Teacher Training FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions About Training to Teach English
I am EMT (English mother tongue). Do I really need a special
TEFL certificate or training?
First of all, a good TEFL certificate will
open a lot of doors. Secondly, with the experience gained by working for a TEFL
certificate you will be well-equipped to teach under many different conditions.
You will have much more confidence, not to mention competence. However, some
schools do accept untrained teachers. Be prepared to accept a lower salary
without training, and perhaps to be taken advantage of. If you are serious
about a TEFL career, especially in more competitive countries, you would be well advised to get yourself a good TEFL certificate.
How quickly can I get a TEFL certificate?
quickly, comparatively. Even the world's most widely acknowledged TEFL
certificates take only about 4 weeks if you do them as intensive courses. There
are other TEFL certificate courses that can be accomplished in less than 4
weeks, or even over a weekend in the case of introductory or refresher courses.
Some of these courses can also be done part-time over, say, a year or 18 months.
Are there any online (distance-learning) TEFL
Yes there are, and they are becoming increasingly common and
popular. Their advantages are price and convenience, and they can be very
useful as an introduction to TEFL. But you should recognize that an important
component of any serious TEFL course is teaching practice with real, live
students. Institutions that offer onsite training usually also offer language
courses to students, and so have a ready pool of guinea-pigs for their trainee
teachers. With online courses, teaching practice may or may not be included.
Some online courses do arrange teaching practice for you locally with partner
schools, or require you to provide video-taped demos of your own lessons (if
you are already teaching) to satisfy many employers' practicum requirements.
So which TEFL certificate is best?
It's important to
realize that the simple terms "TEFL" and "TESOL" have no official significance
whatsoever. Consequently, the terms "TEFL Certificate" or "TESOL Certificate" do not of themselves endow a certificate with recognition. The best TEFL/TESOL
training courses are externally validated, ie they are vetted and checked by a
body that is officially recognizedsuch as UCLES (University of
Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate). A good question to ask any course
provider, therefore, is: "Is your course externally validated, and if so by
whom?" Three widely recognized certificates are the Cambridge CELTA, the
Trinity CertTESOL and the SIT TESOL Certificate, though there are a growing number of other certificates that are reputable and well recognized.
How do I find a TEFL course?
You can look in the TEFL Course Database, which
lists TEFL-type teacher training courses worldwide, including online courses.
Or check out any local British Council office, university or language school,
many of whom offer TEFL courses or may be able to advise you. ELT magazines and
newspapers such as the EL Gazette also carry listings or advertisements for
TEFL courses. If you are in a really out of the way spot and simply cannot find
something suitable, try asking at the TEFL.net Teacher Forums.