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Which TEFL course?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by bonzai_killer, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. bonzai_killer

    bonzai_killer New commenter

    Hi folks,

    I'm considering teaching abroad in the future, Spain in particular, but am bamboozled by the numerous TEFL course providers available. Some claim to be internationally recognised, where others claim to be the "only UK government regulated course" etc.

    Can anyone share some personal experiences of course providers, recommendations or which to avoid.

    All advice gratefully received!

  2. AshgarMary

    AshgarMary New commenter

    The CELTA or the Trinity are internationally recognized and rigorous. I did the CELTA - 4 weeks of extreme hard work - abandon all ideas of a family / social life while doing it. It was 17 hours a day including weekends. I learned more about teaching on that course than I ever did on my PGCE back in the mists of time. CELTA includes assessed teaching practice right from day 2.

    On the other hand, do question why you want the certification. If you want to teach TEFL, then have a look at the jobs advertised in countries you are interested in as to what they require. I found it was fairly pointless in Cairo because all they wanted was for native English speakers (British, American, Australian) to 'teach the speaking bits' (for pronunciation) and Egyptian teachers would teach the grammar, writing and so on - and I know for a fact of native speakers who hadn't any qualifications in their own country - not even high school - who were recruited on fairly high salaries (compared to local staff) on the basis of simply being a native speaker.

    If you plan to teach a 'usual school subject' then the TEFL qualification may not earn you any brownie points in getting a job (even though as I said up there, I found it far more useful for learning teaching than my PGCE ever was) so you may want to consider whether spending about £1000 is value for money at this point. Some will come on here and say if you're already a teacher you know enough. On my CELTA course, it was the practising teachers who fared worst because (a) they thought they knew it all and (b) would often talk aloud to themselves eg if the projector wouldn't work or they muddled up resources or whatever, thoroughly confusing the students who weren't sure if they should be listening/understanding or not.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  3. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    The basic qualification is the CELTA, two of the better regarded are Cambridge and Trinity. This is certificate level, if you are keen to go further you can take a DELTA which is diploma level. Have you taught languages before? If not, I think the CELTA is good to have.

    International House also have a good reputation and will help you look for work, but there are other good providers too. You can study online with them:


    I used to recruit teachers for pre-sessionals at a university here and the minimum requirement for that was a DELTA and at least a couple of years experience. Many people who teach in Europe during the year come to the UK to teach on these courses over the summer.
  4. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Established commenter

    there is a HUGE difference to teaching in a language school and an International school. if its just language schools you want then great, but you will earn a fraction of what you would as a teacher. if you are on the TES then i will presume that you have at least an interest in being a full qualified teacher.

    my girlfriend just did here CELTA course as an addition to her child psychologist degree (she's a non native speaker...although speaks better English and understands it far more than me). it was a tough 4 weeks, but she got a lot out of it. if you are not already a fully qualified teacher, and are considering doing it, look at doing it in a european country as it can be considerably cheaper, even with the extra cost of accommodation.

    if you are a fully qualified teacher then research International schools, and where you could go. Spain is possibly the lowest paying country in the world when you consider its cost of living and complete lack of benefits....all which the "spanish lifestyle" could not make up for in my experience.
  5. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    Another point, check that your course is accredited by the British Council and EnglishUK.
  6. AshgarMary

    AshgarMary New commenter

    I should clarify that that was NOT the proper international schools but the low - middle ranking 'language' schools (which in Egypt are full curriculum but taught in English / German / French and one or two other languages)
  7. yellowsubmarine1

    yellowsubmarine1 New commenter

    yeh most of the time your salary will be get by only. HOwever some places TEFL teachers can earn almost the same as an international teacher...china and the ME are two places where it is possible (with privates) to earn a decent salary. But these are about the only two places where you can. A CELTA is the one to go for as all employers know this qualification. Nobody checks though whether you really have a CELTA/TEFL or not once you've got it. I did mine in the 90s.
  8. lottee1000

    lottee1000 Occasional commenter

    Yay; musict**$ch! Do I win a prize?
  9. yellowsubmarine1

    yellowsubmarine1 New commenter

    you are mentle
  10. bonzai_killer

    bonzai_killer New commenter

    Thanks to those of you with constructive advice.

