This is a review of TEFL Full Circle's "160 hour" cheap TEFL course on Groupon. Just so you know this review was written by someone who has taken several TEFL/TESOL courses and who has years of experience teaching in China, Korea and Taiwan.

And I am not bragging I am just letting you know that compared to some other reviewers this person has something to compare it to.

I took this course not because I needed another certification, but to see what I would get for my money.

This was the first time that I bought a course on Groupon and I found the whole process of getting started to be a bit stressful.

I imagine this was partly due to there being a third party - Groupon and having to make multiple accounts and passwords.

It's probably not too big of a deal if you use Groupon regularly, but it slowed me down and stressed me out initially.

Before I tell you about that here's something to consider...



What does a marshmallow have to do with TEFL?

Have you ever heard of the marshmallow experiment?

If you are just focused on getting a certificate for a job then well, cheap TEFL may help you do that because to many schools the kind of certificate that you get won't matter.

But a cheap and easy TEFL course is just one marshmallow. Getting the job is just the beginning and getting a certificate and a job is just a short term victory.  

What's the 2nd marshmallow?

The second marshmallow is doing your job and what you learn. It's not something you get in a couple of days from a cheap and easy course.

Teaching English to kids is NOT easy.

If you don't know what you are doing you will be stressed out and teaching abroad won't be that much fun since you are going to be spending the majority of your time teaching. You have to apply yourself if you want that second marshmallow. 

More work now means less pain later.

Cheap courses are usually cheap for a reason and some people say "you get what you pay for."

Do you know what the results of that experiment were?

The children that delayed their gratification and waited to get the 2nd marshmallow ended up being more "competant" and successful when they grew up.

So do you want one marshmallow now (cheap and easy TEFL) or two later?

If you teach English to mostly kids this is how to get the second marshmallow.

Now back to the review...


  • 6 month enrolment
  • 26 modules (see below)
  • $39
  • Accredited by ACCREDITAT. Learn more about TEFL Accreditation.
  • 10 business day wait to download your certificate after completion. You can speed it up for about $20.
  • 120 or 160 hour cert. This is a PDF download. You can pay another $10 or so for a hard copy.

Wondering how long an online 120 hour course actually takes? Online TEFL course hours aren't very accurate. I completed the quizzes, test and assignments (17 modules) in like less than 8 hours. I didn't read everything. I zinged through it pretty fast as I have experience and have taken courses before. 

The 10 business day wait seems a bit silly. I suspect they are hoping that you will pay the $20 to speed it up.

"I finished the entire program in 3 days and retained like 5% of the information." - woobv

Overall review

The course is pretty clean and laid out well. There is quite a bit of terminology, definitions and memorization. It's a bit generic and boring.

a textcourse

My complaints:

  • No video.
  • No audio.
  • Seems to focus a bit much on teaching methods, grammar and theory.
  • Lots of jargon that seems a bit excessive to me. 
  • True, there were some typos like I read elsewhere, for example this true or false, "Extrinsic learners can be motivated into intrinsic learners." A few is no biggie, I would just try to correct them.
  • If you make say 3 mistakes and your grade is less than 80% in a unit you have to go back and redo the whole unit not just the errors.
  • Uses the PPP method, but seems to make it overly complex by turning 3 steps (PPP) into 7. I have seen PPP with a warm up and review making it 5 steps yet they add two more steps to it.
  • 2 blog posts. It doesn't seem like an active site. I saw 2 posts: one from 2015 and one in 2017.
  • Generic stock images. They use some images in the course, but they are a little generic and unrelated to the content for the most part.
  • You have to read large blocks and pages of text before answering questions.
  • It's not very memorable.

Do you want to WIN? Or just get by? Because if you want victory then you need to learn real skills for that battlefield 

  • Learn by watching other teachers. Published research suggests visuals like instructional videos provide better learning outcomes.
  • Remember more of what you study. 
  • No wait. You don't have to wait "10 business days" to download your certificate when you complete the course or pay more to get it faster.
  • No additional fees.

Check it out

Here's a look at the course syllabus.

Course syllabus

  • Module 1: Teaching and Learning Ideas
  • Module 2: Teaching Skills
  • Module 3: Managing the Classroom
  • Module 4: Grammar Basics
  • Module 5: Verb Tenses
  • Module 6: Lesson Planning - PPP Technique
  • Module 7: Teaching Grammar with Activities
  • Module 8: Teaching Vocabulary with Activities
  • Module 9: Teaching Phonology with Activities
  • Module 10: Productive Skills - Teaching Speaking
  • Module 11: Productive Skills - Teaching Writing
  • Module 12: Receptive Skills - Teaching Listening
  • Module 13: Receptive Skills - Teaching Reading
  • Module 14: Assessment and Learning
  • Module 15: Technology in the Classroom
  • Module 16: Teaching One-to-One and Business English
  • Module 17: The Importance of Reflection
  • Module 18: Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL)
  • Module 19: Learning and Development
  • Module 20: L2 Learning
  • Module 21: Teaching Listening
  • Module 22: Teaching Speaking
  • Module 23: Teaching Writing
  • Module 24: Teaching Reading
  • Module 25: Stories
  • Module 26: Top Tips for Becoming an Outstanding Teacher


At the end of the course you have to write a lesson plan, do a writing assignment and there are some quizes throughout the course.

I think if you finish up to lesson 17 you can get a 120 hour certificate. That's what I did.


I saw some questions that were asked about this course on the web.

Is this course legit?

It's as legit as almost any other TEFL course. Legit implies legal, well there are no rules when it comes to TEFL. There is no international accreditation. There is no one accrediting body. There are a few more official accrediting organizations like Cambridge for CELTA and a few others.

But much of the accrediting in TEFL is done by businesses. Accreditation isn't provided for free by the government.

Problems with Groupon courses

These are some common problems with the courses on Groupon.

  • Limited to no personal interaction with a human
  • Not interactive
  • Text heavy
  • Little to no video
  • Lack of feedback

These courses are typically text-based courses with little to no video. Studies show that most people read very little online (20-28%). So what that means is that you will likely remember very little since teaching will largely be an abstract concept if you haven't done it before.

Typically courses like this work by having you read a chapter or "module" and then they'll have you take a quiz on it.

These courses are cheap for a reason.

Groupon brings traffic and large numbers which enables course providers to lower their cost, but in doing so they typically lower their service. Any course on Groupon that is cheap will likely not have the sufficient man power to offer you much or any help.

This can happen with other popular or large online course companies as well.

You Can Complete This Course And Obtain Certification In 2 Days For $21 If You Work Hard On It

cheap ez tefl

Full Circle Is An Easy, But Boring Way To Get A Certificate That Makes It Look Like You Know Something

However It Won't Prepare You To Solve The Problems That Are Ahead 

You probably can't see these problems now, because you are not teaching yet, but soon enough you will be and these are some of the problems that you are going to have. 

  1. Bored students
  2. Difficult students
  3. Chaos in the classroom
  4. Students who won't talk
  5. Students that ignore you
  6. Students that don't pay attention
  7. Students who don't want to be there
  8. Students that speak when you speak
  9. Students that speak their native language in your "English" class (You won't know what they are saying and they might be talking about you)

How do you think those problems are going to make you feel?

Stressed, unhappy, depressed, homesick or disappointed with teaching abroad?

That's likely.

Here's how you can solve them

Reviews on other cheap Groupon TEFL courses

Reviews on other online TEFL courses

Those other courses you are thinking about weren't designed to teach English to mostly kids in Asia. This one was.


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