Finding a valid online TEFL course

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Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby WendyB » 25 Jan 2011, 14:23

Hello, I'm new to this forum and I could really use some help. A little bit of information about me: I am Dutch, I live in Italy and speak Italian, and I have lived in the United States for 7 years. I would like to start teaching English in private schools here in Italy. I am looking for an online TEFL course which is valid but every time I find a website offering such courses, I'm never sure if I can trust it. I have read many negative things about online courses. Can anyone suggest me a website that they know and trust? Or tell me about an online course they took themselves? I don't have the option to take an in-class TEFL course because I can't go away that long and the courses are quite expensive. Therefore, I am looking for an online course to at least get me started (with the option of taking an in-class course later on). One last question: does the course need to be 100 or 120 hours? Some websites claim 120 hours is the least amount of hours required for a valid certification but some others say 100 will do. Thanks for all the help you can give me!
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby WendyB » 27 Jan 2011, 15:24

Just to add to my post: I have searched for courses here on the forum and opinions and I can find plenty of courses NOT to take. I just can't find any list of courses that are good, neither here nor on Google. :(
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Stemplar » 29 Jan 2011, 13:58

Hi WendyB

Online courses are not a good idea, but as you say OK to get a start.

A respected and trusted TEFL course should be 120 hours + a further 6 to 8 hours of observed and evaluated teaching practice. (which is why online courses are not suitable)

Also, most courses are of 4 weeks duration and to obtain a TEFL certificate this is very intensive. I would recommend 6 weeks.

If a training school says this will do and that will do and we'll skip that bit... Don't walk from them, run!

And as you say they are quite expensive so do your research and get it right first time.

Regards

Simon
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Alex Case » 31 Jan 2011, 10:22

A few online courses have a short face to face component during which you do all your observed teaching practice, making them therefore blended courses and equal to a 4 week face to face course. For example, the new Online CELTA works like this and your certificate is the same as the face to face course. A few other online courses offer this. Perhaps your best option, however, is to find a part-time CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL. I imagine there are a few in Italy.
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Noahlinchi » 24 Feb 2011, 10:20

Hi Alex,

I am also looking into doing one of the online courses and would like to get your recommendation on which one I should take. I am very much interested in one of the blended courses.(CELTA or TEFL)
Can you refer me to a couple of websites where I can find those.
I am currently in Phuket, Thailand.

thanks in advance,
Noah
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Alex Case » 24 Feb 2011, 22:16

Here's the info for CELTA:

http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/exam ... e-faq.html

I hadn't realised that the major rollout of the course will only come at the end of this year.

No idea about others, I'm afraid, but I do know they exist.
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Stemplar » 25 Feb 2011, 00:44

Hi
If your in Thailand I can recommend Text-and-Talk, here's the link http://www.teflteachthai.com

I did my course with them and they were excellent, I,m not sure they do a blended course though.

Regards.
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TEFL/CELTA Phuket recommendation

Unread postby Noahlinchi » 25 Feb 2011, 04:29

Alex, Thanks for the info about CELTA.
I have changed my mind and want to do a TEFL/CElTA course (class room based) here in Phuket.

This way I will be certified within one month. But there are so many here and I really
do not have an idea of what is good and what is not. Can you please help me out and recommend a few?
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Alex Case » 25 Feb 2011, 21:47

There's an International House course in Phuket, but only once a year (in July)

http://www.ihbangkok.com/page/81-intern ... ta_th.html
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Lucas » 25 Feb 2011, 23:09

I don’t understand why CELTA courses are being promoted so much by TEFL.net moderators. CELTA is good, but not worth $2,400. I know the cost structure for a TEFL course and $1,600-$1,800 is enough to pay tutors, rent, CELTA fees (Trinity in my case), and still earn good profits. The rest is being paid for brand value, which is very debatable. The online CELTA certainly isn't worth half its current fee.

There is a great variety of good and bad TEFL courses, and there isn’t any magic in creating a good course. CELTA doesn’t hold the trademarks for any specific methods/modules, so there are great alternatives.

Alex, you have even stated in a blog that CELTA courses are already being run at lower quality than when they started (The one you wrote last year about online CELTA coming up).

Now that CELTA has an online version and broke the values that the moderators had about online courses throughout all these years, online CELTA seems to be ok even if it hasn't been rolled out. Despite not allowing other TEFL schools to have a voice, TEFL.net moderators are posting links about CELTA. Are you moderators or PR?

I think that the moderators have to be more transparent than this and that their connections to CELTA, either by partnership or employment, past or present, doesn’t have to reflect on the advice they provide, because i think that you're using this site to promote CELTA as the best alternative and inflate the value of its brand, making people pay more.
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Alex Case » 28 Feb 2011, 00:19

I'm probably the only one particularly pushing CELTA here, and I have never had any connection since doing the old CTEFLA myself 15 years ago. In fact, I was a trainer and head trainer for two years on a competing course that looked like it could be a serious competitor in its day, and I think myself and my team did a pretty good job. As I have written elsewhere, looking back I still think my trainees didn't get value for money, as for just a little more they could have got a certificate with much better name recognition. I also think having a clear message online helps battle the truly dodgy courses, of which there are many. If some well-meaning upstarts such as we were find it more difficult to break into the market, I have come to the (less than confident) conclusion that it is worth it to give a clear message to people who are thinking of "doing the TEFL" that there is no such thing. There's more on my mixed feelings on the matter here:

http://www.tefl.net/alexcase/tefl/celta-love-and-hate/

As for Trinity, I think we could even be accused of bigging it up too much on our recent FAQ pages (http://www.tefl.net/tefl-courses/faq-te ... cation.htm). As far as the OP is concerned it is completely irrelevant, as there is only one course in Asia and it is a part-time one (I think) in Japan. For that reason, I also doubt it has much name recognition in Thailand outside any British-owned schools that there may be. Also, 1600 dollars is exactly what the CELTA costs in Thailand (and many of the competitors are no cheaper). For 2400 dollars you get full board accommodation for the four weeks as well.

