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Online Tefl/tesol


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Hey All:

I was wondering what is the best place to get a TEFL/TESOL degree. Are some places more respected than others? Is it acceptable to get one online, w/o attending any classes? I plan on teaching English in China (somehow) and I think this would help me, since I have teaching experience but no degree.


Shane Mc Manus

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Merging two near-enough identical topics.

For China, a TEFL course is not generally necessary, but it will open up the better jobs and make you stand out from other candidates. However, there's no widely recognized online TEFL course, and I'm dubious about the value of a course that doesn't put you in front of real live students. The only widely recognized TEFL certificate I'm aware of is the CELTA and that's usually four weeks full time training and is therefore not cheap.

Perhaps someone who's currently teaching English here (or has done so more recently than me) can comment, but for my money you should either invest in a CELTA if you are planning to teach for more than a year or two, otherwise don't bother.

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A TEFL can be pretty expensive, then accommodation on top if you have to go to a city you don't live in. There are some year part time ones but that involved being free to do your teaching practice at times. If you really want to do it, then it's best getting a school to subside it for you. I think English First subsidise their TEFL course if you agree to go teach for them. This may be the best option if you are committed to going and don't want to pay too much up front for your training.


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Because many places in China are so desperate for white faces, big eyes and high noses, it is possible for you to get a job without a BA and TEFL.

HOWEVER, not having a TEFL or BA will lessen the chances that you'll get accepted by a legit school that will honor their contract, or that you'll get to actually choose where you want to go. Generally, those with TEFLs / BA's can say "I want to work for this school", send their resume, transcript / degree copies, and then get the job (after the interview, of course.

Though TEFL's are expensive, I think it's a good idea to look into getting one as it opens more doors as well as prepares you for the classroom. I would not recommend an online TEFL. I think that's a waste of time and offers no real "training".

Has anyone here done a TEFL / TESOL course in China? If so, where did you do yours, and what do you think about the experience?

I did my TESOL in Barcelona, so I'm useless for recommending Mainland courses.

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  • 10 months later...

I've been on the job hunt for a while and am finding a lot of jobs that say TESOL is acceptable.

In this thread (dating back to feb 07) no one ever specifically cited any online TESOL courses that were reputable. Is this still the case now?

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TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language)- this is when you teach English in China

TESL (teaching English as second language)- this is when you teach English in the USA

TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages)-

A good program regardless of name (CELTA, Trinity, TEFL...) should teach a balance between theory and practice in terms of pedagogy/ methodology, include minimum of 100 instructional hours plus a practicum teaching component.

If you just want to teach in China, then it doesn't matter what type of certificate you get (on-line, on-campus, 2 weeks...).

If you're interested in finding out more about TESL/TEFL/TESOL, check out IATEFL (UK) or TESOL (USA), these are 2 of the biggest organizations that provide information on teaching English.

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As Nomad said, it's not so much where you study but rather the accreditation that is on the certificate that determines the value of the certificate. If the cert is accredited by a well know University, such as Cambridge, then the employer can be assured of the quality. If the accreditation is from a lesser known body, then the cert may be viewed less acceptably. The method of study is largely up to you, if you get the same certificate form a range of different courses then choose the form of study that suits you best.

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  • 1 month later...

The BOLAND school in Suzhou, China is where I recieved my TEFL certificate. It was 4 weeks and in front of live Chinese students of varing ages and abilities.. They will spoon feed you for 2 weeks then give you time to prepare some lessons and then your on your own.. with supervision.. Its not so scary... The staff at BOLAND were helpful and able to locate good jobs for the graduates.. I went back to Shanghai and started working for a Vocational College... The pay and benefits were exactly what they said they would be. I have now been in China for 3 years and the TEFL has had some affect on my teaching.. mostly just getting over the nervous stomach.. If you have a degree in something other than education or English.. the the TEFL is worth it...



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