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  • Learning And Communicative Strategies August 23, 2012
    Communicative strategies are systematic techniques employed by a speaker to express his meaning when faced with some difficulty and the difficulty here refers to the speaker’s inadequate command of the language used in the interaction (Faerch & Kasper, 1983:16). On the other hand, the term learning strategies has been defined as “the higher-order skills […]
  • Review: Teaching Unplugged by Luke Meddings and Scott Thornbury August 13, 2012
    by Hall Houston About 8 years ago, I read an article titled “Teaching Unplugged” by Scott Thornbury in It’s for Teachers magazine. The article described a new approach to teaching languages that de-emphasized coursebooks and other teaching materials, and stressed real communication between students. This approach was loosely based on a Danish film […]
  • Living and Working in Japan: A guide for US Citizens May 23, 2012
    Japan is a stable, highly developed parliamentary democracy with a modern economy. Tourist facilities are widely available, except in coastal areas of Northeast Japan still recovering from the aftermath of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. Below is a comprehensive list of all the information you should read before visiting or relocating to […]
  • Experience a New Culture When you Teach English in China May 21, 2012
    The human desire to help others is an innate one. This is why, despite the negative aspects, people are still very attracted to the profession of teaching, notes Thomas Galvin. It has been regarded for centuries as a very noble job, and no doubt this will continue for centuries to come. Many teachers these […]
  • The Importance of Vocabulary Roots in AP English April 16, 2012
    The Advanced placement exams are very important for students, suggests Joseph Paul, as they look very good on the students’ report cards and also help them to get credit in certain universities which helps them to save a major portion of the tuition money demanded from students who have not cleared the exam. The […]
  • Business Translation: A Useful TEFL Sideline? April 8, 2012
    The use of translation in business is heavily underestimated and misunderstood. However translation has a big part to play in business and is rapidly becoming one of the most useful things an organisation can use to get ahead in the business world. Whether it be using in-house translators to transcribe documents, official papers […]
  • How to Judge the Quality of Language Learning Software March 21, 2012
    We all know that learning a language is a great way to enhance the look of your resume! Fortunately, there are lots of different options available to you to help you make that a reality. Out of the vast number of options available to you, the option that provides you with the most […]
  • The worst ELT interview questions… and how to answer them March 12, 2012
    Some friends of Naturegirl123 were talking about interview questions that they got. Here are some difficult ones to answer and suggested answers. What religion are you?/ Are you X religion? This could be a legit question if you’re applying to a religious school. If you have the same religion as the school, simply say […]
  • Invoice factoring as a way of financing your language school March 12, 2012
    You’re looking into alternative ways to keep the finances in order in your burgeoning language school. Why not consider invoice factoring? Please don’t think of invoice factoring as a loan because it’s actually something quite different to that: it is more correctly defined as the acquisition of a financial asset. What does that mean? […]
  • Language Classes… Heat Up Careers! March 9, 2012
    Whether you love the snow or can’t wait until the warmer days of spring, this is a time of year when we all start to get a little stir-crazy, suggests Charlotte Evans. Winter was fun back in December but now the cold temperatures and extra layers of clothing are starting to feel a bit […]

Choosing a TEFL Course

By Sharon K Couzens de Hinojosa of the TEFL Tips website

There are thousands of TEFL course providers to choose from, so how do you know which one is the right one for you? Below are some things to keep in mind when choosing a programme.

On-campus vs. Distance

Nowadays there are usually two different types of courses. On-campus or distance. On-campus courses usually take about four weeks. So in addition to not working for four weeks, you will also need the money for room and board. Distance courses can be ok, but they need to include the elements below.

On-Site Programmes

There are quite a few TEFL Training Programmes in Latin America. Try searching at TEFL Certification Abroad to find one that suites you.

Free online courses

The Peace Corps has come up with a Guide to teaching English. You could also try TEFL Boot Camp.

The following online courses require a fee in order to participate

English International
TEFL training
INTESOL International
TESOL Direct
The International TEFL Corporation

Online TEFL Course

100 Hours Minimum

Most employers will only recognize those course that are at least 100 hours. An hour is usually 50 minutes. Make sure it states on your certificate how many hours the course is.

6 Teaching Hours Minimum

During your training course you will get to teach real students. You need to teach at least 6 hours, this is in addition to any practice teaching that you may do in front of your peers.

Time in Business

How long has the training program been in existence? You might want to steer away from those that only have been going for a year or two.

Professional Membership or External Certification

Check if the TEFL training program has any Professional Membership, such as IATEFL or the TEFL Board. Also, see if your course provider has external certification. The British Council often certifies schools that meet their requirements.

Stand Alone vs Chain

Chain organization such as TEFL International, CELTA, and Trinity have the same basic requirements for their courses whether they’re in Egypt or China, but the trainers are different. So even though their course in one place may be good, it might not be if you go to a different location. However, chain organisations usually have the weight of the chain name behind them.

Stand Alone organisations are a bit more risky, but there are still great ones out there. They tend to cater more to their trainees by giving them more personal attention. The often also have contacts with local schools to get you a job.


Cost is always going to be a factor, but don’t just choose the cheapest one, because it may not be the best.

Guaranteed Job Placement

Most places should have job placement, but be sure to ask specifically what this is and is may vary from a guaranteed interview to a guaranteed job, which is a huge difference.

Feedback from Past Students

Many course providers will post feedback from teachers who have participated in their course. You might also ask to be put in touch via email with some students to ask other questions. Forums are also a good place to find out about schools. Dave’s ESL Café has a forum specifically for teacher training.

Remember courses are usually a couple thousand dollars so research your programme carefully.

About the author

Sharon K Couzens de Hinojosa is the creator and writer for TEFL Tips, The LA Job List, and The Ultimate Peru List. She enjoys answering people’s questions about TEFLing and Peru.

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6 comments to Choosing a TEFL Course

  • I think you got most of the big points and I’m sure people will find it useful. May I add some points?

    - On-campus courses can sometimes be taken part time
    - “An hour is usually 50 minutes”- this is not true of CELTA courses, where some lesson bits you teach will be as short as 20 minutes, but the grand total will be at least 6 full hours. Not sure about other courses.
    - “Check if the TEFL training program has any Professional Membership, such as IATEFL” – any school can join IATEFL or TESOL just by paying the fee, and IATEFL will not check the quality of schools or courses. I agree, however, that not even bothering to join professional organisations can be a danger sign of a slack school or course
    - I think the word “chain organisations” could be confusing when talking about CELTA, Trinity and some TI courses. The courses and schools will not be owned by Cambridge or Trinity, although it could be offered by an actual chain of schools like International House or the British Council, which can be an additional guarantee of a reaching a certain level of quality
    - “The often also have contacts with local schools to get you a job”- but that might not be any use when you want to move onto another country where no one has ever heard of that particular TEFL certificate

    This might interest readers who enjoyed your post:

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  • david

    Thanks to the legendary Alex for this feedback. His site is highly recommended reading.

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