Teaching English abroad is an increasingly popular career option for native English speakers of all ages. Knowledge of the English language and the ability to use it are also in increasing demand all over the world. Because of the high demand for teachers and the growing popularity of teaching abroad, certification to be a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher is fast becoming a requirement for most schools. This certification is often referred to as a TEFL or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate. ?A TEFL certificate is the standard international EFL qualification for working abroad as an English teacher? (International TEFL Teacher Training, http://www.teflonline.net/). The training provided in a TEFL course prepares the future teachers in grammar, lesson planning, and classroom management. The courses are four to six weeks long if taken full-time, and they are often intensive. There are many schools and organizations in various countries that do not require you to have a certificate in order to teach there. However, they are becoming fewer and fewer as more people are obtaining TEFL certificates and the benefits of them are becoming more apparent. ?Although schools in some parts of the world may require only that you be a native speaker, most institutions prefer to hire teachers with some training. And in an increasingly competitive environment, it?s an absolute necessity at some schools? (International TEFL Teacher Training). A TEFL certification course typically includes practical teaching experience as well as classroom training, so that trainees are ready to take over a classroom when hired. This practical experience is very important to schools when they are looking to hire English teachers, because they know that the teacher has taught students in a classroom and therefore they will not need training from the school. This was not always true. Only a couple of years ago, the main requirement to teach English abroad was just to be a native English speaker. ?Gone are the days when any native English speaker seeking a life of travel and adventure could pursue a successful career as a Teacher of English as a Foreign/Second Language without experience or qualifications. Almost all employers now seek teachers with a TEFL/TESL qualification plus experience, in addition to a first degree? (TEFL.com).
There are many different organizations that offer TEFL training and certification. However, not all TEFL certificates are equal, so it is important to thoroughly research institutions to make sure that you are get certified through an accredited one. ?Any person or institution can offer a TEFL training program without regulation or standardization. Thus, one of the best ways to know that you are enrolling in a respectable TEFL course is to check that the institution is externally validated by a reputable accrediting agency? (International TEFL Teacher Training). An accredited TEFL certificate should include 100+ classroom hours and a practical teaching component. A reputable program also includes six to ten hours of observed teaching practices (TEFL.com). At the completion of the course, the trainee must pass an examination to receive their certificate.
With the growing popularity of TEFL careers and the increasing demand for English language teachers, the qualifications for teaching are rising. It is no longer enough to be a native English speaker, or even to have a Bachelors degree, to get a job in most countries. TEFL courses train their students in grammar, phonetics, lesson planning, and classroom management so that they are fully prepared for their careers as TEFL teachers upon completion of the course. This preparation is what makes a TEFL certicate so important to both future teachers and the schools that will hire them.
Author: Alexis Sabol
Date of post: 2006-09-26