Feedback Friday!

Here Ruth, a trainee from the summer 2015, shares her experiences of the Trinity Certificate in TESOL ccathedral from Santa Maria beachourse at Active Language, Cádiz. She writes about how she got here and the choices she was faced with, about Cádiz and about the course itself.

Anybody with the right qualifications and motivations can apply for the course, irrespective of previous teaching experience, in fact most people start with zero teaching experience. Our job as course tutors is to help everyone improve their teaching as much as possible over the five week course.

As you can see Ruth was an experienced teacher before she came on the course and clearly developed her teaching significantly while she was on the course. So over to Ruth…

Which way to turn?

So I’d secured a year’s career break from my post-primary teaching job in the UK and decided that, 20 years since I’d first thought about it, I’d start my year out by doing a English Language teaching course. Googling this led to a bewildering variety of choices: weekend short courses or intensive 4 week ones? Home or abroad?  TEFL or TESOL? CELTA or Trinity Cert?

Applying for the course

I’m not quite sure what it was that led me to click on the Active Language web link under TESOL providers but I’m so glad I did. Their website interested me sufficiently to contact them about their 5-weeks course that summer. From my first email enquiry I knew that this was a great choice. No question went unanswered and my phone interview with Simon, confirmed that this was going to be a thorough and worthwhile TESOL course to undertake. If I’d been at all apprehensive about my new venture, my mind was completely put at rest in the weeks leading up to my departure.

What’s Cádiz like?Plaza Palillero

And so I arrived in the wonderful city of Cádiz which is a fantastic location for 5 weeks of study. One of the oldest cities in Western Europe, it is a wealth of fascinating sights, yet is a small enough place in which to feel at home very quickly. Never once did I feel vulnerable walking in its maze of ancient streets. Nothing is more than 15 minutes away in the old town and the fabulous beaches of the new town are within walking distance too.

The CertTESOL course

Settling into my comfortable flat with 3 other TESOL Cert students, we wondered what the next 5 weeks had in store for us.  As a teacher for almost 20 years it would have been easy for me to think I knew it all. Furthermore, I had become somewhat jaded with teaching in the UK and the stresses the job was increasingly facing, and was becoming cynical about many aspects of education. Nevertheless, I decided to embark on this course with an open mind. The result? Everything we did was fresh and innovative and I cannot rate the quality of instruction from Active Language’s qualified and experienced staff highly enough.

The Trinity Cert TESOL course at Active Language in Cádiz is an excellent one, not simply in what you learn but in how it is all conveyed. I have spent many years attending professional development seminars and workshops, and can honestly say that nothing has been as useful, nor as clearly and engagingly delivered as this course. Feedback on teaching practice was insightful, positive and encouraging; seminars, where we undertook student activities, were fun and engaging with a very strong element of participation. Assignments are varied: firstly the Unknown Language Journal which is invaluable in putting you in the shoes of an English language learner; a Learner Profile in which you analyse the language skills of one student in your teaching practice group and devise a series of lessons for them; and a Materials Assignment where you develop, use and evaluate classroom teaching materials.

Paramount is the level of support received, not just with your teaching practice and written work but in every aspect of your time there. If you choose, you are placed with fellow students in clean and centrally located accommodation. This not only enhances the social aspect of the course but is great camaraderie on the work front!

The Trinity Cert TESOL course at Active Language is hard work but then I think that’s what you should expect from an internationally recognised and accredited course. The sense of achievement when you receive your teaching certificate is immense as is the feeling of confidence as you embark on your new career, ably equipped to teach anywhere in the world. On top of that you’ve spent five weeks in one of finest places in Spain. I should know: I stayed there for the rest of my career break, returning home very reluctantly!

Ruth Hopkins

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