I've also never had any connection to IH or ECC, btw.
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Lucas » 28 Feb 2011, 16:21

I thought I read somewhere before that you worked as a DELTA tutor, so I assumed you had been connected to Cambridge in some form of bread-winning activity, as well as others have said to be involved with the organization, helping on the development of the TKT course among other things.
I wouldn’t accuse anybody of 'bigging' Trinity too much as it has often been placed second according to some unknown standards that aren’t shared by those in the industry who seek well-trained teachers.
People choose different courses at different prices and even make the conscious decision of taking less intensive training, but there are many schools that offer courses with the same standard as CELTA and the schools that leave graduates with nothing or scam them out of hundreds of dollars for poor job placement services are a minority. People take all kinds of courses, learn to teach, travel throughout the world, and take jobs at different levels. A CELTA certificate may grant you a better position at some institutes, but that is not the case for the majority and many CELTA graduates without any prior teaching experience end up among the pack.
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Alex Case » 28 Feb 2011, 22:44

I did indeed work six hours a week for one term as a Regional Delta Tutor for Bell, but as you seem to be following what I write quite closely you will have noticed that that has not stopped me making mixed or negative statements about that job, the Delta, or Cambridge ESOL.

The number of courses which are absolute swindles are indeed few. The vast majority of courses are in no way as good as the Cambridge CELTA, however. Here are some of the many sins of said courses:
- False statements about accreditation, including being accredited by organisations that do no such thing or setting up their own accrediting organisations and hiding the fact
- Dodgy marketing such as special money off offers, affliate marketing etc
- Stating being institutional members of TESOL and IATEFL like it is some kind of guarantee of standards
- Wrongly using the logo of those organisations
- Misleading statements and downright lies about the competition
- Using misleading names like "Diploma" and "Advanced certificate" for a 100-hour certificate course (or sometimes even things that are even lower)
- Offering certificates for weekend courses that have no assessed anything
- Misleading statements about your chances of getting a job with their cert, e.g. not telling you that you'd get a job anyway as a native speaker or claiming you can get a job somewhere and not telling you that you'll have to work illegally to do so
- Lies about how big and well-recognised their organisations are
- Franchising their certificates out to increasingly dodgy schools in other countries
- Using any connection to famous TEFLers as a "proof" of standards
- Trying to use their dubious connections to other organisations as a proof of standards, e.g. a university that they are renting property from but does not check their courses, or an organisation that they once sent teachers to
- Trainers who only have certs themselves
- Lies about the qualifications of trainers
- Associating with providers of dodgy online degrees

The majority of non Cambridge/ Trinity/ SIT courses are guilty of at least some of the above.
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby pokedmund » 01 Mar 2011, 02:20

Just to answer the question by the original poster, do consider contacting the private Italian schools that you would like to teach at. They usually have an understanding as to thr criteria they are looking for.

For example, I needed a Celta to teach in Hong kong (and my boss really liked the fact I was British English, although she preferred it if I was Caucasian).

Don't hesitate to check with employers too. Every employer in every country is different as to their requirements.
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby WendyB » 03 Mar 2011, 16:13

Thanks everyone for your input. To Alex and Stemplar, thanks for the advice but as I have written before, the CELTA is too expensive (as is the online course which costs the same as the in-class course) and travelling really is not an option. I do know online courses are not the best but I was hoping it would give me some start and confidence at teaching while I maybe save up money to take an in-class course at some other point in time. So at this moment I'm only considering online courses.
To Lucas: can you tell me if you heard anything good about an online course? Do you know of anyone who has taken an online course and gotten a job with it?
To pokedmund: thank you for your advice, I'll try to contact some schools and see what they have to say.
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Lucas » 03 Mar 2011, 19:32

Some schools have a good reputation, some don't, but thousands of people take online courses every year and find jobs. You can find a job without a certificate, but some preparation is necessary and many people without certification end up taking online courses to learn more about teaching. If you are thinking about teaching at EPIK, a 100-hour TESOL/TEFL certificate qualifies applicants for $300 extra per month.

The main benefits of online courses are that you can learn grammar (You'd be surprised at how little native-speakers know), phonology, and more importantly methodology (How to create lesson plans) from home and at a reasonable price. If you can take a Practicum module, then go for it. Some online schools offer this option and it is not expensive if you take it at the school you work.

There is no such thing as guaranteed job placement. Schools may provide you with a list of places and advice for job hunting, but you are always on your own unless you pay a fortune for this service. Never pay for job placement assistance because there are many reputable agencies that would help you for free and you can also find a job all by yourself. Do some research about the conditions in the country you want to go, so you can see for yourself what is best for you.
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Lucas » 03 Mar 2011, 19:48

Oh, and I read the first post. As a non-native speaker, you cannot work at EPIK (South Korea). If you're in Italy, visit some schools and ask them what kind of qualification you need so you can see for yourself. They're not very strict in Italy, but they don't pay well either. Teaching in Europe sucks in general. The wages aren't good and the cost of living is very high.
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Re: Finding a valid online TEFL course

Unread postby Alex Case » 03 Mar 2011, 21:09

Most of your questions are answered here:

http://www.tefl.net/tefl-courses/faq-online-tefl.htm
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