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Do I Need a TEFL Or TESOL Qualification?

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  • sandyroy
    Participant
    5 November, 2011 at 19:12
    • Total posts: 2

    If you’ve been hanging around in online TEFL forums, you’ve probably wandered across a conversation about whether you really need a TEFL or TESOL qualification. It’s a natural enough question: after all, you may well be planning a career in teaching because you can’t afford to travel without working. And the truth is, in a few countries you can secure a teaching position without a TEFL qualification. The question is – do you really want to?

    It pays to be prepared

    You can always throw yourself in at the deep end. You know, just start teaching without any preparation and see how well you do. But that’s a pretty scary thought isn’t it? Without TEFL or TESOL training you won’t know if what you’re doing is right. And just imagine walking into a classroom full of students and having nothing to say – it’d be like that nightmare where you turn up at school naked!

    Some hopeful teachers just dismiss it as a really (REALLY) steep learning curve. But remember, you won’t have anyone to shadow and it’s difficult to learn from the other teachers if you can’t watch them in action. You’ll certainly learn from your mistakes, but how many will you have to make to equal 120 hours of focused TEFL training?

    Perhaps more importantly, starting to teach without TEFL or TESOL training really isn’t fair on your class. They deserve the best teaching possible and if you aren’t prepared, if you don’t know what to expect, they simply won’t get it. Even if you’re planning to travel to a country that doesn’t demand a TEFL or TESOL qualification, you should seriously consider getting one.

    Improve your job prospects

    Many reputable language schools simply won’t employ you without a TEFL of TESOL qualification. This may mean that you have to accept a job from a less reliable institution – something we really wouldn’t recommend. In more developed countries, finding work without TEFL can be extremely difficult and you’ll probably spend weeks searching for work once you’ve arrived, with no chance of organising your position before you travel.

    A TEFL course ticks important boxes. You’ll get more opportunities to convince schools to hire you and you’ll know exactly what to do during telephone interviews. So even though a TEFL or TESOL course isn’t essential, it is important.

    Sheer demand for teachers means that language schools in less developed countries will accept English teachers without TEFL or TESOL qualifications. Conditions in these schools can be less appealing than in more developed countries, so teachers usually choose these jobs because they want to give something back. But ironically, this is ultimately easier to do if you have a TEFL qualification because you can give your students the education they deserve, and you’ll be better prepared for the often difficult positions.

    What’s more, a TEFL or TESOL course will make you stand out from the crowd. Language schools might not ask for them, but you can bet that applicants with a TEFL qualification go in one pile, while those without go in another.

    :arrow: http://www.star-tefl.com

    lip420
    Participant
    16 December, 2011 at 0:37
    • Total posts: 12

    Reply To: Do I Need a TEFL Or TESOL Qualification?

    Well it’s easy to see that you are a TEFL provider promoting your business. I took a TESOL course, taught in Taiwan, Korea and China and found it to be not very valuable.

    You can read my opinion on TEFL certification if you’re thinking of teaching English in Asia.


    Taught English in Taiwan, China & Korea. Here’s an online TEFL course that you’ll probably like especially if you teach kids in Asia: http://www.course.eslinsider.com/

    Pedro
    Participant
    30 December, 2011 at 2:35
    • Total posts: 3

    Reply To: Do I Need a TEFL Or TESOL Qualification?

    I thought a TEFL and TESOL were virtually the same thing, say for example you wanted to teach in Asia, I heard there’s not much difference between the 2. I just mention this because I’m looking at doing one and then going to China.

    Keith
    Moderator
    30 December, 2011 at 13:37
    • Total posts: 258

    Reply To: Do I Need a TEFL Or TESOL Qualification?

    I thought a TEFL and TESOL were virtually the same thing

    To all intents and purposes they are the same – have a look at this page about TEFL acronyms.

    Keith

    dan
    Moderator
    30 December, 2011 at 14:09
    • Total posts: 589

    Reply To: Do I Need a TEFL Or TESOL Qualification?

    I took a TESOL course, taught in Taiwan, Korea and China and found it to be not very valuable.

    You can read my opinion on TEFL certification if you’re thinking of teaching English in Asia.

    The article you link to has the title "TEFL/TESOL Courses Are a Waste of Money". Well, you’re entitled to your opinion of course, but I have to respectfully disagree. I think some of your arguments deserve a closer look. These are the reasons you list why you consider courses to be a waste of money:

    1. They are not a legal requirement to teach English in many places
    2. They are usually just a preference
    3. There are other preferences
    4. Experience and education degrees are more valuable
    5. They do not replace degrees
    6. They can’t guarantee a better job
    7. They can’t guarantee more money
    8. Everything that you would learn from one you can find online for FREE

    Almost all of these arguments come from a "What’s in it for me" point of view, and may well be true. But if you read the article you won’t find one single mention of the word "student" or "learner" anywhere.

