Which Course

Discussion about courses, qualifications and teacher training. Please do not advertise TEFL courses here.

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Which Course

Unread postby Oldhamer » 26 Apr 2012, 15:45

I graduated from university back in October and while i plan on traveling for a year (Canada) when i get back i am strongly considering taking up TEFL. I was put onto the idea by a friend of mine who is currently teaching in South Korea. The problem is there are so many courses available i don't really know where to go. I can't afford a CELTA or TESOL so i will be taking a TEFL certificate, probably in Manchester. My friend did his course online through this website http://www.teflonline.com/ but from what i have read it is important to have teaching time on a course so i was looking at this company http://www.uk-tefl.com/. Basically i'm just looking for some advice from people with a bit more experience in these matters.
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Re: Which Course

Unread postby Radmila » 18 May 2012, 15:58

Hi Oldhammer, there are so many different TEFL courses out there and good research is higly recommended. It's a good idea to look for a course that has some practical teaching experience as well as all the stuff about grammar. I've been recruiting teachers for a long time and can tell you some requirements from the employers' point of view.

Employers will first ask about your teaching practice. So, when choosing a course, the first thing is to ask about how many teaching practice hours they provide. It definitely has to be more than 6, which is what a CELTA course would provide.

An employer would also check your grammar knowledge. English teachers have to prove their competence in it. A very practicle question can be asked in an interview. Besides, understanding how English works will highly benefit your students. Language analysis is included in all TEFL courses but of course it depends on the lengh of the course whether it will provide good knowledge in depth or not. I would try to find a course that would teach not only the theory of grammar but they provide with enough practice to be confident to face your future students. It is important that the approach to English teaching is done without having to translate to the student's language. This is the key when you look for a TEFL course. You shouldn't have to learn Chinese first to teach in China.

If you are thinking in teaching English in Spain there are places as International house, OxbrdidgeTEFL.com, TEFLBarcelona.net that provide classes with practice. I have found this website that explains the difference between them and others: whichtefl.com

Have you thought about what you want to do after the course?
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Re: Which Course

Unread postby Oldhamer » 21 May 2012, 11:58

Hi Radmila,

Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure what i want to do after the course, ideally i would like to use TEFL to see the world whilst earning enough to live off. Places like China, Japan and Vietnam appeal to me because their cultures are so different to what i know.

It sounds like a CELTA really is the best way to go, i suppose i'd just have to save up for a while once i get back. I just hope that i don't spend over a thousand pounds on a course and then not be able to find a job.
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Re: Which Course

Unread postby pokedmund » 22 May 2012, 06:34

Whether its China, Japan or Vietnam.

1) Consider the visa application process for working in these countries.

2) If you look and sound like a Native English Speaker (Fair skin, blonde hair, blue eyes, etc, etc), chances are you'll get a job pretty easily.

3) CELTA/TESOL not only makes you look good on paper, it really does provide you with that little extra bit of teaching experience. You'll feel a lot more secure when you do get that teaching position and start teaching. Especially if your potential employer starts asking you to write up lesson plans for each lesson you teach.

Good luck with what ever you do!

Also check out the cambridge website for course locations.
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Re: Which Course

Unread postby Oldhamer » 23 May 2012, 20:03

Thanks for the advice!

On a lot of the different sites that i'v been looking at it has said that a lot of country's and employers require you to have a first degree. Does this just mean an undergraduate degree (which i have) or an undergraduate degree which is 1st class (mine is only 3rd class unfortunately)?
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Re: Which Course

Unread postby pokedmund » 24 May 2012, 06:07

It means 'any' degree.

Most degrees from the UK/US match the requirements.
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Re: Which Course

Unread postby Oldhamer » 28 May 2012, 11:21

It appears as though the Canadian High Commission may be changing my plans for me and bringing forward any decision i have to make about TEFL. So i'm back seeking more advice from you guys.

After a fair bit of research i'v decided that Vietnam would be my ideal destination. Preferably HCMC but i don't know how much control i would have over that. What i am wondering now is, where to do my CELTA? There are two centres here in Manchester that run the courses but i'v seen companies such as ILA who run the courses in Vietnam. The positives about doing the CELTA over in Vietnam with a company like that is that there is the possibility that they will offer you a job at the end of the course, as well as give you a further two weeks course on teaching young learners. Also they may reimburse some of your course fee if you sign a 12 month contract with them.

Obviously there must also be negatives such as being thrown into a completely unknown environment and taking on an intensive four week course whilst trying to get your bearings. And then if you aren't offered a job at the end of the course you are stuck with no work in a foreign country.

So what do you think? Do the course here at home and then apply for jobs or jump in and apply to do the course over there? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Oh and i was wondering if anyone could recommend any books to help me brush up on my grammar? I haven't actually studied it since i was in school and whilst i can use it, i think i may be a bit rusty on the terminology.

Thanks again! (and fingers crossed that i do get my Canadian working visa)
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Re: Which Course

Unread postby Alex Case » 28 May 2012, 21:49

I'd go over there and do it. Being in a new country can be distracting, but no more so than social and family commitments back home. The other major advantage of doing it there is that you will usually have monolingual classes full of Vietnamese students to practise on, which is more like the situation you will be in when you start your first teaching job. You are virtually guaranteed to find a job in Vietnam, especially with a degree and a CELTA.
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Re: Which Course

Unread postby Oldhamer » 28 May 2012, 23:03

Thanks Alex,

I have to admit i am more tempted to do the course over there as it means i can get on a plane even sooner. I'm getting itchy feet after five months of waiting for a Canadian visa and going through various set backs. I was supposed to be away half way through April.

Do you happen to know how difficult it is to get on a CELTA course? I assume it's differs depending on where you apply. I downloaded the application pack for the ILA CELTA just so that i knew what was coming and i'v found that i'v had to do a fair bit of reading just to complete it. I'd never even heard of stress patterns before. Thank the internet and people who like to share their knowledge freely. I have to admit though that the ILA site makes a CELTA sound like quite a daunting task to undertake.
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Re: Which Course

Unread postby Alex Case » 29 May 2012, 09:39

It depends on how obsessed the course providers are with keeping their pass rate up and how popular the course is, so some courses can be a little tricky to get on. However, virtually anyone with a degree can get on a CELTA somewhere, and anyway as you said the difficulty mainly consists of learning things which you'll have to once you get on the course anyway.
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