Teaching ESOL Literacy Learners (TELLs) course

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Welcome to the TELLs course! We’re delighted to have you join us and hope you’ll find it enjoyable and enlightening.


You can now begin your learning journey by watching the introductory video.

Who is the course designed for?

The TELLs course is aimed at all those teaching, working with, or supporting ESOL learners who have no or very limited literacy skills (in any language).  It’s ideal for those who have taken an initial TEFL/TESOL training course which, although it may have covered many aspects of teaching and learning English, did not include a focus on the acquisition and development of initial literacy. You’ll gain confidence, knowledge and the skills you need to help you teach this specialised area.

Aims of the course

  • develop awareness of some of the key issues, challenges and opportunities in teaching ESOL literacy learners
  • develop understanding of literacy acquisition and learner diversity
  • analyse the development of reading and writing practices in a changing world
  • develop knowledge of language / literacy teaching and learning approaches
  • develop understanding of multiliteracies, including digital literacies
  • raise awareness of appropriate methodologies, approaches and resources
  • gain understanding of approaches to assessment and planning for ESOL literacy learners


  • Are there live sessions? No. You can study whenever you wish during the 6-week period you enrol for. You don’t need to be online at any specific times. In addition, we offer optional webinars which provide an opportunity for discussion and feedback.
  • Do I have to be teaching TELLs learners now? No, but you’ll probably find it helpful to try out techniques and activities you’re learning on the course.
  • How experienced are the course tutors? Judy Kirsh and John Sutter each have in excess of 30 years’ experience teaching ESOL and ESOL literacy learners, and a huge amount of teacher-training and course development experience. They have both developed and delivered teacher-training and professional development courses and modules nationally and internationally for more than 20 years, particularly in the area of ESOL literacy.
  • Do I need to read other books or materials?  We provide all the resources that you need, including the course e-reader. However, we encourage you to do some further research and follow your interests by following the links included in each section.
  • Will I get a course certificate?  You’ll receive a TELLs course completion certificate once you have completed all the units, topics and quizzes.

To view and explore the content of the entire course, click Expand All below to reveal all the sections, units, topics and quizzes. 

Begin your learning journey by clicking Course Introduction below.