TEFL Certificate Program | Kent State University

TEFL Certificate Program

Former Kent State Director Teaches Study Abroad Students in Germany

Kent State has an array of different study abroad options for students; however one of the lesser known programs is the TEFL Certificate program This program is designed to immerse students in another culture, while instructing them how to successfully teach English as a foreign language. Students of any major who want to earn their TEFL Certificate have the opportunity to take Kent State classes on the Dresden University of Technology campus. The program is the result of the pioneering work of Dr. Klaus Gommlich, the former director of the ESL program at Kent State University and the current professor for the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) program in Dresden, Germany. 

Klaus Gommlich and KSU students at Baltic Sea
Dr. Klaus Gommlich (right) is joined by three KSU students from the TEFL program for a recent side trip to the Baltic Sea. Left to right: John Mummey, Chelsea Ostiguy and Stephen Ovak.

The TEFL program offers students two options. The first is a course in which students take 12 credit hours in Kent, and then go to Dresden for four weeks in the summer to finish their accelerated practicum requirements. The second is a full-semester option in the spring in which students take all 18 credit hours (coursework and practicum) in Dresden.  While there, students are admitted to the Dresden University of Technology, which gives them the opportunity to go to public schools in the area to help teach for their practicum hours. Although the program is one of the more economic study abroad options, students must pay housing and transportation costs, in addition to KSU tuition.

This program started in 2003, but the idea came about after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  According to Dr. Gommlich, “I said from now on everything will be different, including our profession.  We had the ESL Center at the time but the US State Department had extreme restrictions on students coming into the country to learn English.  I thought, since they can’t come here, we’ll go to them.”  After establishing a more prevalent partnership with Technical University of Dresden, Gommlich built and grew a network for future students. 

“Through learning another language and being in another culture, you learn a lot about yourself and how you are and what you think.  You become a more flexible person in the way you think and act. It’s not the same as reading about it. Living abroad means getting involved with the people and learning the culture. They really get a chance to discover themselves,” said Gommlich.

According to Gommlich, students should take full advantage of this unique opportunity. "Germany is surrounded by countries with other cultures so they put more of an emphasis on learning other languages and studying abroad. In the United States, they teach foreign language as just another subject, rather than knowing it’s a necessity."