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Online TEFL courses - worth it?

Wild Jasmyne

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Holds PhD in Packing
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Joined: June 3rd, 2004
Location: Bamako, Mali

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  • Added on: June 19th, 2010
I wasn't sure where to post this but here it is.

I have looked into various TEFL courses through the years and even paid a deposit on one in Morocco that I just cannot attend. Taking the month off from work and leaving my husband is not going to work for me. Now I am wondering about the Online TEFL courses. Are they legit? Which is the best one? What about the in-classroom experience, how does that work? I've seen some good English teaching jobs popping up around here in Bamako, Mali where I live and also in Niamey, Niger and would love a chance to do it but I know nothing about teaching English and would definitley need a certificate so I could learn. Let me know your experiences with it and where I should go from here.


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World Citizen
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Joined: January 12th, 2008
Location: Traveling for a while away from Playa San Diego SV

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  • Added on: June 21st, 2010
From what I heard while taking my TEFL in Bangkok, the big drawback with the online courses is the lack of classroom experience! |
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Kate and Dan

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Holds PhD in Packing
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Location: Toronto, Ontario

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  • Added on: June 21st, 2010
busman7 wrote:From what I heard while taking my TEFL in Bangkok, the big drawback with the online courses is the lack of classroom experience!

This. And it's the classroom experience that will serve you the most when you're working. Everything else can pretty much be pulled out of textbooks and online. The real value add to TEFL courses are the materials you'll generate for use in the classroom and the experience itself.


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  • Added on: January 18th, 2011
I'm also considering doing an online TEFL course but I'm a bit apprehensive that prospective employers might not think that its worth anything especially when compared to the courses that incorporate classroom teaching.

I all ready have one year experience of classroom teaching (mostly with a qualified teacher also in the room but I prepared and taught classes on my own as well.)

Has anyone has feed back from employers either good or bad regarding the online certificate as a basic qualification?


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Lost in Place
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Joined: October 28th, 2010
Location: Erbil, Iraq

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  • Added on: January 18th, 2011
For the most part, employers will ask for a CELTA or equivalent. This means a 120 hours course with observed teaching practice. As on-line courses don't have this, they won't be recognized by employers who demand one.

That said, they do have their uses. Firstly, many provinces in China are now requiring some sort of documentation proving you are an "expert". An online cert is sufficient.

For the most part, employers will only ask for a university degree (legal requirement) and won't care about certs. In this case having even a crappy i-to-i cert will put you ahead of others competing for the same position.

In the end, any sort of training is better than nothing. While you will learn mostly on the job, regardless of CELTA or on-line course, having a basic foundation in teaching principals is useful.
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