Tefl course

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Tefl course

Unread postby fiobella » 20 Mar 2009, 14:34

Hello all, I would like to know which is the best way to train. I have looked into many different courses and training bodies and have decided that the best one is on-line, then one week at a school, assisting another Tefl teacher. It is accredited by ONCW.

Also from more experienced tefl teachers, I am 43 years old and completing Art&Design degree in June 2010, in other words, a mid life career changer and tefl teaching and travel is beckoning! Is there any agism abroad, as I used to associate Tefl teching abroad with student gappers. With the recent research I've done this does nt seem to be the case, but there have been several countries which don't accept over 40 year olds? Am I likely to have ageism problems???
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby fiobella » 20 Mar 2009, 18:46

Hi There

Are you serious? Or are you being sarcastic? I will start a campaign against Tefl ageism if thats the case!!!!

Pleeease tell me you are being sarKy!!!

I can assure anyone I am not embarrassing to look at!! And I have far more life experiences than students fresh out of uni .... and beleive me when they hit their 40's they'll be agreeing with me too!!

If this is the truth then what a shame, are nt the kids abroad missing out on more knowledgeable olderies!!! :( ;) :D :!: :?:
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby systematic » 22 Mar 2009, 00:06

It is perfectly normal to find older, mature teachers working abroad. The better schools prefer to hire mature teachers rather than beer-swilling, binge drinking youths on a gap year with little more interest than sleeping off their hangovers in the classroom.

In Thailand the vast majority of the TEFFL teachers are over 40. Many are 50+, and there are some sprightly 70-year-olds doing a great job.
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby fiobella » 26 Mar 2009, 16:26

Hi there

Pheeeww!... thats good to hear....(by that I don't mean the sexpats!) I've been delving into this a little through many other websites and teflers experience and the results seem a little less gloomy than ghormulla seems to portray.... so i'm a bit more happier now!!!! :) :) :D :P :P :lol: :!: :!:

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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby systematic » 26 Mar 2009, 16:42

Whilst there may be some truth in younger teachers having a better chance in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan (Alex can give more info on this), certainly in Thailand many of us 'geriatrics' are in our 60s. Quite a few join us when they retire to Thailand at 65 or more.

Generally, the older you are in Thailand, the more respect you command from children and teenagers. Those who come unstuck are often the younger ones who have failed to comprehend the rather special teacher status in Thai culture and try to be too 'cool' with the kids. This does not mean however, that one has to maintain an old-fashioned approach to teaching.
Last edited by systematic on 31 Mar 2009, 12:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby KevinUK » 28 Mar 2009, 16:37

Hello,

Like many other people here, I'm also deciding which TESOL course to take. I can not take a four week CELTA course as I work full time and can't get that amount of time off so my next best option is a 100+ weekend/online course with additional teaching practise if possible. I've looked at many online sites and noted that most of the courses are structured in the same way. The next step was to start looking at the acredditors and noticed the main ones are;

College of Teachers
ACTDEC (Accreditation Council for Tesol Distance Education Courses)
ODLQC (Open & Distance Learning Quality Council)
IATQuO (International Accreditation of TESOL Qualifying Organisations)
IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language)

There are plenty of useful information regarding courses and getting started in these forums but I was wondering if anybody has any opinions about these accreditors. The ACTDEC is the one I'm leaning towards at the moment. I have experience of talking in front of groups of people and started to revise my grammer which I believe will help towards gaining confidence. I don't want to part with my hard earned cash until I'm sure about the course I enroll with.

One last thing. Surely, a lot of schools in todays society know and understand these online courses and certificates and value them as important qqualifications.

Many thanks
Kevin
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby systematic » 28 Mar 2009, 19:02

Hi Kevin, and welcome to the board.

Accreditation is a very hot subject. There are several other topics on this board which you may have missed concerning the serious issue of accreditation.(see the links below).
With the exception of the College of Teachers, the others you list may require some further investigation. Also by searching their names in Google and visiting not only their websites, but also the comments on other forums about them that you will find listed, will give you some important background.

The main things to decide are (especially with the ones you listed):

- Has it been set up by a TESOL course provider to accredit itself?
- Is is an organisation where any TESOL teacher, school, or course provider can can join for a fee and be listed?
- Do you think it is an organisation set up for the sole purpose of making money from charging high accreditation fees?
- Does the quality of its web site, or the low number of its accredited organisations lead you to believe that it is a 'one-man' operation, or even a scam?


