TESOL? ESL? EFL? RPL? If you’re just starting to look into TESOL, you might be wondering what all these letters are.
First things first: RPL = Recognition of Prior Learning.
Easy done right? Well, it’s not quite that simple. In this article, we’ll talk specifically about RPL and how it can help you get on your way towards teaching English. We cover terms such as TESOL, ESL and EFL is in another blog post titled “What is TESOL?”.
RPL can also be known by other names, such as “credit”, “exemptions” or “advance standing”. It can help those who have taught English to speakers of second or foreign languages before get a qualification, which is obtained through recognition of the learning that they have done in previous employment, or the culmination of other relevant studies. In some cases, this means that you can get a TESOL qualification quicker and cheaper than if you were to complete the course from start to finish.
To sum it up in one sentence: RPL is a process which involves looking at existing skills or knowledge that you have demonstrated either in your previous (or current) work or study.
In the TESOL world, to get RPL you need to demonstrate your previous English as a second language (ESL) teaching experience, study, skills or knowledge by providing specific pieces of evidence. This evidence should show ‘how’ it meets the specific criteria listed in the TESOL course that you are applying for.
Many people apply for RPL not really knowing if they are eligible or not (and that’s ok!). However, RPL is not necessarily ‘easy’ and does not always apply to all. Even current school teachers may or may not receive RPL, as they have to meet criteria specifically around teaching ESL (not just teaching in general).
In some cases, you may have one piece of golden evidence which can be used to show many skills. It may meet the criteria in multiple units of competency. Generally, the more evidence for skills or whole units you can provide, the more likely you will receive RPL and an exemption for that skill or unit.
Evidence is the key to demonstrating that you already hold TESOL knowledge or have previously demonstrated TESOL skills in the workplace or in study. Your TESOL RPL evidence could include:
previous qualifications or training certificates
supervisor testimonials or references
colleague testimonials or references
employer records, contracts or teaching schedules
syllabus documents or course outlines you have prepared or used
lesson plans you have developed
resources to support your lesson plans
professional development courses
assessment tools used or implemented
Recognition of Current Competencies (RCC) is another acronym that you might run into when looking at RPL. It is slightly different to RPL. RCC assesses current knowledge and skills through practical demonstration. Current English teachers who may be looking to upgrade their qualifications, could already be demonstrating these skills in their own workplace. Again, specific evidence that matches against the TESOL course criteria is essential.
How does RPL help you? Getting RPL for a TESOL Course can help you with:
Obtaining a Australian recognised Qualification
Finding employment opportunities or getting a promotion