Online ?v- Onsite courses Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Teaching English as a Foreign Language may strike you one day as your vocation in life, or a way of earning a living whilst staying in another country. Either way, it can be very rewarding to spend your working day teaching your own native language. But, if you are lucky enough to live near a college that teaches English as a Foreign Language in your own country, you don't even need to leave your home soil to practice your skills!
Where do you start though, having decided this is what you want to do' The increasingly familiar way is to search the internet, as you would have done a reference library, to find out what is offered either in your local area, or online. For myself, I was attracted to an online course which offers me flexibility and came recommended by someone who is currently in Hong Kong and although still only 20 years old and with few formal qualifications has found his niche. He started teaching large groups and then moved to smaller groups and has recently been asked to assist in the development of a new centre.
The online course I have undertaken has allowed me to study when I have had the time and motivation and to fit this around other commitments such as working and life in general. This is often the attraction with any distance learning style of course. It's even possible to do the course material on the bus or whilst on holiday, especially if you have a laptop available. However, the biggest downfall is that no formal teaching practice is required to complete the certificate, although there is the opportunity to take a two-day teaching break in another country at additional cost, eg Phuket. The course is good value for money with good quality materials sent via email and a supportive assessor who has offered guidance when required is available.
For those of us who wish to seek a teaching post abroad, there seems to be a slight problem of breaking into some countries. On checking the British Council website, it appears they prefer specific certification and probably therefore do not recognise the certification of other awarding bodies, eg ITTT. This would be a great pity.
Units covered on all courses are standard ones such as roles of the teacher, classroom management, English grammar and lesson planning. (Bridge-Linguatec TEFL Online has 13 modules and takes 40 hours to complete, ITTT has 20 units and takes 40 hours to complete).
My local college offers a TEFL fulltime course over 6 weeks plus study time, which will include teaching practice (6 hours) and observation of TEFL tutors in the classroom (8 hours). People who are keen to do this course may not be able to commit to this amount of time away from their usual workplace, however. Costs for this onsite course are quite expensive ('825 for 6 weeks, compared to '750 for a standard 34 week fulltime course) and there is a specific entry criteria requiring A levels which suggests the student will be working at a reasonably high academic standard. This may exclude some potentially good teachers who don't have A levels. An advantage of onsite courses is the support of other students and a local tutor, which is helpful especially to people new to teaching.
According to the British Council, the most commonly accepted qualifications are the Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults, (CELTA) awarded by the University College of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate and the Certificate of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, (Cert. TESOL) awarded by Trinity College London. Teaching practice is often not included in online courses and therefore the certificate awarded will not be acceptable to most teaching institutes (such as the British Council who also require two year's teaching experience). For people who are already teachers, the additional certificates may offer the opportunity to broaden their horizons and take their skills to another country to teach but for new-comers to teaching, without teaching experience, this may not be possible.