Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why should Degreed Teachers take the TEFL Certificate Course?

I often get emails from experienced teachers, who have teaching degrees in the U.S. or England, who ask if its really necessary for them to become TEFL Certified.

While I think its very rational to assume that if one has a teaching degree and often substantial teaching experience then those qualifications/ experiences should be sufficient to find work as an ESL teacher, that is often not the case when planning to teach abroad.

So my response is yes, although unfair, you still need a TEFL Certificate and here's why;

1. Many countries do not recognize foreign degrees. Therefore, any degree acheived outside of the country of your choice is not considered even if it's relevant to the job you are applying for.

2. Even if you are an experienced teacher, teaching English to people who DON'T speak English provides challenges that even the most qualified teacher has not encountered before.

3. While the TESOL course is first and foremost designed to teach English speakers how to teach English in non-native English speaking countries, it is also a great opportunity to learn about the culture of the country. Subjects such as intergrating, cultural differences and challenges living abroad are discussed. Items relating to culture should not be ignored when considering living and working abroad and a good TEFL course provides this as well.

4. ESL is different from other subjects even if one has taught English to foreigners in their home country. In an English speaking country, students are of all nationalities as opposed to a country like France or Italy where almost all the students share the same first language. The methods are different.

Finally, in almost every course, I have at least one experienced teacher on the program and usually they are the ones who are the most excited about the new techniques and fresh ideas they've learned. There's always room to learn more. G.G.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

What to Expect on a TEFL Course

Its hard to know what exactly one can expect on any given TEFL course around the world. Will there be a lot of work? Will I have time to have some fun on the weekends? How much homework will there be? Consider this, if you have never taught English and the goal is to start work as an ESL teacher right after the course then, yes, its safe to assume that there should be a reasonable amount of work.

So here's a run down of the minimum of what you can expect;

Grammar sessions
Phonology sessions
Teaching techniques- how to teach English to people who do not speak English
Teacher Practice- This is the cornerstone to any TESOL,TEFL or CELTA course. There must be a minimum of 6 hours of observed teaching practice. When trainees do not teach, they must observe each other.
At least one written report
At least two tests to measure mastery of Grammar and Phonology

Four weeks is a rather short period of time to turn non-teachers into teachers, therefore every minute of the course counts. My advice is to show up prepared to work and have an open, positive attitude. An open and positive attitude is the first prerequisite to living abroad as an English teacher well.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Teach Abroad as an English Language Assistant

Before commiting to a undetermined stay abroad, why not try a short term internship in the country of your choice first. Doing a rehearsal trip first is a logical strategy which allows the traveller to discover the country, decide where in the country is best for them to live as well discover the culture and establish potentially helpful contacts for the return trip. It's also a less intimidating project than to plan to move abroad, never to return.

Now more than ever, there are many programs world wide which offer such an opportunity but are very expensive. Don't fall for such promotions. While processing time, housing and necessary training are some of the items that carry a legitimate price tag for participation, spending thousands of dollars/euros per week is not justified.

Whatever your interests, do your internet research carefully before signing on with an outfit.

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