Unfortunately there has never been one single regulatory body for the TEFL industry. Right now there are numerous TEFL schools springing up everywhere, all claiming that their course is better than the rest or, that they offer the most accredited TEFL certificate. It can be a daunting task trying to select the right TEFL course in a minefield of choices. So how can you tell the good from the bad? The answer is actually quite simple. Don't overlook the obvious! Here are the 5 things to look out for when choosing a TEFL course.
1. How Does The Website Look? - Is it professional looking, well organised? If a TEFL organization cannot organise a website properly then you can't really expect them to organize a four week TEFL course! 2. Spelling & Grammar - I'm always amazed at the numerous spelling and grammar errors on many TEFL websites. Do you really think these TEFL schools are capable of training you to be an English teacher? 3.
Criticizing Competitors to Win Customers - This is common practice for many cowboy schools who struggle to get enough students to fill their empty courses. They usually ask if you're looking at any other TEFL schools and once you mention a name, they discredit them claiming the certificate isn't accredited, or something along those lines. Any reputable organization will focus on the features/benefits of their own course and won't directly criticize their competitors or get involved in a slanging match.
4. The TEFL Trainers Experience - A good trainer usually means a good course. Ask for details of the trainers experience and qualifications.
Get some telephone numbers or email addresses of previous candidates and contact them for feedback. 5. How Many Students Attend Each TEFL Course - Any more than 16 is far too many.
Many international TEFL courses have 30+ students on each course, which is one reason why they're so cheap. You cannot possibly receive quality TEFL training in such a large group of students. You Get What You Pay For! So what about the actual TEFL certificate? A Word of Warning; Weekend TEFL certificates may be a good introduction to TEFL but they are no longer accepted for teaching Jobs in most countries, especially now in Thailand. The term 'Accredited' is used freely but it holds little essence.
Most employers will expect you to have around 100 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of observed teaching practice with real students under your belt. They will prefer to see how you perform in a classroom and so the type of certificate you have isn't always that important to them. Make sure you choose a reputable TEFL course which has at least 6 hours of observed teaching practice with real students This will give you the confidence to walk into a roomful of expectant faces and not run out again screaming! Good Luck!.
Lisa Walker has extensive experience teaching English as a foreign language throughout Asia. Based in Thailand, Lisa works as a freelance Education Consultant for a number of TEFL schools around the world. Feel free to contact Lisa with any comments or suggestions at: http://www.worldteflschool.com