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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