Oxford and/or Online TESL for US citizen?

Discussion about courses, qualifications etc

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Oxford and/or Online TESL for US citizen?

Unread postby russch » 04 Feb 2009, 00:47


My wife and I managed to kick off our mid-life crises at the same time while visiting Southeast Asia last year. We’re both professionals who have been infected with an odd strain of “I’m not doing anything worthwhile with my life”. We’re frankly not sure we have the intestinal fortitude to cut the cord, simplify, and head to Asia (Cambodia, most likely) do try and help some people, but we want to at least prepare.

My current job skills may not be applicable (high-end tech stuff which won’t be in high demand based on the research I’ve done) in a developing country, so I’m thinking about going back to my roots and TESL came to mind.

In order to make some progress towards my goal, I feel I should at least attempt a TESL, but my working schedule precludes me from taking a month-long certification such as CELTA or Trinity (which aren’t taught nearby anyway).

That leaves me with two options - either an online certification or signing up for the only course offered in my city – by a company called Oxford Seminars (playing on Cambridge and Trinity, I guess…)

Can anyone offer me any guidance on whether this certification is worth the paper it’s printed on (60 hour, instructor-led)? From what I’ve read, online certs are worth even less than a certification that includes less than 100 hours, but since I’m a relative neophyte to this world, I don’t really know the ins and outs of things.

Any advice, pointers, etc. would be appreciated!

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Re: Oxford and/or Online TESL for US citizen?

Unread postby ICAL_Pete » 04 Feb 2009, 15:48

CELTA and Trinity are undoubtedly popular qualifications especially in Europe, but have far less clout in other parts of the world like Asia, for example. It really depends on where you want to teach and at what level.

Quality online TESL/TEFL Certificates are also widely accepted.

Online courses offer a great training opportunity at entry level. They can provide not only the credential you need but also the right tools to approach a new profession within a manageable amount of time and finances.

You can find online courses worth 40, 60, 80, 100 hrs. The ICAL TESL/TEFL Certificate for example is worth 100hrs. This is not equivalent to the number of hours one takes to complete a course but it is the ELT industry standard used to rate the content value of a course.

The general perception is that the less hours a course is worth the less is the value of the certificate. It’s got to be said though that employers rarely specify how many hours a TESL/TEFL Certificate should be worth. What matters to them is that you are certified by a reliable course provider.

Personally I would recommend that more than the number of hours attached to a certificate you look at the course content and the tutors’ credentials. Make sure the course requires some actual work on your part and it is not based on “Yes or No” answers or “Read This Unit and Summarize It” type of coursework. Check the reputation of the course provider.

One thing I'd say is that if you are looking at online training then you don’t need to limit yourself to what is available in your city. Check what other course providers have to offer.

As for teaching in Cambodia you might find useful this ICALwikifact file on Cambodia.

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Re: Oxford and/or Online TESL for US citizen?

Unread postby russch » 05 Feb 2009, 23:25

Thank you both!

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