Online vs. Onsite TEFL Courses There are many different companies that
There are many different companies that offer courses (to varying degrees of credibility) to those wishing to be a teacher of English as a second/foreign language. Generally, these companies offer two types of courses: online and onsite. Online courses are those that are taken over the Internet ' in which the company emails the students their coursework, and offers an online tutor for assistance; onsite courses are TEFL courses that are taken on the premises of the company generally in a teaching location in a foreign country. These courses are conducted in the same manner as a high school or college course. There are advantages and disadvantages to both course types, and these will be explored in this paper.
Taking a TEFL course online has a few distinct advantages over taking a course onsite. First, online courses are generally much cheaper than the onsite courses. Money plays a role in almost all decisions, so depending on the budget of the student, the online option would most likely be the better choice. Another advantage is convenience. The online courses allow for flexibility and the ability for the student to work at their own pace. Once drawback to this however, is that because the student sets their own schedule, online courses can be viewed in general as not being as rigorous as the onsite ones. There are a few other drawbacks to online courses as well and these will be explored more in the next paragraph regarding the onsite courses. But overall, the online TEFL course option is a great teaching supplement, and can be used as a stepping stone to enter the world of teaching English as a foreign language.
The major advantage to taking TEFL classes onsite is the observation/teaching experience of actual English language learners. This experience is not only important in the eyes of potential employers, but is invaluable to the advancement of the student's teacher training experience. Many schools require a TEFL teaching certificate and some minimum amount of time spent observing a real classroom setting ' which is something the online course does not offer. Other advantages of an onsite course are that the courses are offered in foreign countries that most likely have TEFL positions in schools nearby. Also, TEFL students have the help of both classmates and the teacher ' instead of just an online tutor. Some of the disadvantages of the onsite classes were listed as advantages of the online course ' price, flexibility, and convenience.
As shown, there are advantages and disadvantages to both online and onsite courses. I think the main point for a person to choose which course they take is to do what works for them. I chose to take and online course because I already have a teaching job waiting for me in France that does not require any certification. So I just took the online course to get some sort of quick review of the English language and its nuances, and to help generate ideas for the classroom for my first teaching experience. 'A final assumption is that earning a professional degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) or a related field is very important'. Such a program is an initiation into the field and a way to gain a full understanding of the expectations of professionals in TESOL' (pg. 5). Taking what Gebhard wrote, getting a TEFL certificate shows that you have the proper motivation to succeed, and are on the right path in starting a career in the TEFL world. The bottom line is that a TEFL certificate ' no matter what kind ' is received.
Bibliography 1. Gebhard, Jerry G. 'Teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language'. University of Michigan, 1996.
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