Monday, June 20, 2005
TEFL Certificates -Q & A with an EFL Mom
Re. a TEFL cert: if your priority is getting a job quickly, and you're not certain the city/region you've chosen to work in is right for you, then it's a good idea to take your TEFL course there, rather than in your home country. That way, you're not completely committed to the city, and can also make job contacts while taking your course. There's another reason I think Bangkok is a good choice for the two of you. There are loads of courses on offer there, and in other parts of Thailand, too. If you'd like a vacation and course in one, there are several outside
of Bangkok that could be a good option; you could still make good contacts, and learn about the culture all at once.
My boyfriend took a TEFL Int'l course in China, and was reasonably pleased with it; I think their courses are relatively consistent in terms of content, regardless of where they're offered. What appealed to me about the course I chose was that it was part time - and its installment plan, as I didn't know how I'd pay for it! I managed to get a painting commission to pay for the course. Overall, I was disappointed in the program: it wasn't rigorous, offered virtually no grammar, and though it was billed as a 120-hour course, it was more like 70, as the instructor (who ran the institute) was late by 30-40 minutes nearly every day, and we had a half-hour - or longer - lunch that somehow was counted as "coursework".
Teachers often say "all TEFL courses are all the same," but they're not. Read up on feedback for any course you're interested in; though the background of the writer is likely quite different from yours (you're not a "typical" teacher, though there are all kinds), there should be patterns in the reviews posted on message boards. Also, if you've narrowed down the location of the TEFL course, post a query on an EFL board for teachers working in that reason. They won't hesitate to spout off about the institute, even if they've never taken a course there!
Jennifer: Do you happen to know the difference between the CELTA and the TEFL course?
E: I researched them quite a bit before I decided on one. People who've
taken one nearly always recommend the program they took over any other options. If you'd like to teach in Europe, the CELTA's a good one to take. It's best for those
who want to teach adults, who want an intense grammar review, and who see teaching EFL as a long-term career. CELTA's standard and of quite high quality everywhere. TEFL courses can vary a lot, as I mentioned before. In Thailand, they just require a TEFL cert, though of course a CELTA's fine, too.
Jennifer: I have been toying with the idea of taking a course in Thailand at one of the resorts.
E: It could be a vacation and crash EFL course in one. The CELTA's very intense. People say TEFL is, too, but most TEFL courses don't seem to reach that level of demand for study time.
Jennifer: The contacts [if taking the course in Bangkok] would be good, but of course, I don't know which courses are good.
E: Y'know, most anyone in the industry really believes that experience is the best teacher, and a TEFL is just a base from which to begin.
Frankly, I wouldn't recommend the course I took, but most of them it
seems have similar standards. You'll want a 120-hour course with a
good deal of practice teaching, too.
Also, I volunteer taught as part of the course at a women's organization in BKK. It could be a good place to practice. The students were amazing. I can look up the info sometime if you'd like.
Jennifer: I know the one at Vancouver Community College here in Vancouver is excellent. Is Trinity available in Thailand?
E: Hmm. I'm not sure. Check http://www.ajarn.com . They should have some relevant information there, or you can post the question to those currently in the know.
Posted by Ebriel