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Overview of Teaching English as a Second Language to Adult Learners

Course Code: TESL 4201
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 8 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: Summer, Winter
course overview

This is one of a group of six courses that together lead to a Douglas College Certificate in Teaching and Tutoring English as a Second Language to Adult ESL Learners. This overview course introduces prospective teachers and tutors to the basic principles of adult learning and their application to the acquisition of a second language. Students learn a variety of ESL learning contexts and the implications of context for teaching and tutoring. In addition, this course provides an overview of curriculum design, lesson planning and learning assessment. Other themes running through the course are intercultural communication and language as a component of culture.

Course Content

  1. basic principles of adult learning
  2. key findings from research about second language acquisition for adult learners
  3. contexts of adult ESL learning
  4. ESL curriculum and lesson planning for adult learners
  5. ESL assessment strategies
  6. intercultural communication
  7. language as a component of culture

Methods of Instruction


  1. Lecture/demonstration
  2. Small group/pair discussion
  3. Group discussion
  4. Reading and writing assignments
  5. Individual/small group presentations

Means of Assessment

Courses are graded on the standard graded system that applies in evaluating course work for credit courses.  Students are assigned grades according to their level of achievement on a variety of assessments which may include exercises, assignments, presentations, teaching simulations, tests and the portfolio.  A participation grade may be included as part of the grade.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. apply major principles of adult education to teaching ESL students
  2. apply major findings of  second language research to teaching adult learners
  3. analyze a variety of contexts in which ESL is taught and the implications of each of these for teaching and tutoring
  4. follow an ESL curriculum and lesson
  5. apply basic assessment strategies to ESL learning
  6. analyze intercultural ‘challenge’ scenarios and create responses
  7. create intercultural activities to enhance learning  

course prerequisites

Admission to TESL Program


TESL 4202

TESL 4205

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.