University of Cambridge

Teach English As a Foreign Language – Courses and Training

Overseas careers have become increasingly popular during recent years as people see more opportunities for diverse careers away from Britain. It is a bold step to pack up and move to a foreign country where you have secured a job for yourself. However, it is also an exciting leap of faith to move abroad and start teaching English as a foreign language. But how do you choose which training process? There are so many different ways to become a TEFL teacher, be it in Britain or abroad as well as different course types which grant you different qualifications.

Unfortunately, no universal qualification to become a TEFL teacher exists, but there are courses which are given more credence than others. The Certificate of English Language Teaching To Adults (CELTA) is awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). Alternatively, you can gain the certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Cert.TESOL) through Trinity College London.

These are the two courses that enjoy the highest prestige at English teaching schools around the world, especially if you are hoping to teach in a country where there is high competition from other TEFL teachers. These courses are normally given more precedence than others. There is also another benefit in the fact that these two courses are offered in institutions around the world, so you can learn and gain experience at the same time.

However, if you choose to look for an alternative training scheme, there are several options you can choose between. Online courses are good as they offer students the option to work in their own time and at their own pace. Unfortunately however, most online courses do not give students any hands on experience before they qualify, which means that classroom management, language management and teaching methodology have to be learned once the course is over and the teacher is face to face with pupils, without any guidance from a trained TEFL teacher. Most schools see face to face teaching experience with pupils as a necessity in order to gain the skills needed to be able to teach English well.

There are also intensive weekend courses available which are good as a starting point from which you can carry out more modules at a later date. It is unlikely however that you will be accepted to teach at a school after just two days experience. They are a good idea if you’re not sure if teaching English as a foreign language is for you though.

The most important thing to consider is whether you feel comfortable with the courses offered and if you feel that the training would be enough for you to feel confident enough in teaching young and adult students alike. Also an important point to consider is whether the school that you hope to teach at accepts the course you decide to take. There is no point in completing an online course then finding out that the school you want to teach at only accepts a CELTA or Cert.TESOL certificate.

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