I recently had the pleasure of delving into TESL Ontario’s past by reading through decades of annual reports, Contact magazines, conference reports and other historical documents. It was fascinating to discover this organization’s rich and remarkable history, and to uncover TESL Ontario’s role in the development of the TESL profession over the past 50 years.
In a recent interview with some of TESL Ontario’s most influential members, (a project we are developing for our 50th anniversary celebrations at the conference), Shailja Verma stated “TESL Ontario has taken us from church basements to recognized institutions and buildings.”
Allison Keown is the Executive Director of TESL Ontario
TESL Ontario introduced certification for Ontario English language educators in March 2000. The introduction of this provincial certification helped advance the TESL profession and the TESL Ontario certification swiftly became the sector standard for the hiring of English language educators in Ontario.
2004 – Expanding Access to Language Instructor Certification through PLAR
At a time when language teaching was gaining traction as a valued profession worldwide, internationally trained individuals (ITIs) with significant experience were struggling to obtain certification in Ontario, because their education did not meet the certification standards that had been established. As a result, these qualified professionals were often having to repeat education that they already possessed, in order to become employable in Ontario.
In this pandemic reality, a virtual world like no other has been born. Pre-pandemic, our members enjoyed a combination of online and in-person events that fulfilled both professional development needs, as well as authentic peer connections. Since 2014, TESL Ontario had been focusing its efforts on providing accessible online professional development to our members. Our successful webinar series has always allowed members to gain new skills and expand their knowledge from the comfort of their own homes. However, at that time they had other options available to them, if they were looking for something more. If they were seeking tangible connections, organic conversations with other ESL practitioners, or a basic sense of community, they often turned to in-person events, such as our annual conference, or local affiliate chapter conferences and other professional development events.