About TEFL - Teacher training survey
We conducted a survey to find out more about teachers’ experiences of TEFL courses. We asked them what kind of course they studied, why, and what they thought of it. Over two thousand teachers took the survey. Here’s what they said…
We asked first…
For those who have already taken a course, the CELTA and Trinty Cert TESOL proved the most popular, with 36% choosing one of these two courses. 28% chose another classroom-based course and 17% chose an online course, with or without a classoom component.
A high proportion of those who haven’t yet taken a course are thinking of taking an online course, with 40% saying they will probably go down this route. This is far higher than the 17% of those who’ve taken a course who actually studied online.
Just 18% are thinking of taking a CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL. Again, this is very different to the 36% of those who’ve taken a course. This suggests that a large number change their minds while researching courses, choosing a classroom-based rather than online option.
26% don’t know yet which type of course they want to take.
We also asked the 36% who haven’t taken a course yet why they intend to take one. For 68%, the main motivation is to pursue a serious teaching career. 17% said the main reason was professional development or to improve career prospects, and 12% wanted to try out teaching to see where it leads. The opportunity to travel is the main motivation for just 6%.
Next, we asked which factors influenced teachers in their choice of course. The most important factor turns out to be whether or not the course has accreditation. The cost of the course, the location and the course content come in next.
Answers in the “Other” category included:
It was offered by the school I was working for at the time
Tutor – highly respected in the field
The school was well known for its high standards
Additional extras eg. free gym, 1 week free Spanish lessons
Reputation of the course internationally
I wanted the convenience of home-study
Lots of good job offers asked for same / similar qualification
Interestingly, if we look just at the answers given by the 36% who haven’t yet taken a course, 32% cited cost as the most important factor, with accreditation next at 30%. The professionalism of the website of the course provider came in third at
15%, perhaps suggesting a vicotory in some cases of style over substance.
We asked those who have taken a course how they found out about it and how much teaching experience they already had. The vast marjority found the course through the internet (40%) or by a recommendation (35%). About 39% had no experience, but over 50% were already teaching when they took the course, and 23% had been teaching for more than 3 years.
Of those who took a 4 week course or longer, 40% studied part time. 80% thought the duration was just right, and 13% thought it was too short. Just 2% thought it was too long. Some of the reasons people thought the course was too short were:
We asked everyone how much opportunity they had to put theory into parctice (including writing lesson plans, creating materials and actual teaching practice) during the course. We asked them to rate this on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being 100% theory, and 10 being 100% practical. Here are the results for those who took a CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL:
Other classoom-based courses show a similar emphasis on practical content. Paradoxically, however, 41% thought that this practical content was not enough. and 19% thought that the amount of theory was too high.
The third graph shows the results for those who took an online course. Not surprisingly, perhaps, 51% thought that there was not enough practical content.
One in three paid between £500 and £1000 for their course, with significant number (23%) paying over £1000. 15% received either partial or total funding for their course. 7% of those who took a CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL didn’t think it was good value for money. This figure rises to 10% for other classroom-based courses and 12% for online courses. Some of the reasons given include:
Too many in the class – we were 18 crammed into a small classroom.
The pay back period is too long for me.
It soon became clear that as long as you complete the course you will pass.
There was little individual attention from course tutors.
CELTA is just a name. I got equivalent teaching instruction and practice in a course in another course for free. That course didn’t have the right letters though.
There were lots of other things to pay for, photocopying etc for the classes.
We asked teachers if they felt ready for the classroom after their course. 68% of those who took an online course felt ready for the classroom by the end. This figure goes up to 72% for other classroom-based courses and 83% for CELTA and Trinity Cert TESOL.
We then asked if teachers experienced any difficulties with employers not recognising or accepting their qualification. Of those who looked for a job, only about 6% of CELTA and Trinity Cert TESOL graduates experienced difficulties. For other classroom-based courses the fgure is 9%, and 14% of those who took an online course experienced some difficulty with employers.
Finally, we asked teachers if they would choose the same course again, and whether or not they’ve taken another qualification since their initial one. 36% have taken a further qualification of some kind, ranging from CELTA (for those who took an oline or other classroom-based course), to TKT, to Diploma in TESOL, to MA in TESOL. in total, 76% would take the same course if they had to make th choice again. This figure is 88% for CELTA / Trinity Cert TESOL, 67% for other classoom-based courses, and just slightly less at 63% for online coures.
Of those who tok an online course and wouldn’t choose the same coure again, 59% would chosose a CELTA, and only 12% would choose a duiffernet classroom based course.Of those who took a CELTA or another classroom based course, 18% would choose an online course if they could choose again.
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