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Friday, October 3, 2014

The Experiential Learning Cycle and the SIT TESOL Certificate Course

The Experiential Learning Cycle and the SIT TESOL Certificate Course


John Kongsvik TESOL Trainers K-12 Professional Development
Language Learning Experience

So, in the last post, we looked at the fundamental components of the SIT TESOL Certificate Course.  Before we look at a specific example of how participants interact with the content of the course, let's step back and explore the Experiential Learning Cycle (ELC).


The ELC, proposed by David Kolb, captures the process that we all pass through as we engage in learning.  His model outlines the steps we take as we create learning.  Kolb proposes the process can be broken down into four stages.

TESOL Trainers:  Excellence in teaching and learning

The Experiential Learning Cycle

The Experiential Learning Cycle and teacher preparation
The four stages of the ELC represent the natural learning process that we all pass through.  While we can enter at any stage, successful learning experience incorporate components of each segment.  


In brief, the Experiential Learning Cycle has four elements:  There is the experience itself {CE}, a reflection on the experience {RO}, a learning from the experience {AC}, and a course of action based on the experience {AE}.

Each stage of the ELC informs and affects the other stages.

Consciously moving through each stage of the ELC helps us increase our own awareness as to what helps and hinders student learning, how that informs us of the fundamental principles of teaching and learning, and what we can do to become more effective teachers.

The SIT TESOL Certificate uses this model as the driving force in helping participants with informing and transforming their own understanding of language teaching and learning.  This focus is paramount to helping participants develop their teaching skills for a career teaching English overseas.

Take a look at how the Experiential Learning Cycle presents itself in the pronunciation segment of the TESOL Certificate Course.  Can you guess which color represents which stage of the ELC?  {answers below}  
  1. Participants have a real experience with pronunciation as language learners.
  2. Participants discuss the experience and what helped or hindered their learning
  3. Participants share how it informs them of the learning and teaching of pronunciation.
  4. Participants explore a variety of strategies and techniques for both planning and teaching pronunciation in the TESOL classroom as language teachers.
  5. Participants summarize their learnings from the experiences they've had.
  6. Participants actively plan a lesson that has a pronunciation focus using their understanding of this topic and with the strategies presented in the workshop.
  7. Participants teach that lesson in a real language classroom.
  8. Participants reflect on that experience in terms of what supported learning and how to support learning even more.
  9. Participants summarize a key learning the experience has taught them.
  10. Participants decide on an action point that will help guide them through the next trip around the ELC.
John Kongsvik TESOL Trainers K-12 Professional Development

{A participant teaching a lesson on family}
  • Concrete Experience - 
  • Reflective Observation -
  • Abstract Conceptualization -
  • Active Experimentation - 
There are a ton of benefits for following this process.  Participants develop confidence and competence as they consciously approach how to plan and teach a lesson that sets all students up for success.    Long after the SIT TESOL Certificate course has finished, these reflective teaching practices give you the tools you need to rejuvenate your approach to teaching non native English speakers.

Through the Experiential Learning Cycle, participants grow in both their understanding and ability to put that understanding into action in planning, teaching, and reflecting on a lesson.

To read our second posting on the ELC, check out Promoting Positive Teaching Practices.

TESOL Trainers provides students and teachers a scaffold to success!  


TESOL Trainers offers a wide variety of professional development and teacher training for K-23 educational institutions that serve non-native English speakers.  We offer short term and long term professional development solutions.  We offer traditional, online, and hybrid programs that can earn you graduate credit.

John Kongsvik, director of TESOL Trainers, has been offering the SIT TESOL Certificate course in Santa Fe, NM for 13 years.  There are currently over 500 graduates teaching their way around the world ©

If you'd like to know how TESOL Trainers can help you achieve excellence in teaching and in learning, contact us to lear more.


Informative Posts:

Everything Teaching TESOL:  Best Practices in teaching the English language

               How do I structure a Multi-level lesson?
               Actively engaging students in the classroom
               Checking for student comprehension

Jobs in the TESOL field:  How to find a job teaching English to non-native speakers

               The Global Need for English Language Teachers

Getting TESOL Certified:  How to earn a reputable TESOL certificate

               Do I really need to get a TESOL Certificate?




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