What is TESL? Looking at TESL Ontario and TESL Canada (Teaching English as a Second Language Training)

What is TESL? What is TESL Ontario and TESL Canada?

What is TESL and what is TESL Ontario and TESL Canada?

TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language.

TESL organizations like TESL Ontario and TESL Canada accredit schools to offer TESL instruction in teacher-training schools in Canada. Many programs are offered in-person and some are offered online (particularly during the pandemic). TESL Ontario works with schools and agencies in the province of Ontario and TESL Canada collaborates with organizations all across the country,

TESL courses are for new teachers with no teaching experience just starting their career and teachers with some experience who want to further develop their skills or expand into new teaching areas. Some teachers complement their TESL study with university courses in linguistics or adult education or even take a B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education degree) or Master’s degree in education.

People who want to take the TESL course need to have a high level of competence in English, and may need to take a test.

There are many opportunities around the world so TESL is also for teachers who want to travel and teach English abroad.

How does TESL Canada and TESL Ontario certification relate to finding work?

The following is adapted from our site. In short, if you want to teach English in Canada and abroad you need to take a TESL/TEFL or similar course. There are two main paths: TESL Canada and TESL Ontario (the TESL Ontario program includes the TESL Canada component).

TESL Canada is required for teaching in reputable private language schools in Canada
and is helpful for teaching abroad and teaching in community-based non-settlement programs

Meanwhile, TESL Ontario is required for teaching in settlement-based programs in Ontario, such as LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada), and teaching in some college and university ESL programs. It’s helpful for getting your foot in the door at the private school, college and university programs that do not require it (again, getting your resume to the top of the pile!).

Variations of TESL such as TEFL, TESOL, CELTA/Cambridge, etc.

TEFL, TESL, and TESOL certifications are still accepted by schools around the world seeking to hire international teachers in 2022.

Teachers around the world, in places such as the UK, Australia and the United States, study teaching English in programs like TESL. Internationally it is often branded under different names. These programs include TESL (in countries like Canada), CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), which is administered by University of Cambridge Assessment English Examinations  and offered through many institutions worldwide, and you may come across competing programs called TEFL or TESOL.

In Canada the TESL program has become the standard. TESL program students become teachers to immigrants to countries such as the USA, UK, Australia and Canada. TESL is widely respected in Canada and overseas.

Let’s look at the other names of similar programs. There is TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and TESOL, which stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Note that, somewhat confusingly there is a difference between TESOL the organization and TESOL the acronym. TESOL the organization does not accredit courses that call themselves “TESOL.”

A lot of programs in Canada call themselves TESOL. We must mention that TESOL and TEFL are not standardized terms — there’s no accreditation body involved. A TEFL certification provides the skills to teach English abroad in countries where students do not speak English as their first language, such as China, Korea or Japan. TEFL certification is the most widely used variation in the world. Note that the TEFL certificate should offer at least 120 hours of TEFL training which is considered a minimum for this kind of program.

About CCLCS’ TESL Program (Parts 1 and 2)

I completed my TESL certification in 2021-2022 when I undertook two semesters in the full-time TESL program at CCLCS. Part one was known as “TESL Canada” and Part two was called “TESL Ontario.” They were similar in length but the subject matter varied – and more importantly, they qualified me to teach in different ESL environments.

The first part aka TESL Canada qualified me to teach anywhere but primarily in overseas situations, as the second part, TESL Ontario, was required specifically to teach in LINC programs in Ontario (my primary goal with this teacher training).

And I must say “wow twenty years already?” Yes, I’ve been at it for two decades! In recent years I’ve also taught design-media but teaching English has been a pleasure and my original passion.

Teaching English is a worthy career and launching that career with studies at a school like CCLCS is a smart idea.

How long are the TESL courses and what can you expect to study?

TESL courses like the ones offered at CCLCS include between 135-316 hours of study. This can be done full-time or part-time. View the start dates on our site.

You will:

  • learn practical teaching skills and the supporting educational theories
  • get real-life hands-on teaching experience with learners (practicum)
  • receive feedback and advice on your teaching from a supervising teacher
  • be assessed on assignments and your teaching practicum

Information about CCLCS TESL diploma

CCLCS offers TESL courses throughout the year at our location in downtown Toronto. Learn more about the program via our site:

More Links and Resources

TESL Ontario

TESL Canada



Testimonials about the CCLCS TESL Program

Many of our former students have offered us feedback, Read their testimonials.

Sample comments about our program:

The TESL Ontario training program at CCLCS was a wonderful experience. The curriculum was well rounded and there was a wide range of teachers who all brought their own personal teaching styles and diverse experiences into the classroom.

From grammar with Bob to linguistics with Danielle to pronunciation with Art; the teachers all brought forth relevant information that could be applied to teaching in the ESL field.

The highlight was certainly the practicum experience. I was set up with an experienced and supportive teacher who helped me significantly. I certainly saw myself improve and feel more confident with each lesson!

CCLCS is a reputable institution for ESL teaching and training. They make efforts to provide meaningful and relevant material that is applicable to English language learners. I feel confident in choosing CCLCS and feel happy and proud I finally have my TESL certification.

About the author

Mike Simpson is an English ESL and Design-Media teacher from Toronto. He took the TESL diploma at CCLCS from 2001-2002. Mike teaches English with CCLCS LINC programs and also manages the website and blog.