It's no wonder there is so much confusion out there among those wishing to teach English as a Second Language in Ontario and other provinces. The plethora of program names and the associated abbreviated forms all sound similar. What's the difference between TESL and TESOL? TESL Canada and TESL Ontario?
Diane Hipkin, Accreditation Coordinator at TESL Ontario had this to say when we asked her to address this confusion:
TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is an acronym created to encompass the notion of teaching English as a world language for international communication and for a more multilingual global reality. A TESOL training program is essentially the same as a TESL or TEFL program. When considering a training program that will lead to TESL Ontario Accreditation, interested instructors should refer to the list of accredited programs on our website. All of these programs, regardless of their name, provide a minimum of 300 hours of training (including practicum) that meets the standards set by TESL Ontario. You'll notice that the programs listed have a variety of names: TESL Diploma, TESL/TEFL Certificate, M.A., TESOL Program etc. Programs that are divided into two parts (stream 1 and stream 2 or certificate and diploma) should be successfully completed in full if TESL Ontario accreditation is the goal. Also, please note that the other requirements of TESL Ontario accreditation are a university degree and proof of English Language Proficiency, as outlined on our website at http://www.teslontario.net/accreditation
A TESL Ontario accreditation is what you need in order to teach in one of the LINC programs funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada; it is also needed to teach in a provincially funded program that is run by a district school board.
If, on the other hand, you do not have your heart set on teaching in a government-funded program in Ontario and would simply like to improve your chances of landing an ESL teaching job abroad or in one of the many private ESL schools that seem to be on almost every corner in metropolises such as Toronto, then perhaps the TESL Canada diploma is what you're after.
To see an easy-to-read comparison of requirements for each of these two types of programs and the kind of job for which each track qualifies the graduate, take a look at this table provided by the Canadian Centre for Language and Cultural Studies in Toronto (one of the programs approved by TESL Ontario).
We hope this helps you make an informed decision before choosing a TESL program.