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.

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 increasingly require a recognized TESOL certificate. Also, these are usually low paying jobs which certified teachers do not want.

    Although the Trinity CertTESOL is a pre-service qualification, we ften get people joining the course who have experience teaching English. Many of them are taking the course in order to improve their career options.

  • 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. TEFL courses with no 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 five-week 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 (TP) 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 online?

    Yes, we offer five-week and eleven-week online courses as well as a blended option to give you the best of both worlds. Much of the online content can be carried out at your own pace, however as the Trinity Certificate in TESOL is a practical teaching course, you will be required to be online at specific points to carry out the Teaching Practice component.

    Find dates of our upcoming courses here.

  • What is the average pass rate?

    Our pass rate is high as we ensure that we only accept candidates onto the course if we feel they will pass the course. All trainees are given a mid-course appraisal and anyone who isn't reaching Trinity requirements at that point is given very clear guidance on how to achieve a pass grade.

    In our experience, people who struggle on the course often haven't completed the pre-course task or fail to take on advice from their tutors.

    Candidates must pass all five units in order to pass the course. Of these five units, Unit 1: Teaching Skills is the most important and a trainee's overall grade cannot be higher than their grade for this unit.

  • 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. Most reputable employers will request a Trinity CertTESOL (or Cambridge CELTA) on job advertisements.

  • How many TEFL courses are there worldwide every year?

    There are an incredible number of TEFL courses available. However, these range from cheap weekend courses to accredited qualifications.

    The Trinity CertTESOL (and equivalent Cambridge CELTA) are the two main internationally recognised courses which are fully accredited. To find whether a centre is offering a Trinity-accredited CertTESOL course, see if the centre is listed on the Trinity College London website.

    An accredited course is an investment of time and money but shows potential employers that you are interested in a career in ELT. The Trinity CertTESOL and Cambridge CELTA are also moderated, meaning that the quality of training you receive has been assessed. Furthermore, these two qualifications require a minimum number of hours spent teaching real language learners, giving you the practical experience you need for the best start on your ELT journey.

  • 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, with the syllabus and assessment criteria 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?

    There are five assessed units within the course:

    • Unit 1: Teaching Skills
    • Unit 2: Language Awareness
    • Unit 3: The Learner Profile
    • Unit 4: Materials Assignment
    • Unit 5: The Unknown Language Journal

    Assessment on Unit 1: Teaching Skills is continuous and is based on both actual performance and our assessment of your future potential. You will be assessed on your written assignments for Unit 3: The Learner Profile and Unit 5: The Unknown Language Journal and an exam for Unit 2: Language Awareness.

    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 successful candidates the following grades in each unit (except Unit 4): Pass, Pass with Merit and Pass with Distinction. Unit 4: Materials Assignment is externally assessed by the Trinity moderator and for this successful trainees with receive a Pass.

  • What written work is involved?

    There are three written assignments which are assessed as part of the qualification:

    • Unit 3: The Learner Profile
    • Unit 4: Materials Assignment
    • Unit 5: The Unknown Language Journal

    Throughout the teaching practice component, you will collect together your lesson plans and reflections and your observations of peers and tutors to put into your Teaching Practice Portfolio, which is assessed at the end of the course as part of Unit 1: Teaching Skills.

    You will be given thorough guidance on what's expected of you for each written assignment during the course and there are assignment guidelines for you to follow as well.

  • What are the input sessions like?

    We believe in learning through involvement, and trainees are expected to participate in many different ways during the face-to-face input 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.

    For the online course, the the same input is delivered through the use of videos and short presentations.

  • Can you describe a typical day on the face-to-face course?

    We usually start the day together, with an input session of teaching methodology or language awareness. After a short break, we have Teaching Practice (TP), during which you'll teach a lesson or observe your peers or tutor teaching. For TP, you're divided into small groups and you'll work closely with your peers in this group over the five weeks, helping each other with the planning process and giving feedback on lesson delivery.

    After lunch, there are typically another two input sessions as well as time to use the school's resources to plan your upcoming lessons.

    In the evenings and at weekends, you can expect to be working on your lesson plans or the other assignments which form part of the course. There are no classes on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

  • Who are the TESOL course tutors?

    Your course director will be supported by a team of 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.

    During the Teaching Practice component, you'll work with at least two different tutors which allows you to see different teaching styles in action.

    Meet the Active Language teacher training team here.

  • Who are the Teaching Practice students?

    The students are generally Spanish adults. They are fully aware that the lessons are taught by trainee teachers. Class sizes vary but there is generally a minimum of five and a maximum of fifteen.

  • How much work does the TESOL course involve?

    The five-week CertTESOL course is extremely intensive. On the face-to-face course, 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 five-week TESOL course as these could seriously compromise your result.

