|Note: We mainly use the term TEFL on these pages but in most cases the terms TESOL/TESL could equally well be used.|
Frequently Asked Questions
Weekend TEFL Courses
Which is the best/most recognised weekend course?
Weekend courses that are offered by the most reputable providers are simply an introduction to TEFL that is designed to help you decide whether you want to go on to pay for a full TEFL certificate course or not. Because of this, the course and certificate will be clearly marked with something like “Introduction to TEFL”, and the certificate will only be a certificate of attendance. Most reputable employers will also not take on someone who has only done a weekend course. For these reasons, it doesn’t really matter which weekend course you do. You could try to find one that is offered by a centre that also offers the TEFL certificate that you are thinking about taking later.
What should I look for in a weekend TEFL course? What questions should I ask the course provider?
- Teacher trainers who also train on respected full-time courses, e.g. CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL
- A course provider that mainly provides more respected courses and just provides weekend courses as a taster
- A chance to see real classes being taught and to see real teachers in action and talk to them afterwards
- Small class size (no more than 16 trainees)
- The chance to practise the skills you are taught, not just sitting there passively
- Marketing that is realistic about what a weekend course can achieve, both in terms of what you can learn and your job prospects afterwards
- Professional materials and website
- More than one trainer per course, to get different perspectives and to see more than one teaching style
- Some pre-course work to do
When a job ad asks for a TEFL certificate, does that include weekend courses?
Usually not. The normal definition of “TEFL certificate” is a course with at least 100 hours of instruction and 6 hours of observed teaching practice. This usually takes four weeks full-time or three to nine months part-time.
The provider of the weekend course that I looked at claims that all its graduates have got TEFL jobs. Why would I need to take a 4-week course if that is the case?
Almost any native English speaking graduate can get a TEFL job with no TEFL training or qualifications at all. Those are usually the least desirable jobs; so their claim is probably true but doesn’t mean much.
Who/what are weekend courses for?
Weekend courses do not include observed and graded teaching practice, and usually no assessment at all. They therefore do not prove that you have any teaching knowledge or skills. A weekend course is simply a chance to decide if TEFL is for you, for example before you pay for a 4-week intensive course or before you decide to take a job that doesn’t ask for any qualifications and experience. They will also give you a slight advantage when applying for those kinds of jobs, but the best starter positions will be reserved for those who have taken a course with at least 100 hours of instruction and at least six hours of observed and graded teaching practice.
What is better, a weekend TEFL course or an online TEFL course?
If an online course has observed teaching practice, that is the better option. However, online courses with a face-to-face component (i.e. blended courses) are relatively rare. A weekend course does at least allow you to practise on your fellow trainees and to see an experienced teacher doing the things that they are telling you about. You can therefore experience something like your students will in your future classes. With an online course you will probably get more hours of instruction for the same price. It is therefore difficult to choose between a typical weekend course and a typical purely online course (and neither is even close to comparable to a course with at least 6 hours of observed teaching practice). If you are thinking of doing a 4-week TEFL certificate and just want to be sure that it is for you before you pay your money, a weekend course is probably better. If you can’t do a course with a face-to-face component but have already decided to look for a TEFL job, an online course might be your preferred option. You could also of course do a weekend course before you decide whether to take a job or not, and then an online course while you are doing that first job.