I am an American living and teaching English (legally) at an academy in Spain. I was an in-class English language assistant for 3 years and I have an MFA in Writing but no formal educational training. I am interested in strengthening this weakness as well as possibly pursuing a career teaching English in Spain. Which online TEFL company should I use? Which online TEFL course should I take? (I don’t have access to or time for an in-person CELTA/TESOL course.) I’ve been looking at places like International TEFL Academy, London Teacher’s Training College, University of Toronto / Teach Away, etc. Any insights or well-intentioned suggestions are greatly appreciated.
1. Go for one that has an accreditation behind it, but check out the accrediting body too – some providers paste a few logos at the bottom of their website in the hope that potential trainees will see the logos and think “oh great, some logos, they must be accredited and well respected”. For example, being an IATEFL member is not the same as having an accredited course (nothing against IATEFL). Being an authorised centre to provide Cambridge exams is not the same as accreditation. Some providers even create their own official looking “accreditation stamp” that doesn’t actually mean anything. So check the accrediting body’s website, see that the provider is actually accredited, and what, exactly, that accreditation represents.
2. Be wary of online course providers who offer a “guaranteed job”. Who exactly are these employers that are willing to say to a training course provider that they’ll guarantee a job to one of its graduates without ever meeting them. “Job placement help” or similar is more realistic.
3. If you can afford one that includes a practical element, even if just a weekend, this is better than no practicum at all.
4. Research, research, research. Thoroughly research the course provider name, variants on the name, etc, and look for good and bad comments around the internet…
Hope that helps.
I would advise that you find an accredited school for TESOL and make absolutely sure that in case the course is cancelled, they will refund you. It’s a lot of money to fork out, so it’s better to be safe than sorry! I have heard plenty of horror stories of people losing their tuition.
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