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Tell me about TEFL/TESOL courses

Tell me about TEFL International

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Tell me about TEFL/TESOL courses

Tell me about TEFL International

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Tell me about finding work

Tell me what I should expect

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What is a TESOL certificate?

A TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate is the entry level qualification for teaching English worldwide. You will also see companies offering TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) qualifications.

Do I really need one to teach English?

Whatever people say, English is now the language of the world and the demand for English language teachers continues to grow. Whether you are looking at English teaching as a long-term career or just as a means of supporting your travels abroad, you will find it difficult to get a decent job without a recognised certificate.

More importantly than this is remembering that being able to speak a language fluently is not the same as being able to teach someone else to. Your students are will most likely have paid to have you as a teacher and it is your professional duty to ensure that they are getting the best possible learning opportunities; having a recognised teaching qualification is the first step towards this.

What will I learn?

You initial teacher training programme will provide you with the basic skills and confidence to start teaching English but is only the start of the learning process. We will teach you how to plan and prepare your lessons, make your own materials and successfully manage your class. You will also study the intricacies of English grammar and phonology.

You will be introduced to a new language to help you understand foreign language acquisition and discuss every aspect of the process with our qualified and experienced trainers.

Most important of all, you'll teach real classes of foreign students and be given detailed feedback from your lessons so that you can develop your teaching abilities in practice as well as in theory.

What qualifications do I need to take the course?

You must be:

  • A native or fluent speaker of English
  • 19 - 65 years old
  • Capable of degree level education
  • Flexible with a good sense of humour and a willingness to teach
  • Dedicated and reliable

Do I need a degree?

You don't need a degree to take our programmes but you must be capable of degree level education and our courses demand a commitment to your studies. If you have 'A' levels or equivalent, previous teaching or work experience or contact with children then this should be sufficient.

Whilst a degree is not required to teach English, many countries will not grant a work permit if you don't have one. However, with a TESOL Certificate it is certainly possible to find work without a degree but it is advisable to check a country's legal requirements in advance of arriving.

I have heard that TESOL courses are really tough.

Our teacher training courses are academically rigorous which is why we ask for a capability of degree level education and a minimum age of 19. There is also a huge amount of content to be covered in just a short time as well as additional reading and self-study.

It is important to us that all our trainees study in a nurturing and supportive environment and we do everything we can to ensure you will pass your course. If we didn't think you could we wouldn't have accepted you in the first place.

What is the difference between the TEFL International TESOL Certificate and other courses?

TEFL International began as a Trinity course, and was one of the largest and most popular Trinity courses until December of 1999 when we became independent. As a result, the course content of the Trinity and TEFL International courses are quite similar.

Most importantly, all are monitored by external examiners that visit each course at least twice a year. These external moderators set these certificate courses apart from all others.

However, there are a few areas in which we feel the TEFL International certificate holds an advantage. The Cambridge CELTA is specifically designed for teaching groups of adults (hence the "A" at the end of "CELTA").

On the other hand, the International TEFL Certificate trains you to teach young learners as well as adults and individual students as well as groups. We believe that a TESOL certificate offers a more rounded approach to teacher training.

In summary, the TEFL International course gives you the following benefits:

  1. one-to-one meetings with learners of English as well as with full classes
  2. experience being a learner of an unfamiliar language in order to make you think about the problems of teaching beginners
  3. the opportunity to create your own teaching material as a form of practical project which you can take away and use in your future teaching career
  4. experience with younger learners as well as with adults (in some of the sessions)

Why should I take TEFL International course?

There are several reasons why you should take the TEFL International certificate course:

  • TEFL International trainers make every effort to get you through the certificate course
  • The TEFL International certificate is an international certificate, accepted worldwide
  • TEFL International offers one of the widest choices of course locations - great to start looking for work as soon as you finish your course
  • TEFL International is much more involved in your job search than other organisations are. Our Alumni Job Page gives you direct access to hundreds of course alumni-teachers currently teaching in schools with extensive contacts within the country. And we even offer our own "Job Offered" web page!

Does the course meet standard international guidelines?

Yes. Although there is no true body for moderating or validating TEFL/TESOL courses there are internationally accepted guidelines to follow. These state that the course must have 100 hours of input, 6 hours of teaching practice and be monitored by an independent, external body. The TEFL International TESOL Certificate course has, in fact, 120 hours of input and a minimum of 8 hours teaching practice as well as being externally monitored.

What types of people take the course?

We have had trainees from so many different backgrounds that it is hard to give a typical trainee profile. For example, we have a lot of people wanting to teach English during their gap year as well as older people looking for a career change, having been made redundant or moving abroad with their family. We also get a lot of applications from teacher, from the UK and abroad, who want to improve their teaching skills in ESOL.

