Undergraduate/Certificate

The notion that if one can speak and understand English, one can teach it is a common misconception. Teaching English to non-English speakers requires much more than the teacher’s ability to speak and understand the language. Imagine what might happen to patients if the only requirement for the practice of physiotherapy was that the practitioner knows how to walk! Teaching English to non-English speakers requires background knowledge in the description and analysis of language; insights into the theories and methodologies of language teaching and learning; and an “apprenticeship” in teaching and classroom management under the supervision of an experienced ESL teacher. In Canada and abroad, the number of qualified teachers of English as a subsequent language is increasing steadily; consequently, the absolute number and variety of job opportunities for individuals who lack professional qualifications is decreasing.

Not necessarily. Although having formal qualifications and experience as a teacher can help, teaching English to non-English speakers also requires knowledge of first- and second-language acquisition, the structure of English (plus additional course work in linguistics), language testing, and methodologies for teaching specific language skills. TESL therefore involves more than the application of pedagogical methodologies: it also involves the application of linguistic theories and analytical methodologies. Moreover, to be optimally effective, teachers of English as a subsequent language need to understand and demonstrate sensitivity toward cultural and linguistic differences; some of these skills can be learned in a classroom, but most are rooted in the teacher’s personality.

There are shorter and cheaper programs available… The answer to this question depends, largely, on one’s career goals. Students in the Applied Linguistics/TESL major receive internationally recognized university credit for the course work they complete. TESL programs offered at community colleges and private language schools typically have limited recognition; some are recognized only by the institution that offers them. Most instructors who teach in the Applied Linguistics/TESL major at Brock University hold an earned doctoral degree and are employed as full-time, tenured or tenure-track professors. In addition, DALS faculty teaching topics on TESL are also active researchers/scholars with expertise in teaching and conducting research in TESL.

TESL programs offered at Brock are internationally recognized qualifications that give successful graduates access to entry-level ESL teaching positions in Canada and abroad. These graduates are also qualified to apply for certification by TESL Ontario (more details).The knowledge and skills acquired by Applied Linguistics/TESL graduates provides a solid basis for a career in diverse areas. Individuals interested in teaching in the Ontario public school system are required to have a BEd/Ontario Teaching Certificate.

While it is possible in some parts of the world to teach ESL without academic qualifications and credentials, employers and professional organizations increasingly require minimal standards of education. The TESL Certificate offered by Brock is internationally recognized.

Yes, as long as students respect the required sequence (prerequisites) in which to take courses. For example, LING1F94 has to be the first course completed as it serves as the foundation for other courses.

The TESL Certificate is available at the St. Catharine’s campus only and is not offered online.

A less widely recognized TESL Certificate may be sufficient for certain teaching positions, especially in countries where there is a shortage of qualified ESL teachers. A one-year university level TESL Certificate is typically recognized throughout the world as a suitable entry level qualification to the TESL profession. Its curriculum includes relevant theoretical, pedagogical and practical material necessary to become a successful ESL teacher and a member of the TESL profession.

Speech and Language Sciences and Hearing Sciences Undergraduate

ENG4U is required. For students interested in majoring in Speech and Language Sciences or Hearing Sciences two of SB14U, SCH4U, SPH4U, MDM4U are strongly recommended.

You may contact any institution where SLPs, Audiologists, and CDAs work. These may include (but are not limited to): hospitals, rehabilitation centres, school boards, children’s treatment centres, and private clinics. In the Niagara Region both the Niagara Peninsula Children’s Centre and the Shaver Rehabilitation Centre often accept student volunteers. Be aware that there is great demand for volunteer positions and there may be wait lists. It is wise to contact the agencies for whom you are interested in volunteering early.

Volunteer work is not a required component of undergraduate degrees in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. However, observation and other types of related experience can be a helpful supplement to your classroom learning. In addition, most post-graduate programs require evidence of related work and/or volunteer experience.

Read about Faculty members’ research interests in the Departmental Research Profile. You may then wish to contact Professors whose work is of most interest to you and ask about volunteering in their labs or ask them to supervise a Research Practicum (LING 4P25), Honours Thesis (4F01) or Honours Tutorial (4P99).

There are many possibilities open to you. Possibilities include (but are in no way limited to): Graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (4 year Honours degree required); Post-baccaluareate programs for Communication Disorders Assistants; Autism and Behavioural Sciences; Instructor for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Teacher’s College.

Look at the website for the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA).

You may also check the website for:

  • The College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO)
  • The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • The Communication Disorders Assistants Association of Canada (CDAAC)
  • The Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OSLA)

You will need to complete a four year Honours degree, in most cases. Admissions to graduate school are on a competitive basis. It is wise to check the admission requirements of schools you are considering applying to early (1st and 2nd year of undergraduate study) to ensure you are taking the appropriate prerequisite courses. Check the schools’ websites directly and/or contact the DALS LingNet for information they are able to provide. Most schools also require a certain number of hours of volunteer experience. It is wise to begin gaining this experience early and to try to acquire experience in a variety of areas. You will be asked to submit academic letters of reference. Typically, during the fall of your fourth year of study you will wish to speak to professors who are familiar with your work to ask if they are willing/able to write you a strong letter of reference.

Speech and Language Sciences and Hearing Sciences Certificate

Students must have completed a BA or BSc degree in any discipline (other than communication sciences) with a minimum 75% average. An introductory course in Linguistics is required for all applicants. Coursework in developmental psychology, statistics and research methods are also highly recommended since these courses are typically required for entry into graduate programs for speech and language pathology and audiology. Please note, applicants who do not have an Introduction to Linguistics course will not be considered for the Certificate Program. Depending on the nature of their prior course-work students may be required to take extra credits. Extra credits may be taken in the same year with permission of the Dean of Humanities.

The SLHS Certificate typically takes 1 academic year (2 complete semesters).

This program provides students the opportunity to complete a selection of courses that are typically prerequisite courses for graduate study in Speech-Language Pathology. Admission to graduate schools is, however, offered only on a competitive basis. Students who complete the Certificate are not yet qualified to evaluate or treat individuals with speech, language or swallowing disorders, nor are they qualified in any capacity for work in the provision of clinical services unless supervised by a registered SLP.

Yes. It is possible to complete the SLHS Certificate part-time. Students considering this are strongly encouraged to consult with the Humanities Academic Advisor.

Requests for exemption will be considered. Students should contact the Department and be prepared to supply course outline(s) for the course(s) in question. Outlines should include methods of evaluation, lists of readings, weekly topics, and an indication of class time.