Russian Teacher Discovers Universal TESOL Skills


- Tatiana Boytsova

Term : October, 2016
Department : Education
Program : TESOL

When Tatiana Boytsova completed her degree in linguistics and philology in Russia, she ignited a passion for learning, language acquisition, and teaching. She explored her love for English while living in Australia, and by the time she moved to California she decided to study how to teach English to non-native speakers. UCSC Silicon Valley Extension’s TESOL program was the perfect fit. She is on track to complete the program in 2017.

What compelled you to pursue the TESOL certificate?

When I moved to California, I decided I wanted to use this time to improve my teaching skills. I am personally interested in linguistics and learning languages, and in Russia I had studied not only how to be a teacher of English, but also philology, linguistics, French as a second language, pedagogy, and translation. After five years of intense study in Russia, I am full of theories, but UCSC Extension’s program is different. This is my first experience getting a professional certificate; the courses focus on practical applications.

I discovered that Extension’s TESOL program is exactly connected with my major, and the certificate is recognizable all over the world. It makes sense for me to pursue the certificate because I could use it here in the United States, or in Russia, or anywhere in the world. Why not?

How has this program helped you as a teacher and a non-native speaker of English?

Though my English is not perfect, in this program I have to write essays and reflections and do a lot of reading. Since the courses teach us how to teach ESL students, I have discovered my own compassion and understanding for non-native speakers, because I’m living the same experience as what my instructors are teaching. In my “Culture and Cultural Diversity” class, we learned not only how to correct language mistakes, but how to be compassionate and understand different learning styles and abilities. As an ESL student myself, it’s fantastic to be taught how to work with fellow language learners.

What courses stood out to you?

What was interesting to me is how this program is organized: every course leads naturally into the next. If you have knowledge from one class, you can apply it directly to the next one. Because the courses are for professional use, everything is very practical. In my “First and Second Language Development” course, I learned that learning a second language is different than learning your native language, which is a concept that I can use if I teach here or in Russia. If you learn the process of learning a second language, you can use those ideas in practice as a teacher.

The TESOL program offers universal approaches for language learning; it gives you the big picture of how language acquisition works. I am absorbing all this knowledge for learning English and for teaching languages in general. As we learn in our courses, it is important to keep the environment for obtaining knowledge of language stress-free. Our instructors do create a stress-free place to learn. It is really cool.

How do you hope to apply these skills in the future?

I am really enjoying my classes; my experience has been fun and very beneficial. This knowledge is suitable for teaching Russian in Russia, for teaching English here or abroad. I know I am going to use these skills wherever I go.

Visit our website for more information on UCSC Extension’s TESOL program. For information on services and programs for international students, visit our International Programs pageBrowse upcoming TESOL courses.

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