The explosive growth in English language teaching has led to a corresponding increase in training courses offered. Unfortunately, not all TEFL courses are of the same quality or usefulness. While many are professionally managed and have good course content, some are of dubious standards. Correspondence TEFL courses, for example, with no method of observed teaching practice, are very questionable. Also, there are programmes offering one or two week introductory courses. Some of these may be very good at introducing you to teaching, but they cannot offer you as much as an intensive month-long course, and will not result in a recognized certificate which employers expect.
Before deciding on a TEFL course, the questions to ask yourself are:
- How is the quality of the course assessed and validated? Many courses are validated by the very people who run the course. This does not lead to objective quality control and the maintenance of high standards. Consequently, most employers will have less confidence in these courses.
- How many hours does the course consist of? Many potential employers will want to know how many hours your course work was and how many hours of observed teaching practice you had. Recognised courses are normally between 120 and 150 hours with a minimum of 6 hours observed TP.
- Is the course internationally recognized? One of the most important factors to consider when choosing English training courses is whether they lead to an internationally recognized qualification or not. Without one, you might miss out on opportunities to teach English in the country of your choice. This is particularly so in the highly popular teaching locations where competition is much tougher and having a certificate a potential employer knows can make all the difference. If you are considering taking a qualification validated by a body of which you have not heard, you should seek advice from, for example, the British Council. Of the few qualifications that are internationally recognized, the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is one of the most well known and respected. Trinity College London externally assesses every course and all successful graduates receive a certificate issued by them.