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Jan 07 2013

Should You Do A TEFL Course?

Should you do a TEFL Course?

As I was standing alone at the front of a classroom with about 20 six year old Nepali children staring back at me with quizzical looks on their faces, I wished I had done a TEFL (Teaching English As A Foreign Language) course before I left for my travels.  I had thought about it but I didn’t actually give it enough consideration.  So, if you are thinking about going travelling and are a native English speaker, it is definitely worth giving it some thought.

TEFL Courses

If, like me at the time, you have no idea what your options are, there are a few different types of TEFL courses on offer.  I have listed the two main types: short online or weekend courses and accredited courses.

1.  Short online or weekend TEFL courses

These are relatively cheap and quick to do but they have their limitations when it comes to getting work.  This is because the certificate will be for completing the course rather than an actual qualification.

2.  Accredited CELTA or Trinity TESOL courses

The CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults) and Trinity CertTESOL (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) are more expensive and require a lot more work.  You can do an intensive full-time course, which generally lasts 4 weeks or part-time, which takes approximately 12 weeks to complete.

Which course (if any) should you do?

Once I had made up my mind to do a TEFL course, I had this dilemma and really didn’t know which type of course to go for.  To be honest, I was veering towards the short courses because of the cost.  However, after speaking to a friend and weighing up the pros and cons, I signed up for one of the accredited courses and got my Trinity CertTESOL.  I did that because it gave me the option of teaching in native English-speaking countries as well as non-English speaking countries.  Once I qualified, it opened up many more opportunities and enabled me to teach EFL in my home town as well as abroad.  For me, it was well worth the time, effort and money.

I’m not saying you have to do an accredited course or even get a TEFL qualification of any kind.  Just as I did in Nepal, you can do some voluntary and paid teaching without any TEFL course.  Having been through it myself, I wouldn’t advise it but you can.  If you are thinking of travelling and would like the opportunity of making some money while you are away or want to do some voluntary teaching, it would be worth thinking about doing a TEFL course of some description.

Further information

If you want to do a TEFL course, you need to decide which type of course: a short or accredited course.  Check out the FAQs on the Cactus TEFL website to help you make the decision and look at the jobs on offer.  That will help you with your decision.  You can also check out some of the courses they advertise.  I booked my course through that website.

If you decide to do a short course or if you want to see what the courses are like, you could do a free TEFL taster to see what you think by clicking on the following link: *

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* Affiliate link


    • Liz on 26/01/2013 at 23:58

    At the age of 37, I did a CELTA course (very similar to your “Trinity CertTESOL”) in Vietnam. I found that the training and experience that the CELTA course gave me was invaluable and made me a much better teacher than if I’d done a shorter and less stressful course. Whenever someone is considering a TEFL course I would always recommend they take a course that has teaching experience as part of the curriculum.

  1. Hi Liz.
    Yes, that’s a very good point and thank you for raising it. A course which includes teaching experience is very important and is something employers look for. That practical experience and the feedback is also a great way to grow and develop as a teacher.

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