Do remember that there is no official international accrediting body. The only accrediting organisations that you can rely on are those that are government agencies, or quangos (agencies acting officially on behalf of a government). Note also that a government or its agencies generally only accredits courses that are offered by schools, universities, and organisations, that have registered offices in that country.
KevinUK wrote:One last thing. Surely, a lot of schools in todays society know and understand these online courses and certificates and value them as important qualifications.


There is mixed sentiment on this. There are literally hundreds of on-line courses on offer these days, and as you stated, some of them are quite obvious scams. The schools that employ teachers cannot possibly maintain an overview of all the different certificates they get to see, and most schools in developing countries wouldn't know how to evaluate their worth. There a re still many that don't know the difference between an on-line and a face-to-face course; they just look for the words TESOL, Certificate, and an official looking stamp. A few schools with more professional administration that are really mean (like ours :) ), have built up a computer database over the last few years of as many TESOL course providers as possible with scans of their genuine certificates.
The bottom line is, that when a choice is available, most recruiters would probably hire the candidate who has done a face-to-face course with practical teaching experience.
This is not to say that there are not any very good on-line courses out there as the links below will show.
Here is a selection of recent posts on this forum about on-line courses and accreditation:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2560
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2540
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1890
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2500
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2423
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2051
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2513
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2249
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2098
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2201
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1891

Here's a link to a dedicated external forum on the subject of accreditation.

And this article by ICAL Pete gets straight to the quick.
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby Alex Case » 29 Mar 2009, 00:06

As far as I am aware, IATEFL does not accredit or moderate TEFL courses. The school and trainers can certainly be members of IATEFL,but so could you the minute you get off your TEFL course. Prominently displaying IATEFL and British Council logos is a typical trick of unaccredited schools trying to look respectable (although of course decent schools will also have their actual English lessons accredited by the BC and be members of IATEFL too)
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby systematic » 29 Mar 2009, 04:10

That is correct Alex.
I was a member of IATEFL for a short while many years ago until I realised that their newsletters and other offerings didn't provide me with anything I didn't know already. It's a bit like an individual membership of a trade federation or guild - and no proof of professional qualifications is required for membership.

ODLQC (Open & Distance Learning Quality Council) is (or was) a British quango. Unfortunately the Brits have a habit of renaming / changing their quangos with alarming alacrity and it's hard to keep up with it all. Its accreditation can, however, be regarded as reliable.

IATQuO (International Accreditation of TESOL Qualifying Organisations) is a one-man operation originally set up by a TEFL institute to accredit itself. The institute has since disassociated itself from him. IATQuO continues to 'accredit' two or three institutes that are independent franchisees of that institute, and a TEFL institute in France which it is rumoured to own.

ACTDEC (Accreditation Council for Tesol Distance Education Courses), the OP can research this one and draw his own conclusions based on the criteria I provided. It is an independent organisation governed by a board of TEFL professors but is, itself, not recognised by any governments as far as I know.

The College of Teachers
has several layers of membership, the simplest of which is similar to an individual membership of IATEFL, and as easy to obtain. The CoT is avery old organisation and was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria. Its current patron is a member iof the Royal Family. Schools and TEFL institutes are known to opt
for simple levels of membership, and display its crest on their websites and stationery with impunity. CoT will however take up on reports of any misuse or deliberate ambiguity.

Other 'Accreditors' worth examining closely are CIACQ, The British Learning Institute, ad the T.E.F.L Board - Certificate Teaching Qualification.
One good way of examining the authenticity of accrediting organisations, is to do a 'who is' and see who owns or registered their websites.

Accreditors and TEFL institutes that claim affiliation with Universities registered in tax havens, Africa, the Middle East, and developing countries, are also worth examining more closely, especially if they a re offering an on-line MA TESOL or other degree.