    Just to be clear, I am a fully qualified teacher with 7+ years teaching children. Worryingly, this is the first time I've heard of CELTA and looking into it, it seems to be totally different from the other courses I've looked at. I'm looking for a mainly online course due to my current personal circumstances and really can't afford to spend over a thousand pounds at the moment.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to get back to me.

    frangipani123 likes this.
  11. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Established commenter

    Look at proper international schools, and widen your net as you will be amazed at where you can go and what will be offered to you. There is absolutely NO reason for you to do a CELTA if you are a full qualified teacher with experience.

    Good luck.
  12. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I must have imagined all those times that the various schools that I was employed in asked for sight of my CELTA certificate....

    ps. welcome back ;)
    oldgit and blueskydreaming like this.
  13. yellowsubmarine1

    yellowsubmarine1 New commenter

    You do NOT need a CELTA to teach in the following countries: Korea, Taiwan, HK, China. You DO need a BA degree or higher though. If you are a fully qualified teacher with 7 years experience, you do NOT need a CELTA unless you want to do one for personal reasons or professional development. Most English teaching at international schools is English as a second language which is simple, ESL teaching basically with an exam at the end of it which has reading and writing questions and a listening paper and some a speaking component. A lot of the teachers at my school just use the text book and that is boring for students. To be a great English as a second language teacher you have to do more than just use the course book. You have to get students interested in speaking, get them to learn new vocabulary in interesting ways instead of just switching on their electronic dictionaries (which often gives the wrong answer) and get them to learn error correction (an important but often missed element of teaching). The CELTA should teach you how to do these things.
  14. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Established commenter

    This is not fully true. In the IB schools, which there are a lot more of around the world than British curriculum, they have a language A and language B lessons. This would include language and literature lessons.

    Now are you going to miss quote me on this one again musikteech, just because i have pointed out your incorrect sweeping statement?
  15. Alldone

    Alldone Established commenter

    Another day, another name change for Musikteech. Why bother changing your name - your rambling style is instantly recognisable.
  16. yellowsubmarine1

    yellowsubmarine1 New commenter

    What do you mean rambling style? Do I say things about you like "Oh you are a chemical engineer definitely not a science teacher" for example ;)

    Dumbells it doesn't matter whether it is IB, British or whetever curriculum. THe kids learn English as a second language because English isn't their native language. Some are extremely good at it and a lot are very basic or average. So what that they get literature? If they can't understand English properly, how can they do literature? If you do A level French in the UK then yes you study French literature. I also studied literature for my foreign language at A level. But that's A level. I could speak the foreign language pretty well.
  17. yellowsubmarine1

    yellowsubmarine1 New commenter

    I answered the OP's question. You have just come on here to cause trouble. You do realise every time you insult me that you are breaking the rules. You do realise that you are interfering with yet another thread making inappropriate comments. You do realise don't you?
  18. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    What are you talking about? In many/most international schools (depending on your location) the kids are generally not locals, and those who are not native English speakers (and not locals, but from a 3rd country) will have spent their lives at English medium schools, therefore will be perfectly capable of learning and taking exams in the medium of English, such as the GCSE language (1st language). And they need to be able to take exams in the medium of English, as the wording of the questions in the new maths and science exams requires a high level of English understanding.

    Even in my school, which is almost entirely local kids, we do not teach EFL - we teach a language and literature course in the first year, such as you would teach at KS3 in the UK, and at the end of that they do the iGCSE English as a 2nd language. Then, after that, they all do GCSEs in language (1st language) and Literature over 2 years. Some then go on to do AS language.
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  19. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Do you realise that using multiple usernames is against the rules? You do realise don't you?

    You must realise, after all you are forever getting banned from this site.
  20. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    What I don't understand is why people are engaging with it? Ignore it! Don't feed it!
    dumbbells66 likes this.

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