Along with coursework, students in the TESOL Certificate Program take part in a practicum, gaining hands-on teaching experience. Students are assigned a class of ESL students at the Community Language Program (CLP), a language school for adults that is run through the Teachers College TESOL and Applied Linguistics program. The CLP provides English as a second language and foreign language instruction to adult learners of diverse nationalities and backgrounds. In addition, the CLP serves as an on-site language education lab in which TESOL and Applied Linguistics faculty and students teach the courses and use the CLP as a setting for research.
On select Fridays during the on-site portion of the TESOL Certificate Program, students work in teams of 3 or 4 to teach a class at the CLP. Prior to each teaching session, team members meet with each other and with their senior teaching mentor to create a lesson plan and appropriate materials. Mentors also observe each student in the classroom and provide individualized feedback and support.