TEFL Course Options

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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The best way to become a TEFL teacher is to gain a recognised certificate in teaching English as a foreign language. There are many different TEFL course options now available, with their own variations in curricula, delivery methods and recognised qualifications. These are on offer at a large number of schools and institutions at locations all around the country.

Some people might say that gaining an English language qualification is pointless, and argue they have already been speaking and writing English for at least twenty years. However it is surprising how much (or little) most of us know about the mechanics of our own language it’s a little like the difference between driving and fixing a car.

For example, not everyone knows their predicates from their past participles. One of the more embarrassing moments in many a TEFL teacher s professional life is not being able to answer an eleven year old Brazilian boy s simple question about grammar. It just sounds right is not a good enough reply. Standing up in front of the class unprepared then is not really a clever career move.

TEFL courses come in all shapes and sizes. These include intensive full-time 4 week programme, part-time and weekend courses, and others held entirely online. Flexible programmes are also available which combine a set number of classroom hours, with time spent studying at home or online.

TEFL training courses should give a good basic introduction to the theory and practice of teaching the English language to non-native speakers. Subjects taught on a typical TEFL programme might include Language Awareness, Classroom Management, Lesson Planning, Career Information, Language Skills, Testing, Error Correction, Materials Evaluation, Methodology and Presentation/Practice Techniques. There is generally significant homework assigned, and assessment can be through a mix of classroom practice, project work and a final exam.

Practical teaching experience acts as a backbone to many TEFL training courses. The reason people take a TEFL is to prepare for standing up in front of a class full of expectant learners and most programmes therefore have a strong practical emphasis which builds confidence and equips wannabe teachers with practical teaching skills. Trainees usually accompany a qualified teacher during a class, and then take a few classes themselves, while under observation.

Many course providers can provide you with a guaranteed position abroad once you have gained your TEFL qualification. This can be useful to people, as they should then be placed with a reputable school in a recognised location, however schools will of course charge for this service.

The entry requirements for most TEFL training courses in Ireland are standard. Potential teachers should have a minimum age of 18, although some course providers specify 20 or 21. Most courses (and all recognised by the Irish Department of Education) require trainees to already have an undergraduate degree. Competence in spoken and written English is of course a given for anyone wishing to take a TEFL training course, and there is generally an interview in advance where you may be asked to demonstrate a high level of English language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. However, it is not necessary to be a native English speaker.

The costs of taking a TEFL training courses can vary, depending on the institution, length of course, and qualification at the end. It is up to students themselves to decide on the course which they think suits their personal situation the best. The vast array of TEFL courses in Ireland means that it is usually easy to find a course that works for you whether that be an intense short course, a customised specialist course, or even a weekend-based option.

Distance learning and e-Learning are other very viable options for potential teachers looking to gain a fully recognised qualification to teach English. Distance learning programmes can suit people who are looking to get a TEFL certificate, but who cannot commit to full time classes, or travel regularly to attend a course.

Whatever way you choose to study for your TEFL certificate, you can be confident that it has been designed and developed by a quality provider and provides you with a fully accredited and widely recognised qualification which will stand you in good stead for landing your dream job teaching English as a foreign language in Ireland and just about anywhere else around the world!

Frank Bolger

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