How do I choose a TEFL course?
Choosing a TEFL certification course can be a difficult decision as there is no standardized duration of training or a fixed syllabus for providers to adhere to. This seemingly free-for-all situation means there are a multitude of companies offering a wide range of courses of varying quality. The good news is there are several long established TEFL course providers out there who do offer high quality courses that provide all the skills and knowledge you need to start a new career as an EFL teacher. So what should you look for when choosing the right course for you?
The overall length of the course is a good place to start. There are many providers who offer short format online courses of 40 hours or even less, as well as in-class courses that can be completed in one weekend visit. Whilst these courses will give you an introduction to EFL teaching, they are unlikely to provide enough depth to satisfy the majority of employers. It is worth noting that most English language teaching jobs will stipulate a minimum of 100 hours of instruction. Unless you are simply looking for an insight into language teaching or are planning to work in a voluntary capacity, these courses are probably not for you.
Online courses that include 100 or 120 hours of instruction are a good option for many people as they are generally affordable and should provide a solid grounding in areas such as teaching methodologies, classroom management and grammar structures. If you choose this option you should look for a course that is designed to be as practically focused as possible. For example, ITTT’s 120-hour TEFL certificate course with tutor & videos provides all the theoretical knowledge required by a novice teacher, as well as a selection of videos that includes real teachers delivering lessons in a genuine classroom environment. A course such as this also requires the completion of multiple lesson plans that are submitted to a professional teacher trainer for assessment.
Although a good quality online course should provide a thorough understanding of the basics of EFL teaching, many new teachers choose an in-class course that also includes extensive teaching practice with real learners of the English language. The benefits of an in-class course are self evident, as spending time practicing the theory you have learnt in a controlled teaching environment is a great way to prepare for the day when you take control of your very own classroom. Unfortunately an intensive in-class TEFL course is considerably more expensive than an online option and requires a commitment of around four weeks at an international training center. However, this commitment is certainly worth it if you plan to teach in the long term and start a new career as an English language teacher.
The best advice we can give is don’t simply choose the cheapest or the first option you come across as they may not be suitable for your needs. Make sure you spend time researching what employers expect from job applicants in the countries where you would like to work, as well as any official requirements for work permits and visas etc. Finally you should also research the course provider to ensure they have a good reputation amongst their graduates. As long as you spend a little time choosing the right course to suit your plans, your TEFL career should get off to a smooth start.