One TEFL course provider that claims to be the largest in the world, accredited, and glibly claims, or claimed, to operate to British Council accreditation standards, is in fact not accredited to my knowledge by anyone except it own 'board' of advisers. It remains unclear why such a large organisation cannot, or will not seek official recognition. This may be due to the fact that many of its 'branches' are in fact stand-alone franchisees in their respective countries. Some articles by Alex Case in TEFLtastic may lead one to suspect this organisation of possible duplicity, and its many different trading names and websites occasionally provide conflicting information. Anyway, it's clouded in mystery.
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby systematic » 29 Mar 2009, 09:13

BTW: IATEFL clearly states on its website:

"IATEFL does not act as an accreditation body for organisations offering language or teacher training courses, or teacher development services of any kind. The appearance of the IATEFL name, acronym or logo on any organisation's web site (including IATEFL affiliates and partner associations) - either with or without our permission - does not imply the endorsement of that organisation's work, products or services."

Which leaves me wondering where the OP got his information.
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby ICAL_Pete » 12 Sep 2009, 09:26

We, as an online TEFL course provider, are incredibly frustrated by the current situation.

A number of our competitors claim accreditation in one form or another. It looks good and attracts students. So over the years, ICAL have looked in great depth into all the organisations on this page to see if they are worth joining.

Without exception, the answer has been a resounding NO!

As mentioned above, ACTDEC and IATQUO were set up by schools to accredit their own courses. Both have less than 10 members each (several of whom are related) and obviously we are unwilling to join them.

CoT membership has been abused by some TEFL providers and we would like to see far more stringent control. It is also for UK providers only so for an international organisation like ours it's not suitable.

The ODLQC appears to be fairly independent but there are problems. Firstly it is not a TEFL accreditation organisation; it accredits anything including Heraldry, Art, Homeopathy, Music, Journalism and so on. Secondly they refuse to reveal the names of the people who accredit their courses so we would have no idea of the professional standing (and possible conflict of interest) in their assessors.

I guess the ideal solution would be to get together with other providers to try and set up some kind of accreditation body which will be truly international and independent and strictly governed to ensure it remains so.

ICAL, as one of the major online TEFL course providers, would very much like to be part of something like this but of course we can't go ahead and do it ourselves. It needs to come from ALL good providers and be thoroughly transparent.
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby Lucas » 12 Sep 2009, 19:21

It's true that there are many schools that are accredited by sketchy organizations. The worst cases are schools that have the Mexican chamber of commerce and travel organizations recognizing their TEFL courses and then there are organizations like the ODLQC that are not TEFL organizations but accredit anybody with distance courses.

ACTDEC moderates and accredits distance and online TESOL/TEFL courses and it's about to be approved by the QCA (British Government's Qualifications Curriculum Authority).

ACTDEC holds very high standards in TESOL/TEFL education and has rejected many organizations that do not meet these standards. i-to-i is the biggest example, as it applied for over a period of 2 years and failed to meet the standards for ACTDEC Level 1 accreditation throughout several applications.

Ontesol meets the highest standards in online TESOL/TEFL education. It was developed by Coventry House International, which offers on-site Trinity CertTESOL and TESL Canada* courses in Toronto. Ontesol's 100-hour course is recognized by ACTDEC Level 1 and the 250-hour Specialized course is recognized by TESL Canada Professional Standard 2 and ACTDEC Level 3.
http://www.ontesol.com

*A TESL Canada certificate is required to work in Canada and is highly recognized in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK, and Australia where they require teachers to hold the highest qualifications.
Ontesol - Online TESOL/TEFL courses. http://www.ontesol.com
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby ICAL_Pete » 14 Sep 2009, 09:38

There are problems with ACTDEC though (aside from the fact its website is down at the time of writing this message).

ACTDEC was set up by a TEFL school - Eurolink I understand - and several of the schools which ACTDEC "accredit" are Eurolink schools themselves or related to Eurolink. Including these schools there are less than 10 members.

Unfortunately this means it does not have the history, appearance or reputation of being independent or far reaching.

As I said above, we'd love to see a genuine, international, independent accreditation organisation for TEFL providers. Is it possible to put one in place? Perhaps if the top providers could get together to discuss and come up with some kind of plan to organise a truly trustworthy organisation it would be a start.

We would happily engage with other good TEFL providers to try and get something going here!
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby Lucas » 14 Sep 2009, 18:01

Pete, I don't see anything wrong with a school that sets up an organization in order to create a standard for TESOL/TEFL distance education by inviting other schools to join them and then evolve to the point that ACTDEC is now applying for QCA's approval. It's a proactive and outstanding move which seeks to set an international standard in the distance learning or online TESOL/TEFL industry. At the time ACTDEC was created, there weren't any standards for distance or online courses, and there still aren't any, so online schools would provide anything they wanted and that's why there has been a very bad reputation in online certification.

