This is the reason why it’s so difficult to choose.
Which is the best online TEFL course? Which one should you take?
It's difficult because there are so many look-alike courses. Many courses that claim to be "accredited", a “120 hours”, "internationally recognized", yada, yada, yada.
This is what happens in a saturated market place.
Consider toothpaste for a moment.
Ever been to the toothpaste aisle to get some toothpaste and just felt overwhelmed?
“Best” and “Best practices” are stupid
"Bests" are for people who are lazy, people who are looking for a formula or people who want a quick answer.
They are for people that don't think that deeply or just don't know where to begin.
I was stupid too when I first started TEFL, but with time I learned and I am going to share with you here some of what I learned.
When you search for the "best" of anything you are likely to find what is popular, but not best and they are two different things.
Think about it.
What's your favorite restaurant?
Now compare that to McDonald's which is popular because it's served BILLIONS.
If you said that depends then the true 'best' online TEFL course is no different. It depends how you measure it. Take it from a famous teacher and marketer Seth Godin.
"Regardless of how you measure 'best' (elegance, deluxeness, impact, profitability, ROI, meaningfulness, memorability), it's almost never present in the thing that is the most popular."
“Best” practices are stupid.
The status quo with TEFL courses
Keep in mind that most information out there on TEFL courses is written by the TEFL courses themselves and not by employers.
Most TEFL course providers or TEFL course affiliates will say take a course that is:
- At least 100-120 hours
This is popular thinking and it's all over the web. But let's stop and look at these things a little closer.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation was originally implemented in college to insure financial aid and trust in the consumer.
(And careful with the word trust as there are sites out there that claim to be trusted but are in fact scams.)
But there is no financial aid in TEFL and you are not in college anymore. 99% of all TEFL courses out there have ZERO affiliation with colleges.
There is no one accreditation organization in TEFL. It's not a requirement. 99% of all accreditors out there are private middle men businesses.
GOACTA a non-profit for universities states in their PDF called Why accreditation doesn't work:
- Accreditation does not guarantee educational quality.
- Accreditation contributes to overpriced education.
- Accreditation undermines institutional autonomy.
- Accreditation involves an exchange of money.
- Accreditation is mostly a secret process.
And that's for colleges, but it’s not very different for TEFL.
"Accredited TEFL courses"
“Accredited” TEFL courses are a dime a dozen and some are fake too (example). Again despite what it may look or sound like the majority of TEFL courses out there have zero affiliation with colleges.
Although most of them model a course out there that is affiliated with a college (at least on the surface) and more on that later.
Did your “accredited” degree make a difference?
Wasn’t going to college partly about getting a job? And was TEFL what you studied in college?
Studies show that 40%+ of degree holders work in jobs that they could do without a degree and another 40% of them are not doing anything related to their field.
Learn more about TEFL accreditation.
Check out all these copycats.
Accreditation is a scam...
...at least it is sometimes. In TEFL any course that claims accreditation either: paid some anonymous organization which often isn't affiliated with TEFL, created a fake accreditation or isn't accredited.
People think deeper.
Well, as long as it's internationally recognized...
The term internationally recognized TEFL certification doesn't mean much of anything. Just like ACTA said above there is no stamp that grants this status.
A TEFL course is designed to teach abroad so it's nature is sort of "internationally recognized".
Those online TEFL course "hours" are fake.
There are no real "hours" or scheduled classes. These courses are all work at your own pace. I completed (a popular) so-called "120 hour" online TEFL course in 8 hours! And I am not alone.
"I did an online Groupon tefl course for a teaching job in China. Was mad easy. Gave me a 120 hour certificate for maybe 5 hours of work." - Fuckjer
It's not just Groupon courses. Learn more about TEFL course hours.
The most reputable course out there is called CELTA and it's the course that everyone tries to copy (at least on the surface). And I am not saying it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
The 120 hour online TEFL course lie
There's a lot of hype around, well, TEFL courses in general, but those “hours”. And you should really keep track of who you are getting your info from because in the case of accreditation it is often said that the accreditors are often made up of people working in the companies that they accredit!
60, 100, 120, 168, 171.26...
Online (and even sometimes in-class) those “hours” are fake.
Unfortunately people copy.
They can't think for themselves and they want to play it safe so they copy what works because they don't want to fail.
It's like the zebra.
I was watching an interesting video with Jordan Peterson (about creativity) talking about zebras and that it's not that their black and white striped coat camouflages them, but rather when they are together in a herd a lion can't pick one out so it's safe for them to stick together.
But as soon as you mark one with a different color paint a lion can get them.
So in other words it's easier and safer to look like and do what everyone else does.
But is it better?
The best online TEFL course
I would think beyond getting a job (the short term) because that’s just the beginning of a year long experience. The thrill of traveling won’t last long. It will be replaced with a 9-5, 2-9 etc.
Do you think a certain TEFL course will help you get a better job?
Lots of courses will tell you that, but that is highly unlikely. On paper all these courses usually look the same to most employers. TEFL certificates are often not legally required to teach abroad and they don't compare to actual experience.
Do you want to have a good experience teaching abroad?
Then you got to think ahead.
Do you think teaching English is easy?
All the things that you are likely focused on now: the excitement of moving to a new country, traveling and getting a job will soon be replaced with a new set of problems.
Teaching is hard.
Don't assume that any course will adequately prepare you to do your job because it probably won't. I've taken 2 different courses online and one partially in a class and they weren't very helpful for different reasons.
1. No visuals
2. Too much theory
3. No feedback
Do you know who you will teach? Kids or adults? It's up to you but chances are if you teach in Asia you will teach children. Most courses model CELTA and the A in CELTA is for adults.
But roughly 80% of the jobs in Asia are for teaching children.
The best course is going to prepare you to teach who you teach. It's also going to show you what to do. And online that's a little more tricky and that's why I created this course.