Wha't the best online TEFL course according to Reddit?
If you go to r/tefl on Reddit and ask this question you might get downvoted like this...
Why is that?
r/tefl is a pro-CELTA kind of forum. It's not a very open minded kind of forum if you ask me. Like other subreddit's there are rules, but in this one there is a bit of anti-online TEFL course sentiment or basically anti any other kind of course besides CELTA.
I can partly understand some of this sentiment which I will explain later.
A lot of people in r/tefl will tell you to get a cheapo to "tick a box"
Not more than a $100?
Not if your goal is to just make it look like your a teacher.
Here are some things to know about Reddit in general.
- Reddit is an anonymous site. Anonymous profiles can promote irresponsible and troll like behavior.
- In the beginning the owners of Reddit created fake accounts to make it look popular.
- Astroturfing is common on Reddit.
Astroturfing=the deceptive practice of presenting an orchestrated marketing or public relations campaign in the guise of unsolicited comments from members of the public.
That's how Reddit was created - by deception.
So if you go to Reddit seeking an answer you're going to get an opinion (biased answer) from someone who doesn't reveal their identity.
Everyone is biased and there is definitely a hive mentality on Reddit.
The most popular subreddit there related to teaching abroad is called 'r/tefl'.
The opinions on Reddit about online TEFL courses range from positive to negative. For the last few years or so I have been using Reddit. A lot of people show up there and ask questions about teaching English abroad.
The opinions or things that you may read on Reddit do not necessarily represent the whole truth, but just one piece of the truth.
Any discussion about teaching in China without a Z visa tends to get locked or banned. But in China I'd say quite a few teachers are there illegally and many of them are on an F visa which is not a legal visa like the Z visa is.
One teacher on Youtube stated that he thought as many as 60% or so of the teachers there are not on Z visas. When I taught there I met quite a few teachers from all over the world and many were not native speakers or did not have a degree.
One of my accounts there was banned years ago for just mentioning it and they say that they will ban users for that. I am telling you this so that you will know in advance that some people there have some REALLY rigid opinions there.
A common question asked there is if online TEFL courses are legit and if so what's the best one?
I thought I'd share some of the thoughts and opinions people have there in regards to online courses.
The general consensus there towards online courses is negative. Or there is a sort of extreme perspective towards either getting the cheapest one or taking a CELTA and you'll defintely find some favoritism there towards CELTA.
According to one former moderator there:
"This subreddit is crawling with CELTA schools. They are trying to make money off you, not help you." - Tarkaan
Some people think that online or in-class is irrelevant
"It's not a matter of whether a program is online or F2F, it's a matter of how good the program is. There are crap online programs just as there are crap brick and mortar programs." - jrooted
I agree with this statement as I have taken both.
Some people think that they are worthless
"Not completely worthless, but mostly worthless.
Obviously this is an extreme analogy but it is sort of like asking if a surgeon could become a surgeon by only studying textbooks." - Thailand_Throwaway
There's some truth to that.
But you can't just learn by yourself or in the classroom on your own. You need some sort of source of information and know how.
You'll learn some things in the classroom, but you just don't learn how to teach out of thin air.
You need visuals to learn how to teach.
You can learn by reading books or taking your average online TEFL course which is going to be mostly text, but most people don't actually read much online.
What they do is skim and scan.
And studies show that most people only read around 20% of a web page.
If you have no visuals the information that you are studying is unlikely to sink in.
However, all online courses are not the same. This course that I created is a visually orientated online course. I made it that way because I learned the best way to learn how to teach is by watching other teachers.
And online you can do that via instructional videos.
Learning in the classroom is good, but most TEFL courses that you take in a classroom are with pseudo students and/or students who you won't be teaching.
I learned a lot by watching other teachers, by reading books and by searching the web.
You can learn online.
Anybody that says you can't has some pretty rigid opinions about learning.
Cynics say take the cheapest course or take a CELTA
There are lots of cynics on Reddit if you ask me.
"The way I see it, you either take the CELTA and spend a month learning something or find the cheapest online course and get it done in a few days. The former if you're planning on teaching for a while, the latter if you're just looking to tick off the "Certification" box on your work visa application." - erufiku
"They are no different from any online TEFL course. Honestly, if an online TEFL course is all you can afford, just go for the cheapest one." - Naliamegod
I personally think this is a little extreme. I mean if you just want to "check a box" then the cheapest TEFL on Groupon might work. However, I think it's wise to consider what you will learn in a course otherwise even the cheapest may be a waste of money.
Some don't recommend getting the cheapest one
"Yeah you can get a cheapo on Groupon, but I would look closely at the course syllabus, content or outline instead of choosing one just by the price." - lip420
Some people think nothing compares to CELTA.
I usually call these people CELTA snobs.
"All TEFLs can be fit into two groups. The first group is the CELTA and the Trinity TESOL. The second group is every other TEFL. If you actually want to learn something, choose a TEFL from the first group." - explosivekyushu
The reason why I call people like this CELTA snobs is because their views are extremely dogmatic and there are a lot people like this on "r/tefl".
Some people think what's learned in an online course is comparable to a CELTA
Of course it depends on the course that you are talking about, but some think that you can learn just as much in an online course as you can in a CELTA.
"People often wrongly conflate knowledge with certificate prestige - don't do that.
At the end of the day online TEFL courses teach almost identical material to the CELTA. What if they don't? You can go google right now their syllabus and the textbooks they use. CELTA isn't offering anything special." - squatcat
That's an interesting point.
I actually think that most TEFL courses and online TEFL courses out there are CELTA copy cats at least on the surface.
Some think that they are a good start
"Many people have never taught before or have very little teaching experience, and are unsure if they will even enjoy TEFL. It would be a huge waste to spend $2000 on a CELTA and then discover you hate teaching after 6 months." - Ficklestix
I think that is a good point.
Even worse would be the two people that I met who took a CELTA course and never even taught abroad.
If you are not sure how long you will be teaching for then why invest a lot of money in it? On the other hand most people teach for a year and that can be a long miserable time for you and your students and boss so you might want to find a good course.
Those are some opinions on Reddit about Groupon TEFL courses vs. CELTA
You'll find an array of opinions and thoughts on online TEFL courses.
What's the best course for you?
Do your research and think past getting a job. Getting a job is just the beginning and if you are not savvy in that clasroom then it's going to be a long year. Teaching is not easy.
If you are planning on teaching mostly children (most jobs in Asia) and you want to feel confident in your classroom and ultimately want a better experience abroad then I recommend this course.