Ontesol was developed by Coventry House International in 2003 and applied for ACTDEC accreditation because it holds high standards similar to TESL Canada's and Trinity's, which have moderated and accredited our courses all these years. There isn't any relationship between Ontesol, Eurolink, and other schools. There might have been some kind of relationship at the beginning, between Eurolink and other schools (not with Ontesol as we applied years after ACTDEC was created), but there is nothing wrong with it and it seems very logical to me as there are common grounds to walk through in order to set the standards for the organization. Today, there are accredited schools from the UK, USA, Germany, Spain, Canada, and a few applicants from Australia and India.

ICAL_Pete wrote:Perhaps if the top providers could get together to discuss and come up with some kind of plan to organise a truly trustworthy organisation it would be a start.


I don't see how you can argue fiercely against a certain school that has the initiative to set up an organization with other schools in order to set international standards and then you call for TEFL course providers to get something started. Besides, what you are trying to organize has been at work for almost two decades. ACTDEC is achieving "the history, appearance or reputation of being independent or far reaching" and it would be one step ahead from any new organization when it obtains QCA's approval.
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby ICAL_Pete » 14 Sep 2009, 21:11

Lucas wrote:Pete, I don't see anything wrong with a school that sets up an organization in order to create a standard for TESOL/TEFL distance education by inviting other schools to join them and then evolve to the point that ACTDEC is now applying for QCA's approval.


I do see a problem here. Essentially one school set up an accrediting organisation to accredit its own courses. It then accredited courses from its sister schools. Finally it admitted other schools to join them.

But in the 16 years since they began they have amassed a membership of just 9 schools, several of which are related.

How come so few other providers joined them? I know the reason that we did not apply was that we felt they were not as independent as they could be and I suspect that was also the case why other schools did not apply.

To be truly independent and trustworthy, an accrediting organisation has to be utterly transparent. We feel that ACTDEC are not.

Lucas wrote:I don't see how you can argue fiercely against a certain school that has the initiative to set up an organization with other schools in order to set international standards and then you call for TEFL course providers to get something started.


What I am proposing is completely different.

I am most certainly NOT suggesting that a single school starts to accredit its own courses and then invites other schools to join them.

I am suggesting that the major TEFL course providers come together to try and develop a completely open and transparent organisation for accreditation. If we can get the top ten or so providers to do this and recruit some noted professionals to oversee the process then I think it could work.

It won't, of course, be easy. But it could happen if the willingness is there and ICAL for one, would be happy to speak to other major providers to get the ball rolling.

I would say again that this has to be put together by a group of schools - let's say 10 or 15 leaders in the field - whose presence alone would guarantee the independence and the trustworthiness of the accrediting organisation in the eyes of the public.
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby Lucas » 15 Sep 2009, 00:11

Hi Pete,
Based on our experience in developing courses for the purpose of obtaining recognition from TESL Canada and Trinity CertTESOL, I can say that the creation of ACTDEC was not just for PR reasons, but an outstanding initiative to set international standards in distance and online TESOL/TEFL education. ACTDEC doesn't just have a website, it advocates specific standards and levels to follow and any school that meets these standards can become an accredited member. Since the last decade, the organization has grown in size and it's seeking approval from the British Government's agency (the QCA); therefore, ACTDEC is the most outstanding initiative there has been for raising the standards of the online TESOL/TEFL industry up to date.

One of the reasons there are a few schools with ACTDEC is that the quality of most online courses is very bad and many were rejected. Your course may be good, but the quality of most online courses is bad (They're too short, do not train the student to develop lesson plans but just give them a few short activities to complete, and some do not even offer tutors). I see that there can be a lot problems with the kind of organization that you propose, such as actually starting the trustworthy organization with other online schools because of the fact that their quality is very poor.

