8 factors to consider when choosing a TESOL or TEFL course
Before you jump into a TESOL or TEFL course, it’s important to look carefully at the different course providers.
8 factors to consider when choosing a TESOL or TEFL course:
1. Does the course provider offer TESOL or TEFL courses? It doesn’t matter which you choose as both refer to the same type of training course. TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is the acronym used more widely around the world although TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is used more often in the UK. Many people feel that TESOL more accurately describes what English language teachers do.
2. Does the provider look like a training organisation or a commercial organisation? Some TESOL / TEFL course providers are highly commercial organisations seeking to maximise their income rather than providing genuine training courses. If you want to be trained to be an English language teacher then it is best to avoid providers that look like they are selling a beauty product rather than a training programme. Photos of happy young people bouncing around on a beach have nothing to do with teacher training.
3. How does the provider label their courses? A course of between about 110 and 150 hours (or one month full time) is a certificate-level course. A course that is around about 250 hours could be described as an advanced certificate. A course that is about 450 hours in length would be a diploma. So, a provider who describes their 150-hour (one month) course as a diploma is not telling the truth and is exaggerating the level of their course to pull in unsuspecting customers.
4. Does the course provider have details of their trainers on their site? Many sites do not include outline details of the trainers. This means that someone seeking training has no idea about their qualifications and experience. In some cases the trainers have only a basic certificate and very limited experience, and simply do not have the skills to provide effective training. Any competent course provider will always have details of the trainers on their site and they should have more than an initial qualification (e.g. a diploma) and a minimum of five years of experience.
5. Does the course provider offer dramatic discounts through daily deals? Where a course provider works with an organisation offering ‘deals’ then it would be wise to be very cautious. While a genuine discount would be fine, those courses that are offered through daily deals with, say, an 80% discount are almost certainly a waste of money. The providers are often merely selling you one very expensive piece of paper masquerading as a certificate rather than a TESOL / TEFL training programme as such.
6. Does the provider offer teaching practice opportunities? Whether a course is taught face-to-face or through distance learning, the course provider should offer opportunities for teaching practice. While it is not essential to do teaching practice (and is sometimes not possible for some people doing a distance course) it can be helpful.
7. A face-to-face course or a course through distance learning? Some face-to-face courses are excellent and some are very poor. Some distance-learning courses are excellent and some are very poor. The defining feature of a good course is not the means of delivery; it is the skills and experience of the trainers. Some people have found their face-to-face course very stressful and this will not suit everyone. Some people cannot do a face-to-face course where they live and so a distance-learning course is their best option. The important thing is to find a provider which can offer genuine training.
8. Is the course independently accredited by a reputable organisation? Independent assessment of courses is important as it helps to reassure people about the quality of a training programme. However, some accreditation bodies are very general and cover everything from dog walking courses to GCSEs. With TESOL / TEFL courses, it’s important to choose an accreditation body which specialises in this area because they have the skills to assess these courses. For this reason, TESOL Direct has accreditation from ACCREDITAT for its 110-hour and 150-hour courses.