    The format of the online and blended eleven-week courses is slightly different. We offer one format in which the course is split into two parts: six weeks spent completing the bulk of the modular content with the emphasis being on self-study and a weekly tutor check-in, as well as completing Unit 2: Language Awareness and Unit 3: The Learner Profile; followed by five weeks in which you'll complete the other two written assignments and Teaching Practice. In the other format, the Teaching Practice takes place over the eleven weeks and you can expect to be online, working with your tutors and peers, throughout the eleven weeks.

  • What does the Pre-Course Task involve?

    The task is designed to give you some initial orientation and the Trinity CertTESOL Companion (DELTA, 2017) gives you a great insight into what you can expect from the course and the five units. In the pre-course task, you'll read through the book as well as answering some questions related to the grammar, lexis and phonology of English.

    This task will be handed in at the start of the course.

  • The Applicant

  • What books can I read about teaching ELT?

    When you are accepted onto the course, you'll be asked to complete a pre-course task which is based around the Trinity CertTESOL Companion by Jason Anderson (DELTA, 2017). With the course offer, we also suggest sources for extra reading, if you wish to be more prepared for the start of the course. However, as an entry-level course, we don't require you to have read deeply or wodely around the subject before starting.

  • 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 Communicative Approach in teacher training, where English is the only language used in the classroom for all levels of foreign language students taught. During the course, we suggest that trainees who have a knowledge of their learners' L1 - in this case, generally Spanish - avoid using it in the classroom so they can develop the skills to teach English anywhere in the world.

  • Is age a factor?

    There is no upper age limit but all applicants have to be at least 18 years old.

    In the past, we've had trainees of all ages and backgrounds: university graduates looking to train to teach before travelling the world, people living locally looking for a way to earn money and become a part of the community, people who have spent years in a profession and are looking for a career change...one of the joys of teaching ELT and training on the course is meeting people and sharing this new experience together.

  • 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?

    The world of ELT attracts all sorts of people from varying backgrounds. On your course, there may be several people in their early twenties, some who are recent graduates and want to travel overseas in order to get work experience. Or perhaps older trainees who 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 accredited ELT qualification. However, input and guidance for teaching practice will assume no prior teaching experience.

  • Application Process

  • Are the TESOL course fees refundable?

    Please see the Terms and Conditions section on the Applications Process page.

  • Will you help in adapting to the new environment?

    We can appreciate that coming to a new city to take a face-to-face course can be daunting. Before you arrive, we'll send you further information about the local area, with maps and guidance on where to eat, drink. shop, etc. . At the start of the face-to-face course, we usually organise a chance for you to meet our tutors and peers in an informal setting - a great opportunity to get to know people and get some informal orientation about the city.

  • How much is the cost of living in Cadiz?

    Cádiz is a relatively cheap city to live in, with plenty of local hops where you can buy fresh produce and other daily essentials. Eating out also won't break the bank, although there are a variety of options to choose from: from cheap tapas in a local bar to avant-garde tasting menus by the city's top chefs.

    Some typical prices, in euros:

    • 3 Course lunch out (including wine!): from 10,00€
    • 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 face-to-face 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. The virtual library of the online and blended courses also has lots of links to useful sites where you can find more teaching ideas and ready-made lessons to help you in the future.

  • What about visas and insurance?

    EU citizens are not required to have a visa and, if seeking work in Spain, will not require a working visa.

    Non-EU citizens can take the Trinity CertTESOL course on a tourist visa. Once the course has been paid in full, we will supply you with a letter confirming your place on the course.

    We recommend that you arrange health and travel insurance.

  • Do I have to have an interview in Cádiz?

    No. Interviews are usually held on Skype, unless, of course, you are in or near Cádiz , in which case a face-to-face interview can be arranged so you can visit the school. Interviews typically take around an hour, during which time the interviewer will assess your suitability for the course and carry out a short language awareness activity. It's also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you have about the course.

  • If the Trinity CertTESOL is designed for those with no previous experience, why is there an interview?

    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 errors; 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.

    However, 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 growing 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, Málaga and Córdoba amongst other places, 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?

    You'll be sent a breakdown of your grades on the Monday after the 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 may ask for.

  • Trinity Diploma in TESOL

  • What do we do in the teaching practice block?

    • 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.
    • Depending on when you are due to sit each unit, practice written and phonology exams with feedback.
    • Group input sessions with tutor to prepare the phonology exam.
    • 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 online 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 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 seven-month virtual / online component starts in October or January and you can expect to spend around 12 hours a week working through the different modules.

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

    Intensive, full-time attendance in Cadiz in August (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 positions 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 online 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 with any ages and levels as well as a university degree or equivalent level of education. You will also need a C2 level of English, though you don't need a certificate to prove your English level.

  • What qualifications do I need?

    You need a Certificate in TESOL or equivalent 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. You will also need to demonstrate a C2 level of English, though this doesn't need to be certified.