Discussion about courses, qualifications etc

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Unread postby aruaru » 14 Jan 2010, 21:25

I have been reading the forums and the variety of opinions and I would like to begin another thread. I realize that there are a variety of opinions about what degree to get, who recognizes the degree, etc. I have no interest in rehashing this.

What I am interested in is this. I don't know if I want to make a career out of TEFL. I do want to try it out and see. I am going to go to Japan and teach. I could probably get a job without any training at all. Would having an Online TEFL cert help either

1. Appearing to be at least a little more committed and prepared than someone having no cert at all? I realize that there is a very larger difference in the quality of online schools, but say it is a better school for the sake of argument. If you had the same candidate with or without the online cert, would the cert help a little bit? (I know @ICAL_Pete and @Lucas what your take will be. ;) Feel free to add it anyway, as I know you guys run good schools.)

2. As a starting teacher, no experience at all, would it help to get even some online training while deciding on whether to pursue TEFL as a career? I guess this question is more for @Alex Case and @systematic, but anyone feel free to chime in. I realize that your opinions are that CELTA or a college degree are better, which in general I agree with. But say you are not willing to commit the $2000 for CELTA until you try out teaching and see if you want to pursue that as a career. What are your opinions on online TEFL cert for the purpose of getting at least some starter knowledge and prep so you don't enter the classroom completely cold. (Or do you feel that online certs are completely useless?)

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Unread postby Loulou » 15 Jan 2010, 14:03

Hi Aruaru,

I'm not one of the people you cited in your message but I have been an ESL teacher for 14 years so I wanted to add some of my ideas too!
There are ongoing debates for online courses on every TEFL forum and there are always those for and those against it. But I think that, no matter what the majority of opinions, the facts show that there are always schools that will employ a teacher with an online cert. There are even some that will employ teachers without any cert but are quite happy to accept a teacher who is mother tongue.
I live in France and teach english in France and I have a degree in english with TEFL modules as well as a one month TEFL certificate but for almost every post I have ever secured here the only question asked of me is if I have a degree in english (without ever checking if I am, in fact, lying or not). And I think that out of all the jobs I have had half of them would have hired me simply on the fact that I am mother tongue english!
Now, I'm not condoning this but it is a fact in some countries. A TEfl certificate is not exclusively what is going to get you hired but it will obviously count for something if there is a choice to be made between someone with and someone without one.

No course is ever useless, so I think that an online course will be able to teach theory which is important too. However, to be a good teacher you have to know how to teach and an online course is not going to do this. You really do need some hands-on experience and just watching a video is not enough. There are some really good online courses around and a lot of them offer weekend teaching practise sessions or week-long sessions and I think that's a plus. Don't forget that online courses exist because there is a demand for them-not everyone can take a month off from their life to get a TEFL certificate and not everyone has the savings to pay for it either. In the long run this could count against you if you choose a country where they don't accept online TEFL certs but the choice of country is up to you in the end!

That's my opinion and counts for just that - my opinion. I hope this helps.

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Unread postby systematic » 25 Jan 2010, 14:17

I don't necessarily insist on a TEFL certification at all. In the country where I am based, a university degree is a legal requirement for teaching. People generally assume TESO; teachers to be working with kids in mainstream schools, but there is a huge nulmer of other situations for teaching English. What I generally look for is related experience. I rarely hire anyone who has never stood in front of a class or who has never been a trainer of some kind. And that cuts out most (but not all ;) of the people who have an online cert and no observed teaching as part of the programme.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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