Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are the most frequently asked questions regarding our Trinity Certificate in TESOL courses. If you cannot find the answer to your question here please do not hesitate to contact us.

Helpie FAQ

The TEFL Field and Acronyms

  • Can I get a job without a TESOL certificate?

    Yes, it is possible in a few countries to get teaching jobs without TESOL certification, however this is becoming much rarer as schools and companies where you might teach increasingly require a recognized TESOL certificate. Also, these are usually low paying jobs which certified teachers do not want.

  • With so many English teacher training courses advertised how do I know which to apply for?

    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.

  • TEFL, TESOL, TESL, TEAL, TESL and ELT. What do they all mean?

    TEFL is the name of the field. It means Teaching English as a Foreign Language. All the other terms are also used to describe the teaching of the English Language to students who are not native speakers of English. The main difference is the country where the teaching takes place. TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Second or Other Languages) are standard terms for English language teaching in non-English speaking countries. TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and TEAL (Teaching English as an Additional Language) are normally related to English teaching among immigrant and refugee communities in English-speaking countries. TEFL and TESL are more frequently used in Europe as acronyms while TESOL and TEAL are more commonly used in North America. ELT stands for English Language Teaching.

  • The Trinity Certificate in TESOL Course

  • Can I do the TESOL course by correspondence or on-line?

    No. The Trinity Certificate in TESOL Course is a practical teaching course and the experience you acquire on the course teaching non-English speaking students (with its emphasis on continuous assessment of classroom practice) together with the interaction with trainers and with your fellow students are essential elements and so not suitable for distance learning.

  • What is the average pass rate?

    Our pass rate is currently 96%. Of these around 10% achieve an A grade with B and C grades equally distributed. There is a high pass rate because applicants are screened and their progress is monitored closely during the course. As a result of our careful selection procedures, only around 4% of trainees fail the course.

  • Is the Trinity Certificate in TESOL Course an internationally recognized qualification?

    Yes, it is officially recognised by the British Council as an initial qualification for English language teaching internationally.

  • How many TEFL courses are there worldwide every year?

    Over 600 TEFL courses are run worldwide each year, either full time or part time.

    3. How many people take the Certificate in TESOL Course worldwide every year?

    Currently over 7000 candidates worldwide gain the TESOL Certificate each year.

  • Why choose the Trinity Certificate in TESOL Course?

    The Trinity Certificate in TESOL course is one of the most widely recognized and highly regarded TEFL qualifications. Any potential employer, if they have any knowledge at all of English as a foreign language, will know the Trinity Certificate in TESOL course. In addition, the courses are validated, and syllabus and assessment criteria are fixed by Trinity College London. This assures quality control in a number of areas. All centres are subject to approval by Trinity College London, and have to maintain standards in order to retain this approval. If a centre is failing to meet the required standards, approval to run courses will be withdrawn by Trinity College London. Every Trinity Certificate in TESOL course is moderated by an external assessor. Each Trinity Certificate TESOL course trainer has to be approved by Trinity College London (which includes meeting their requirements regarding teaching experience and qualifications) and has to undergo a lengthy induction process. All the above contribute to the excellent reputation that the Trinity Certificate in TESOL course enjoys.

  • TESOL Course Details

  • How will I be assessed?

    Assessment on teaching practice is continuous and is based on both actual performance and our assessment of your future potential. You will also be assessed on your written assignments and on your language awareness exam. Trinity College award a certificate to all successful candidates on completion of the course. All grades are moderated externally by a moderator appointed by Trinity College. Active Language awards A,B,C pass grades and a D fail grade.

    Much of the success of the Cert. TESOL is due to the high level of rapport, co-operation and friendship established between participants and tutors on the course.

  • What written work is involved?

    During the course a number of assignments are given. These include a record of your experience learning the unknown language, a profile of one of the teaching practice students and a diagnosis of their language difficulties. Some homework is given but your evenings will primarily be taken up with lesson planning.

    All these sessions and assignments are interwoven throughout the course and are geared to provide a balanced and integrated course.

  • What are the Input Sessions like?

    We believe in learning through involvement, and trainees are expected to participate in many different ways during the sessions. Each input session addresses specific language areas and teaching techniques. These are commonly presented via a workshop approach, where your tutor acts a facilitator rather than a lecturer.

  • Can you describe a typical day? How is the TESOL course organised?