I'd definitely like to participate in something new that raises international standards, but these organizations already exist. At Ontesol, we are happy to have our 250-hour online course recognized by TESL Canada, which accreditation is necessary to work here in Canada, it's highly recognized throughout the world, and many reputable Canadian universities have sought and obtained its recognition. We are also happy that ACTDEC, which recognizes our 100-hour and 250-hour online courses is about to become approved by the QCA because obtaining government recognition is the next step to follow after creating an organization. As I mentioned earlier, we also offer on-site TESL Canada and Trinity CertTESOL programs, so we know what a good TEFL/TESOL course should include in its curriculum and I can't see how online schools with very bad quality can get together to raise the industry's standards unless they make fundamental changes to their services. The biggest problem I see with your proposal is having a lot of bad schools forming a big organization for PR purposes but with very poor content. If the purpose was to really raise the standards in TESOL/TEFL education, they would have to invest a lot of time and money due to increased development and administration costs (They would have to redevelop their courses to meet these standards, recreate their online systems, and obtain qualified tutors and pay them accordingly). The problem in forming this organization is that the schools that would really make a fundamental change because of their size are not in the business of educating teachers, but in the business of issuing certificates in masses to backpackers, so they are happy with the status-quo. For example, i-to-i's application for ACTDEC Level 1 accreditation was rejected for a period of 2 years and i-to-i could have improved its course but it didn't care for it. Instead, it just went to the ODLQC because it isn't a TEFL organization and it accredits anybody.

What you propose can still be done, but it'll be many steps behind ACTDEC because although it started out of the initiative of its founding school, it has evolved to promote high standards and seek government recognition based on these standards. Unless the organization you propose obtains government recognition, I can't see how you can create something without contradicting the values you are against (That TEFL schools form organizations for PR reasons), and I can't see how the organization you propose would obtain such recognition unless the schools that you would like to recruit made fundamental changes to their courses.
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby ICAL_Pete » 15 Sep 2009, 09:24

Hi there,

Could you provide a link to the QCA and more about ACTDEC's affiliation with them?

I totally agree with you that bad online schools can't come together and create a useful accreditation organisation. That's why it has to be the top online schools doing it of course.

Eurolink created ACTDEC but I really know nothing about the Eurolink course so can't comment on how good or bad their courses are.

My main point still stands though: an decent accreditation organisation must come from a joint initiative and not just one school accrediting their own course. This would at least remove the perception by the public of impropriety.
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby Lucas » 15 Sep 2009, 15:13

There isn't any link yet, I'm saying that it's waiting for approval... and that once approved it doesn't really matter if ACTDEC was set by one, five or twenty organizations. The QCA's approval will make it a trustworthy organization. I'm also saying that the fact that it was set up in order to set a standard when there wasn't anything there, and still isn't, for online courses is a great initiative. And I'm saying that if you really want to reach a solution, getting the good online schools to get together is almost impossible because there aren't many and getting the big schools to change is almost as impossible. The biggest online schools, in terms of enrollments, do not care about education because they are in the business of issuing certificates in masses to backpackers, so unless they made fundamental changes to their programs the organization you propose cannot be created for the purpose of raising the standards in online TESOL/TEFL courses. When the big school I mentioned was rejected, they did not care for improving their programs, so your idea of an organization cannot be put into place because of the processes that need to be implemented (Setting the standards and making fundamental changes to these schools' programs). Even though it seems wrong at first that one school set up the organization, considering that ACTDEC evolved to include other organizations, that it has real standards and levels to follow, that it doesn't accredit anybody unless they meet these standards, and that it's seeking government approval based on these standards, ACTDEC is a more real possibility in creating a trustworthy organization that sets the standards for the online course providers.

So thank you for stating your opinions in a kind manner throughout this blog. I think that from here it's all about real actions. Both Coventry House International and Ontesol are accredited by other organizations, which have much greater history and reputation than ACTDEC itself, and more specifically TESL Canada makes our 250-hour online course equivalent to the top on-site courses in the world, so we definitely don't want to be associated with any bad schools, and I don't see how your school will be benefited by associating with them either. But that's just my advice.
Kind regards,
Lucas
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Re: Tefl course

Unread postby ICAL_Pete » 15 Sep 2009, 15:22

Lucas wrote:The biggest online schools, in terms of enrollments, do not care about education because they are in the business of issuing certificates in masses to backpackers, so unless they made fundamental changes to their programs the organization you propose cannot be created for the purpose of raising the standards in online TESOL/TEFL courses.


Curiously we are one of the biggest online schools in terms of registrations and we DO care about education! Maybe the others don't, but the bottom line is that we wouldn't still be here after so many years with the reputation we have if we didn't.
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