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Online vs. Onsite courses The decision to pursue a career or even
The decision to pursue a career or even an interlude as an ESL teacher is a great opportunity to travel and experience a multitude of cultures. For many people this is the one way they can afford to see the world and get a close view to the inner workings of a culture. Being a native English speaker however is not always enough to become an ESL teacher anymore, according to eslbase an online site for ESL teachers and employers (1). Most English schools require some sort of experience or qualifications in the form of a TEFL course. There are two ways in which prospective English teacher can take a TEFL course; onsite or online. Many different views exist on which method of studying TEFL is more effective for future teachers. But the fact still remains that convenience and time are definite contributors to the decisions future teachers make on which course is best for them. However every country and every school has different requirements and expectations for their teachers so choosing a TEFL course that meets all these requirements can also be a challenge (1).
Onsite TEFL courses are conducted all over the world. Students can choose to do the course in their country of origin or abroad in such exotic places as Thailand or Prague. This holds particular appeal to prospective students, whose dream may be to travel. However studying abroad is always expensive and can pose problems for some students. Even though onsite courses may be more expensive they provide future teachers with invaluable in class experience. Prospective employers prefer and may even insist upon onsite TEFL courses due to the practice in the classrooms. Therefore onsite courses are more widely accepted in the job community and this should be considered before choosing a TEFL course. Another benefit of the onsite course is the structure it provides students with. This is particularly useful for those who are not self- motivated. The onsite course provides a fast-paced environment with deadlines for those who require them. There is also the opportunity for face to face contact with a TEFL teacher. This allows for a direct model of the teaching skills being developed.
An online TEFL course provides students with the flexibility that an onsite course doesn't. It allows people with a full-time job or career the opportunity to study to be an ESL teacher at their own pace. In addition to its flexibility an online course is also a fraction of the cost of an onsite one. However an online course doesn't provide students with any actual teaching experience. Therefore due to its lack of direct contact with students, an online course is not as widely accepted by employers. This may make future job searches difficult because employers prefer teachers with some experience.
Deciding between an online or onsite TEFL course can be a difficult and challenging decision. The onsite course provides students with additional skills that the online course fails to provide. This can pose a problem while job searching so it is important to look into the requirements of the area you are thinking of teaching in before settling on a TEFL course. However the decision of an online or onsite TEFL course depends upon the personal circumstances of each individual. The online TEFL course is a good starting point for someone thinking about a career in ESL and wants to see what it is like. It is also ideal for individuals already in a teaching position but who are looking to improve their teaching skills. In this case lack of in class practice during the course is no longer a concern. On the other hand the onsite course is ideal for those with no prior teaching experience and the free time available to complete a two week or month long course. Both courses provide the basics needed to be an effective ESL teacher, one also provides a bit of classroom confidence prior to the real thing. According to eslbase getting as much qualifications as possible can only be a benefit to a future career in ESL (1). The confidence and ability this provides is invaluable.
1. 'New to TEFL' Eslbase: For ESL teachers and employers. ' 2005- 2006 eslbase.com