    Typically, mornings are devoted to learning about teaching - how to manage groups, how to analyse language for teaching purposes, different approaches to pronunciation and so on.

    The afternoon is devoted to putting it all into practice. Trainees are divided into small groups and these teaching practice groups work with their trainer to advance the learning of practice students. Trainees teach 2 different groups for 2 weeks each, guided each day by the trainer who is supervising them. The trainers endeavour to create a real-life teaching situation by having trainees work with contemporary published materials, keep attendance records and so on.

    After teaching there is group or individual feedback, the opportunity to comment on what has been more or less successful and why. As well as learn from the experience of teaching and watching their peers, trainees also observe 8 live lessons taught by their trainers or other experienced teachers.

    Sample timetable:

    Every morning, from 9.00-13.30 the Lesson Preparation takes place before the teaching practice and Feedback. The Input Sessions take place in three sessions during the afternoon.

    Below is a typical timetable for week 2 of the course.

    Week Two 

    9.00-13.30 Lesson Preparation, Teaching Practice and Feedback.
    15.30-19.00 Input sessions:

    • Monday
    • Teaching Listening
    • Assignment Guidance: Learner Profile and Materials Project
    • Grammar 2
    • Tuesday
    • Creating your own Materials
    • Phonoly 2
    • Teaching Using Video
    • Wednesday
    • Phonology 3
    • Grammar 3
    • Teaching Speaking
    • Thursday
    • Job Slot - Working in EFL
    • Error Analysis
    • Error Correction

    Start and end times, both of the day and of individual input sessions, may vary from course to course. However, the total hours spent in seminars and TP remains the same. There are no classes on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays.

  • Who are the TESOL course tutors?

    Your course director will be supported by a team of 3-5 tutors. They will be responsible for leading input sessions and observing and supporting you through the teaching practice. Tutors are all qualified and with extensive experience in teaching and teacher training around the world. They combine professional expertise with a positive approach and enthusiasm, key qualities in helping their trainees to succeed.

    Meet the Active Language teacher training team.

  • Who are the Teaching Practice students?

    The students are generally Spanish adults. The students are fully aware that the lessons are taught by trainee teachers. Class sizes vary, with an average of 10-12 students. Class sizes should not normally exceed 16.

  • How much work does the TESOL course involve?

    The TESOL course is extremely intensive. Expect to be at the school for about 8 hours a day and to spend a couple more, on average, working at home. It is strongly advised that candidates have no other professional or personal commitments during the TESOL course as these could seriously compromise your result.

  • What does the Pre-Course Task involve?

    Most native speakers of English, although they may use the language effectively, are not necessarily aware of the nuts and bolts of how it actually works. The task is designed to give you some initial orientation. Its function is to raise your awareness of issues and terminology associated with the study of English grammar, vocabulary and phonology.

    The Pre-Course task is an obligatory assignment which should be completed before the course starts. It is divided into two parts:

    • Part one: grammar and vocabulary
    • Part two: phonology

    In each part you will complete a self study task in which you are directed to some exercises from: How to Teach English by Jeremy Harmer (Longman, 1998). You will need this book to complete the task. The task should be handed in on the first day of the TESOL course.

  • The Applicant

  • What books can I read about teaching ELT?

    When you are accepted onto the TESOL course you are given a recommended reading list with your acceptance letter. You will be required to read two books.

  • Do I need to have taught before in order to do the TESOL course?

    No. The TESOL course is designed as a pre-service course for people with no previous teaching experience.

  • Do I need to be able to speak a foreign language?

    No. The TESOL course uses the universally accepted Communicative Approach in teacher training, where English is the only language used in the classroom for all levels of foreign language students taught.

  • Is age a factor?

    There is no upper age limit but all applicants have to be at least 18 years old. While the majority of trainees who take the course are in their 20's and 30's, individuals of all ages teach English. Some employers may have a preference for younger teachers, whilst others tend to prefer more 'mature' teachers who can bring the benefit of business or professional experience to their lessons.

  • Does the TESOL course cater for people with a lack of grammatical knowledge?

    Yes, there are books we recommend you read before the course starts, also there is a pre-course task to complete once you have been accepted onto the course. During the course we have language analysis input sessions to help you.

  • Do I need a university degree to take the course?

    No, you don't have to be a graduate but it is preferred. Whilst the course is essentially practical, it is, however, recommended that applicants should have formal qualifications which would allow entry into higher education in order to cope with the academic side of the course. In some cases work experience may be accepted in place of qualifications. Your application will ultimately be judged on whether we think you are capable and motivated enough to meet the demands of the course.

