York TESOL students go abroad to teach students at Meiji University in Japan

Students enrolled in York University’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate program spent a week as assistant teachers in Meiji University’s intensive English language program, March 6 to 13.

Above: York TESOL certificate program students pose with students from Meiji University. Zeynep Atay is third from the left. Jessica Giunta is fourth from the right.

Antonella Valeo, co-ordinator TESOL certificate program and a professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), accompanied TESOL students Jessica Giunta and Zeynep Atay on their one-week intensive program. The opportunity to participate in the program is the result of a partnership between Meiji University and York University, and it offers TESOL students at York an opportunity to experience teaching the English language to undergraduate students in Japan.

The program is held outside of Tokyo, in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture, and is open to undergraduate students of Meiji University. During their time in Japan, Giunta and Atay observed and participated in language classes taught by Meiji University faculty, and taught content-based classes in Canadian Studies. In the evening they held a Canadian Conversation Lounge, an all English-language speaking period where Meiji students could participate in activities that encouraged them to practise their speaking and listening skills in a fun environment.

Giunta and Atay described the Meiji Practicum program as a unique learning experience for York students. “This practicum provides an incredible and unique opportunity for TESOL students to experience teaching abroad, learning how to adjust our teaching strategies for an international audience and utilize this experience as future TESOL educators abroad or in Canada,” said Giunta.

“There are so many highlights in this special practicum,” added Atay. “The most important one was having a chance to observe experienced instructors effectively use various teaching techniques which could also be applied in both second and foreign language teaching contexts.”

Giunta and Atay, now graduates of the TESOL program, have recommended the international practicum opportunity to future TESOL students considering a career teaching abroad.

The TESOL certificate program at York University is a teacher education program that prepares teacher candidates to teach English language to adults. A key component of this program is a 50-hour teaching practicum that students need to complete. The practicum allows them to observe and apply what they have learned in a range of English language teaching contexts. The Meiji Practicum provides students an invaluable learning opportunity to experience teaching on an international stage.

York’s TESOL students received funding support through York International Mobility Award (YIMA) and LA&PS.