ESL Teacher Training- Trinity’s TESOL

ESL Teacher Training: Trinity’s TESOL

There are a lot of programmes out there that helps aspiring people become ESL certified teachers. The CELTA, a Cambridge-provided ESL certification, and Trinity College’s TESOL are the most well known of these certification programmes.

In this article, we will look at Trinity’s TESOL, what it is, what you study in the programme and, some tips for passing. How it compares to the CELTA will also be briefly examined.

What is Trinity College’s TESOL?

The Trinity Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CertTESOL), according to their website, is ‘level 5 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)’ in the UK, and it is similar to the difficulty of courses you would find in your second year of an undergrad degree.

This certificate is suitable for people with no or little experience in teaching ESL, and it gives candidates the basic knowledge and skills that are needed to acquire their first ESL teaching job. Further to this, the CertTESOL introduces candidates to the theory and practice of English teaching, an awareness of the challenges that ESL students face, together with the teacher’s role in the classroom.

The course requires a minimum number of hours; 90 hours of input over a 130-hour programme. There is also a minimum amount of teaching practice that needs to be completed with learners of English as well as numerous written and practical assignments that need to be completed to a certain standard.

British Council accepts Trinity’s CertTESOL as an initial teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification in its teaching organisations that are accredited.

What You Study

The main content of the course is covered and assessed in 5 units. The work for these 5 units is marked by the internal course tutors and moderated by a Trinity moderators panel member at the end of the course. The work of unit 4 is also externally assessed by the moderator.

The units are as follows:

Unit 1: Teaching Skills

Successful candidates receive training in a variety of approaches to teaching and teaching methods, class management, and motivation. The unit also calls for keeping a Guided Observation Journal, in which 4 to 6 hours of teaching practice is observed. Trainees teach English as a Second Language for 6 hours across 2 English levels and compile a Teaching Practice Portfolio, which is a collection of all materials from teaching practices, self-reflections, tasks related to peer observation, and a final summary.

Unit 2: Language Awareness

This Unit makes use of an extensive pre-course task (Starter Pack). Trainees receive instruction of the meaning, form and function of the English language, including its grammar and phonology. Activities and techniques that can be used in the classroom are also discussed, together with the end-of-course (grammar) exam.

Unit 3: Learner Profile

Trainees are assessed on strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and needs of an individual learner, including the student’s first language interference. The unit also calls for the design of a 5-hour programme that is based on the learner profile analysis. Trainees need to have a one-on-one lesson with the student; this is unobserved.

Unit 4: Materials Assignment

This unit needs a written rationale and evaluation of materials that are created by the trainees and which can be used in teaching practice. The Trinity moderator also conducts an assessed interview about the use of these materials.

Unit 5: Unknown Language Journal

In this unit, trainees keep a journal that covers their reflective comments on 4 group lessons on an unknown language from the beginner student’s point of view. Trainees need to provide an analysis of the main elements of classroom management that can affect the student both negatively and positively.

Want a more detailed breakdown? A Breakdown of the Trinity TESOL Course

Tips to Pass the Trinity CertTESOL

In general, 99% of all trainees pass the Trinity CertTESOL, and about 92% receive a pass A or pass B. Nevertheless, you don’t want your hard work or tuition money to go to waste, so here are some tips to pass the Trinity CertTESOL:

  1. Doing well on the written assignments is a good way to increase your overall grades, especially if you are not (so) doing well in teaching practice.
  2. For the written assignments, stick to the word count, write clearly, do not use informal language, and offer reasons for all observations that you make.
  3. Use all the help that you can get, from both fellow trainees and the tutors.
  4. Don’t underestimate the importance of the Starter Pack; go through it before you start the course.
  5. Use your fellow trainees; let them listen to your lesson before you actually teach it and get constructive criticism. Offer to do the same for them.
  6. Good time management is key and don’t leave stuff for the last minute.

Comparisons between the Trinity CertTESOL and the CELTA

  Trinity CertTESOL Cambridge CELTA
Name Trinity Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
QCF Level (UK) Level 5 Level 5
Internationally recognised? Yes Yes
Accredited by? Trinity College London Cambridge Ensligh Language Assessment
How long is the course? 4 weeks full time

12 weeks part time

4 weeks

A few months to a year part time

How many contract hours? 130 hours 120 hours
How many observed hours will I teach? 6 6
Assessment done by Observed teaching, written assignments & a grammar exam Observed teaching & written assignments
Entry requirements At least 18 years old

Have a university degree

At least 20 years old

Have a university degree

Fee ± US$ 2000 ± US$ 2000


How does the Trinity TESOL compare to other TEFL qualifications? A Quick Guide to the Different Teacher Training Options


As you can see, the CertTESOL and CELTA are very similar, but with Trinity College’s course, you get to develop your own teaching materials and also focus more intensely on a learner profile, with one-on-one private lesson practice. Nevertheless, whether you choose the Trinity CertTESOL, the CELTA, or some other TEFL course, it is always best to do one that is accredited as it will go a long way in helping you land your first ESL job.

About the Author

Denine Walters is currently a freelance writer, editor/proofreader and ESL teacher. Previously, she taught online English lessons to students from all around the world and, before that, she lived and taught English to young learners in Taiwan. In her free time, she likes to read, do scrapbooking and grammar quizzes, and travel.

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