  • What kind of people take the course?

    Although most course participants are native speakers of English there are sometimes non-native speakers who are fluent in English. A typical course will have several people in their early twenties, some who are recent graduates and want to travel overseas in order to get work experience. Other older trainees may want a career change or be approaching, at, or past retirement age and may want to start another career or earn money while they travel the world. Most trainees have come especially to do the course in their chosen location, while a few are already based there. In addition, although the Cert.TESOL is an initial training course, i.e. for those who have no previous experience of teaching English, there may be trainees on the course who have taught English before and who wish to gain an ELT qualification. However, seminar input and guidance for teaching practice will assume no prior teaching experience.

  • Application Process

  • Are the TESOL course fees refundable?
  • Will you help in adapting to the new environment?

    Yes. There are welcome drinks on the Sunday evening before the course begins, a great opportunity to get to know people and get some informal orientation about the city. On the first day of the course you will receive an info pack with maps and guidance on where to eat, drink. shop, etc.

  • How much is the cost of living in Cadiz?

    Some typical prices, in euros:

    • 3 Course lunch out (including wine!): from €8,00
    • Local bus ticket: €1,10
    • Beer in bar: €1,00 - 1,50
    • Sandwich: €1,50
    • Cigarettes: €2,70
    • Kilo of oranges: €1,00

  • What do I need to bring to do the TESOL course?

    For your teaching practice, you will sometimes need to create materials, so you will need to buy office supplies such us card, scissors and glue. These are easily and cheaply available. It is useful to bring with you some "authentic material" from your place of origin to be used with learners. For example, tourist brochures, newspapers, magazines, video with TV programmes/adverts, city maps, family photos. Don´t weigh yourself down with excess baggage, but a few things like this can be useful and interesting to use in the classroom.

    You will not need to bring any textbooks with you, as the course library contains all you need for essay assignments and lesson plans. To help you during the course you will also have access to computers and the internet for study purposes.

  • What about visas / insurance?

    EU citizens are not required to have a visa. Non-EU citizens can stay up to 3 months as tourists. EU citizens seeking work in Spain will not require a working visa. Health insurance: We recommend that you arrange your own health and travel insurance. British subjects benefit from a reciprocal arrangement between the Spanish and British health service systems for free treatment of basic emergency needs.

  • Do I have to have an interview in Cadiz?

    No. Interviews are by telephone, unless, of course, you are in or near Cádiz , in which case a face to face interview will be arranged. Telephone interviews typically last 20-25 minutes and the applicant makes the call.

  • If the Trinity Cert. TESOL is designed for those with no previous experience, why are there interviews?

    One important reason is for us to assess applicants' language awareness and potential (see points 2 and 3 under 'entry requirements' above). Language awareness includes, among other things, the ability to identify and describe: meaning and differences in meaning; levels of formality; and the basic structure of a sentence. The questions do not require previous teaching experience or advanced study of the English language, and we do not assume knowledge of linguistic terminology - although we would expect candidates to be familiar with basic terms such as 'noun', 'adjective' and 'verb'.

    An additional reason is for you to get the opportunity to talk to a teacher trainer and ask any questions not already raised, and to allow you to consider more carefully whether the Trinity Cert. TESOL is the right course for you.

    Perhaps the main aim is to make sure that we don't offer a place to - and accept money from - someone who we feel does not have a good chance of passing the course.

  • Careers Service: TEFL Jobs

  • What about a future in TEFL?

    TEFL, the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages, is a growth industry. There are an estimated one billion learners throughout the world. There are many opportunities for suitably qualified people to travel taking advantage of their ability to teach English.

    After a few years experience, usually in more than one context, teachers may be interested in going further in their ELT development - undertaking a Diploma or Masters level ELT course can often enhance career possibilities. Apart from teaching, opportunities in ELT can be as diverse as its participants: writing materials, becoming involved in course design, teacher training and so on.

  • Does Active Language provide assistance finding a TEFL job?

    Yes - Prior to graduation we conduct job workshops on a group and individual basis to help with all aspects of job seeking, from CV/resume construction and interview techniques to arranging job interviews and assistance with finding a teaching job. We have links with the TEFL community in Cádiz, Seville, Malaga and Cordoba amongst other places, as well as being part of the Oxford TEFL group, and will be able to give you lots of help and guidance in finding work both during and after the course. The careers service is available to you not only during the course but throughout your TESOL career.