    So where do the students come into the equation? At what point do you stop and say to yourself "Hang on a minute, don’t my students deserve to be taught by someone who is qualified? They’re paying good money after all."

    Still not with me? Well, let’s make an analogy…

    You decide one day to get your hair cut. Where’s the best place to do this, you ask yourself. Probably at a hairdresser’s, you think. If I go there, I’ll probably find someone who’s undergone some kind of training to cut people’s hair.

    So, you happily sit down in front of the mirror, the hairdresser takes out his scissors and gets to work. Half an hour later, you look in the mirror and scream – it’s a complete and total disaster.

    "But what have you done?" you ask. "I paid you 30 pounds and you do this??!! Are you really a hairdresser?"

    And the answer?

    "Well, I know how to use scissors, isn’t that enough? I’ve used scissors all my life, you know, cutting paper, that kind of thing."

    He continues…

    "I could go and get some training, but this place gave me a job without it, and said they wouldn’t pay me any more even if I did get qualified, so I thought, why bother?"

    So, a TEFL course may not be a requirement for you. But spare a thought for your students. Aren’t they entitled to better?

    baileyn
    Participant
    30 December, 2011 at 18:38
    • Total posts: 1

    Reply To: Do I Need a TEFL Or TESOL Qualification?

    Dan

    I totally agree with you. Students are our raison d’être and we always need to ensure that the lessons we give are as interesting as possible.

    Pre-CELTA, I was totally unsure how to do this and relied largely on my humour and wit to achieve this.

    Post-CELTA, and I can honestly say that 80% of my lessons are thoroughly enjoyed by my students. I’m still working on the other 20% :-)

    Nige

    Pedro
    Participant
    5 January, 2012 at 10:00
    • Total posts: 3

    Reply To: Do I Need a TEFL Or TESOL Qualification?

    Any suggestions as to an online course for me? Don’t want to pay through the teeth for one. Just want to get through it and get out there teaching. Also doesn’t matter to me if it’s TEFL or TESOL.

    hirschhs
    Participant
    24 February, 2012 at 7:17
    • Total posts: 4

    Reply To: Do I Need a TEFL Or TESOL Qualification?

    Dan, totally agree. Few mention or seem to regard the student as the centre of the teaching / learning process and yet that is the reality.
    I sympathise with anyone who has spent their money on a poor quality course (and there are plenty out there) but I have even more sympathy for the poor students who have to suffer the ignorant ministrations of an unqualified language teacher.
    Many TEFL teachers wonder why they don’t get paid much and don’t attract respect – well, the answer is at least in part to be found in the notion that anyone can do it if they speak the language! Language teaching is highly technical and challenging if you are to do it well so do your students a favour and invest in your training.

    CFTU
    Participant
    21 August, 2014 at 5:46
    • Total posts: 45

    Reply To: Do I Need a TEFL Or TESOL Qualification?

    This question was asked way back in 2011. We wish to give you an updated reply since the TEFL & TESOL peddlers have a difficult time being 100% truthful about this subject…

    Too many people are spreading the lie that you must have a TEFL or TESOL certificate to teach in China. This is a big fat lie and they need this lie in order to sell you an expensive TEFL or TESOL course.

    Sure, taking a TEFL or TESOL course will improve your teaching skills but less than 400 schools/learning centers out of some 20,000 in China ask for these certificates, and less than 5% of expat foreign teachers in China hold them. IF YOU HAVE NEVER TAUGHT ENGLISH BEFORE, WE WOULD RECOMMEND THAT YOU INDEED TAKE A TEFL OR TESOL COURSE. (CELTA or TESOL are the most recognized/accepted). But do not be misled about WHY you need to buy one of these training programs.

    Because job agents and recruiters are offered BIG commissions if they can enroll you in a TESOL or TEFL course, they too help spread the lie.


    Before accepting any teaching job in China, please visit http://www.ChinaScamBusters.com Know Before You Go and get a free copy of China’s labor laws from the CFTU (Just request by email)

    lip420
    Participant
    31 December, 2014 at 17:44
    • Total posts: 12

    Reply To: Do I Need a TEFL Or TESOL Qualification?

    Just so you know the above link is dead as that article moved. Here is the article on whether TEFL certification is worth it.

    That was based on my experience with my TEFL course. I didn’t think the course I took was worth $1000. It doesn’t mean that a TEFL course will be a waste of money for you. TEFL courses are the standard way to get training to teach. But if you are savvy and independent you can train yourself.

    I also think a skeptical voice towards TEFL courses is not a bad thing especially when many companies misinform and tell lies.


    Taught English in Taiwan, China & Korea. Here’s an online TEFL course that you’ll probably like especially if you teach kids in Asia: http://www.course.eslinsider.com/

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