I am a non native speaker - can I do one of your courses?

We have enquiries from a large number of non-native speakers wishing to train as English teachers and if you fall into this category we are happy to process your application. However, you should possess a high standard of written and spoken English and be confident in an English speaking environment. You may be required to do a pre-course task so that the Director of the Programme can assess your level of written English.

Any work submitted that is not of the required level will have to be re-submitted when it is of an acceptable level. Our PELT Cert TESOL is particularly popular with teachers from overseas who want to improve their teaching skills and gain a TESOL qualification.

I don't speak another language. Is this a problem?

Speaking other languages is not a requirement for teaching English and most schools will insist that you only speak English when you are teaching. When you have decided where you want to teach, having an understanding of the local language can help you adjust socially and culturally and it will be useful if you learn a little before you go. Speaking the local language can also increase you job prospects as it will increase your appeal to local employers.

Where can I take my course?

TEFL International offers one of the largest choices in course locations and continues to add to them every year. We also offer Twin Centre programmes where you can start your training in the UK and finish it in one of our other centres abroad.

Why should I train abroad?

Being trained in, or near by the local area you want to teach in offers a number of additional benefits. Not only will it help you gain a better understanding of your future students' learning styles but it will allow you to adapt to your new environment.

Equally important, it will offer you the chance to build a network of friends during your course that will be in the same position of looking for work and accommodation once you have finished your course. You will also have the support of our centre staff to help you with this.

When can I start?

Our courses run year round in all of our centre locations so you are free to choose when and where you take your course. It's worth remembering that our courses fill up quickly so make sure you book early.

Where will I stay during the course?

All our centres can provide local accommodation during your course and this will normally consist of a private room in shared accommodation or a local pension. Some centres are also able to offer home-stay accommodation if you would like to stay with a local family. In all cases, accommodation will be clean, warm and comfortable.

Some trainees request more luxurious accommodation and we are happy to provide this where possible. During your application process you will be asked for your preferences.

How good will I be at teaching by the end of the course?

Your initial teacher training course will give you the basics of teaching English and you shouldn't expect to finish your development process here. You will however, be provided with the skills and knowledge you need to confidently start your teaching career.

Many schools will offer in-house teacher development workshops and these should be taken full advantage of. Once you have got a couple of years' teaching practice under your belt, you might consider the TESOL Diploma which will open up new career opportunities, such as Director of Studies or Centre Manager. This is also the path to follow if you want to move into teacher training.

When I have finished my course, am I given a certificate and help with finding work?

Once you have successfully completed your training you will be awarded your qualification and given written feedback from your tutor. TEFL International has an Alumni organisation which is supported by a website containing useful teaching resources and up-dates on the latest job opportunities.

Our centre and support staff are happy to offer advice on career opportunities and you will be given advice on employment opportunities and developing your CV during your TESOL Certificate course.

Where can I find work?

There is a high demand for qualified English teachers and our graduates have found work all over the world. Popular destinations include Asia, Central America, Western and Eastern Europe and we have centres in all of these locations so you can start your job hunt before you complete your course.

Is it best to find work before I go abroad?

This largely depends on your personal circumstances and where you want to teach. If you have loads of confidence and the qualifications to back you up, then the adventure of jetting off to a foreign country without a job may be just what you are looking for.

In many countries, employers can find teachers locally and so don't recruit from abroad. On the other hand, if you are not the sort of person to take risks then finding a job before you leave will provide the security you are looking for.

So how do I find a job before I go?

TEFL International has an Alumni Job Page which is a great place to start looking for work. If you decide to take your course in the place you want to work then our centre staff will offer you invaluable advice on where to start your search.

The internet is full of websites with job opportunities and it is worth applying whilst you are still completing your course. Newspapers such as The Guardian on Tuesday have a TEFL jobs section as does the Times Educational Supplement.

When is the best time to look for work?

The beginning of the academic year is the best time to look for work but many schools will hire teachers throughout the year to accommodate for extra classes or replace teachers who have left. For more information about individual countries visit our country guide.

The demand for English teachers in the UK increases during the summer when many schools open vacation centres for overseas students. As most schools abroad run classes only during the academic year, teaching in a summer school is a great way to earn extra money.

Can I find private students?

There are plenty of opportunities to earn additional income through teaching private classes but some schools demand permission first as they fear you might be taking students away from them.

How do I know that a foreign employer is reputable?

The contracts page on this site provides useful guidelines on what to expect from an employer although precise terms and conditions will vary from country to country. If you are unsure about what you are being offered, try looking on Internet forums for more information or ask the employer to put you in contact with existing or past employees.

What sort of commitment will schools expect me to make?