  • What are the chances of finding a TEFL job after completing the TESOL course?

    Excellent. Successful graduates go on to obtain teaching posts in a wide range of countries immediately after completing their qualification. We offer as a part of the course professional development input sessions to help you make the best use of your certificate. The only exceptions tend to be graduates who wish to work in a relatively difficult location (due to demand, timing or regulations).

  • Assuming I pass, what will I actually receive?

    Trainees can collect or phone or e mail for their grades on Monday after course finishes. Later you will receive two certificates. Trinity College awards a certificate to all successful candidates on completion of the course. In addition, we will award you a certificate with details of your grades, which employers often ask for.

  • Trinity Diploma in TESOL

  • What do we do in the face-to-face block?

    • Practice written and phonology exams with feedback.
    • Group input sessions with tutor to prepare the phonology exam.
    • Teaching practice, including lesson planning, observation and feedback from tutors. Time working individually and with support from tutors. You will have 4 internally assessed lessons and 1 externally with a Trinity moderator. You will also have some unassessed, observed lessons so you can get more informal feedback from a tutor. When appropriate, there will be some unobserved lessons so you can get to know your learners.
    • External assessment of phonology and teaching practice with Trinity examiner.
    • The Trinity written exam.
    • Group revision sessions with tutors to prepare for the written exam.

  • Why should I do the course here?

    Our goal is to provide courses which are practical and dynamic and above all meet the needs of participants. In order to do this, our team of trainers aim to be flexible and supportive as well as provide expert guidance, and our course is structured and designed with your needs and objectives in mind.

    The on-line part of the course includes plenty of opportunities for interaction. Our aim is to encourage support and sharing of ideas between participants. To achieve this, we make sure that you are in regular live contact with other course members, working in groups and pairs to complete tasks. We also hold live webinars on modules and have 1-2-1 tutorials throughout the course so you can discuss your progress with a tutor.

    We make use of the latest technology to give you the chance to see and hear your colleagues, and use a virtual classroom to develop discussions on teaching and learning.

    Preparing for the Diploma is demanding and you will feel under pressure at times. We aim to reduce unnecessary stress as much as possible by making sure you have the personal support you need and the focus and direction necessary to ensure your work time is well spent.

  • What is the workload?

    The virtual / On-line component takes place from November to April (approximately 12 hours a week). 

    The extensive, part-time teaching practice in your centre takes place between January and May.

    Intensive, full-time attendance in Cadiz in May (4 weeks) includes teaching practice and lesson preparation, preparing for the phonology interview and exam revision of around 20 hours a week.

    The distance component is compatible with full-time teaching, though we recommend you aim to reduce your teaching commitments if you can.

  • How many people are on each course?

    Individual attention, help and advice is vital on this course and, in order to ensure this, the size of the group is limited to a maximum of twelve. For teaching practice, during the face-to-face block, you will work in small groups.

  • How does the course help me to develop my career?

    This qualification is listed by the British Council as a full qualification under the terms of their course validation and recognition schemes. The Licentiate Diploma will help you to develop your practical and theoretical knowledge of ELT, making you stand out from other teachers. It opens the door to more senior teaching jobs such as Director of Studies, Teacher Training jobs and helps you enter other areas of the profession such as materials writing and so on.

  • Can I work during the course?

    This is a very practical course. Yes, you need to be teaching at least one group and be able to go and watch other teachers.

  • How do I apply?

    To apply for the course you will need to complete the on-line application form, submit written tasks, supply a reference, and have an interview in person, over the phone or by Skype. The procedure is designed to assess your ability to use written and spoken English effectively, to demonstrate an awareness of language and language teaching and learning gained from experience and training. It also assesses your overall aptitude and motivation to complete such a course. You will only be admitted to the course if we feel you are equipped and ready to deal with the challenges it provides. For this reason our pass rate is very high (around 90%). We will help you decide whether this course is suitable for you. The interview is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about the course and decide if it is right for you.

  • Who can apply?

    For entry to this course, candidates must have at least 2 years full-time teaching experience and a university degree or equivalent level of education. The course is open to native and non-native speakers of English.

  • What qualifications do I need?

    You need a Certificate in TESOL / CELTA and a degree qualification. If you do not have a degree you will need to demonstrate in the application process that you are able to cope with a course of study at post degree level.