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  • Teaching in Thailand June 21, 2011
    By Alex Smith English is the official language of ASEAN – The Association of South East Asian Nations. It is the language of international business and now it is the main language of the internet. This means that in Thailand there is a big demand for native English speakers to teach all age groups how to speak, […]
  • How to Become a TESOL Teacher April 10, 2011
    TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a specialized course that helps students become proficient in teaching the English language. As the world experiences a huge surge in demand for English language teachers, Kathleen Chester notes that ESL (English as Second Language) and TESOL courses are becoming quite popular with residents of place […]
  • An online or onsite TESOL course… which is best? March 19, 2011
    Thinking of doing a TESOL course and can’t decide between doing it online or not? Mich King investigates the pros and cons of the options available to you. Why Choose an Online TESOL Course? Online TESOL courses are designed to offer a flexible and cost-effective method of gaining a professional TESOL qualification. Why Choose an Onsite TESOL Course? Flexibi […]
  • Can TEFL make you more employable? January 24, 2011
    So you’re thinking about making the big move and traveling half way around the world to become a TEFL teacher, but you are starting to have doubts about whether all the hassle is really worth it? You don’t really want to make a career out of teaching kids, so how will it help you? This, suggests […]
  • To Teach Grammar or not to Teach Grammar January 14, 2011
    William Lake poses the eternal TEFL question. This article is about teaching grammar to ESL students. The advantages and disadvantages of teaching grammar to ESL students will be discussed. At this point, it must be noted that different people learn English for a huge number of different reasons. It is my opinion that a vary degree of […]
  • Do I need a TEFL cert to teach English as a Second Language? January 11, 2011
    William Lake poses the question and proposes the answer. So, do you need a TEFL certificate to be an English Teacher? The simple answer is no! There are many options available to you with regards to qualifications and this article is going to look at the TEFL Certificate. TEFL stands for Teach English as a Foreign Language. A […]
  • The History of English Grammar December 12, 2010
    Want to know how it all began? John Lismo explains. The first stage of development of the English grammar started during the early 16th century. William Bullokar wrote and published a book entitled “Pamphlet for Grammar” in 1586. Bullokar wrote the book to purposely address the development of the English language in Latin America. The book contained […]
  • The First Teaching Job in China November 29, 2010
    By Mark Dykstra Its February 24th, 2003, in a 40 degree humid heat, i stepped off the train in Hangzhou City. I gasped for breath, as i dragged my western worldly belongings trying to maintain a fix on where my Teaching Manager was. Void of a teaching certificate, void of speaking any Chinese and having absolutely no […]
  • Bridging the gap between ESL and EFL: Using computer assisted language learning as a medium November 20, 2010
    Dr. Saad Al-Hashash discusses how the use of computer assisted language learning can bridge the pereived gaps between English as a second and English as a foreign language. 1. INTRODUCTION As Warschauer and Healey (1998) point out, computers have been used for language teaching since the 1960. However, the decision to integrate Computer Assisted Language Lea […]
  • The top 5 TEFL questions… Answered! November 9, 2010
    Are you thinking of teaching English abroad, but feel like you’ve got a gazillion questions swimming through your head? You’re not the only one! So, Emma Foers asked TEFL tutor James Jenkin, who has over 15 years’ experience, to answer people’s most common TEFL questions. Q) Which TEFL course should I do? A) There is such demand for […]

5 things you must check before choosing a TEFL course

Unfortunately there has never been one single regulatory body for the TEFL industry, notes Jimmy Krangol. 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 Trainer’s 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!

About the Author:

Jimmy has extensive experience teaching English as a foreign language throughout Asia. Based in Thailand, Jimmy works as a freelance Education Consultant for a number of TEFL schools around the world. Feel free to contact him with any comments or suggestions at

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