In general, most employers will ask you to sign a contract for an academic year, especially if you are hired at the beginning of the year and airfare and accommodation is included. However, if you are in the country itself, you can often work on a monthly basis or only accept work for specific short-term courses.

Will I be working legally?

It is always advisable to work legally as not doing so can render you liable to fines, imprisonment or deportation. Working legally will require a work permit and a resident's visa and how you get these will depend on the laws of the individual country. In the majority of cases the school will arrange these for you or assist in your application.

What are typical working hours?

In most countries you will be expected to work a 5-day week, although this could include a Saturday, and hours will average between 20 to 25 plus preparation time. Whilst 25 hours does not seem very many it is actually more than enough for most people, especially newly qualified teachers.

What currency will I be paid ?

Almost always you will be paid in the local currency.

Will I be taxed?

If you are legally employed you will usually be taxed at source and pay taxes and other relevant charges to the local government. Some employers will only declare a percentage of your income and pay you the rest cash-in-hand.

Where will I live?

Most employers will provide help in finding accommodation and if you are recruited from abroad, many will provide it as part of their contract although this may just mean it is subsidised. Be prepared to share with other teachers.

I have heard that some schools will pay my airfare.

For contracts arranged from overseas, employers will often pay or contribute towards airfare. In most cases you will be expected to pay for your ticket and then have the cost reimbursed when you have completed your contract.

What sort of students will I be teaching?

This will depend on where you go. Many teachers work in private schools and teach young learners or adolescents in most of their classes. Others work in the public system so will be teaching school or university students which often focuses on exam preparation.

The demand for English for specific purposes continues to grow which includes English for tourism as well as English used in a professional work environment. This type of teaching often pays well and if you have a specialised work background it can provide additional opportunities for you.

The more flexible you are in the work you accept, the more hours you will probably get. Schools are usually quite sensitive to their teachers' capabilities and will try to match you to the most appropriate students.

What should I take with me?

Taking enough money to cover at least your first month's living expenses will help until your first pay cheque arrives. Being able to put down a deposit on accommodation is also useful. Although most schools will have a resource centre, many teachers travel with additional materials that they find particularly useful for teaching.

The materials you receive during your TEFL International training programme will help supplement your lesson plans and it is always an idea to travel with a dictionary.

Where will I earn the best money?

Teaching English is much more than just earning money and if this is your main priority we would suggest an alternative career path, however, Western Europe offers some of the highest paid teaching positions as well as a comfortable lifestyle. The Gulf States, Taiwan and Korea offer good opportunities to save money whilst countries in Asia and South America make up for low wages with wonderful cultural experiences.

Should I take health insurance?

Taking out a good health insurance policy is important as many countries outside of Europe have inadequate national health services. Some schools will offer private cover as part of their compensation package.

What about if I want to come home?

For whatever reason, the dream of living and working abroad doesn't always turn out the way it was planned. Most employers will realise that this happens and understand that an unhappy teacher is often a bad teacher. Many larger schools offer support services to help their teachers adjust to living in a new environment and will do what they can to solve problems.

If you are genuinely unhappy they will allow you to leave as soon as they can find a replacement teacher, however, if they have incurred costs such as travel or visas they may well require you to contribute towards these.

Most employers know that an unhappy teacher is a bad teacher. If you are genuinely unhappy with your position, they will often allow you to quit as soon as they can find a replacement. If, however, they have incurred costs such as travel or visa arrangements, you may be required to repay some or all of those costs. In general, you should thoroughly research the job and country you are going to in advance to avoid such a situation.

How do I apply?

Simply click on the link below.

When do I pay?

In order to guarantee you place on the course of your choice we suggest you pay your reservation fee at the time of applying. Our courses are popular and fill up quickly; you can apply for a course free of charge and without obligation whenever you want but we won't reserve you a place until you have paid your reservation fee.

Unlike other providers we don't ask you to pay your full fee at the time of applying, in fact we don't ask you to pay your full fee until the first day of your course. What we do ask is that the full fees are paid to your Centre Manager by lunch time on your first day. We also ask that fees be paid in $US at the exchange rate offered by TEFL International's local banking facilities. If you have problems with this form of payment then you can make arrangements direct with your Centre Manager before you arrive.

A late fee of $25 per day may be levied if payment is not made promptly.

How do I pay?

You can pay your reservation fee online when you apply by using PayPal through this link . Our online payment system is secure and there is no need to worry about fraudulent use of your credit card details. This level of security is as important to us as it to you.

The easiest way to pay the balance of your fees is by cash but many people prefer not to travel with excess amounts of cash. Cash payments should be approved by TEFL International administration prior to arrival. You can make the remainder of your payment by credit card or bank wire transfer.

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