Are you looking for a sample online TEFL course? Or maybe a refresher course? Perhaps a "taster" course? Or maybe you are looking for just a short course.
Update 2020: I recommend checking out this article on ESLinsider's advanced course to get an idea of what it is like. That post is more detailed than this one.
What sort of things will you learn about?
Here is a look at the syllabus.
- "Engrish" entrance exam
- Teaching methods
- Public speaking
- Learning styles and are they accurate?
- Lesson planning
- Presenting language
- Teaching writing
- Teaching reading
- Teaching listening
- Teaching speaking
- Teaching phonics and pronunciation
- Teaching songs
- Teaching with games and activities
- Classroom management
- Culture shock
- Writing your resume & finding jobs
- Final exam
Currently the topics classroom management and beyond are not available in the free option.
What does some of the content look like?
The course includes reading text, watching videos, answering questions, true and false, assignments and exams.
An entrance exam question in the basic course
Here is a look an entrance exam question in the basic course. The entrance exam is to see if your English level is up to par to teach abroad. There are currently 15 grammar related questions where you have to choose the correct response.
An entrance exam question in the advanced course
In the advanced course there is also an entrance exam which is slightly more extensive, but also more fun. I called it an "Engrish" exam and used some funny pictures like this.
Sometimes you will read bite-sized pieces of text and then answer questions
Many courses online will have you read pages of text and then answer questions. But that is not very efficient as far as learning goes since most people just skim and scan. When there is less to read you will read more AND more importantly remember more.
Throughout the course content and questions are interlinked together. You can't get to the next topic without answering the questions correctly. You'll need to maintain an 80% or higher to proceed.
Sometimes there will be instructional videos
Studies and research on online TEFL shows that video is a much more engaging than text. ESLinsider's courses include a lot of videos. Many of these videos were shot in the classrooms of Korea. These are not boring lecturing videos.
These videos show you what to do in the classroom. I know from experience that it is way easier to learn how to teach by watching other teachers do it vs. just reading about it.
So if you are planning on teaching in Korea or elsewhere in Asia I think you might find these courses to be especially helpful.
Feedback on assignments
The basic course doesn't include feedback. It's an automated course. The advanced course does. The advanced course includes 4 lesson planning assignments that include feedback.
Feedback adds the human element which is often missing in online courses and helps you form a better lesson. Without it how will you know if your lessons are any good?
It will tell you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong and also give you some new ideas that you probably didn't think about.
Are you thinking of teaching English in Asia?
If so you will find a section in the beginning of the course devoted towards doing that.
- Get advice from teachers in China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan (video interviews with teachers in Asia)
- Figure out what kind of school you want to work in
- Get the details on salaries for teachers in China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan
- How to choose the best place for you (country and city not necessarily in Asia)
Is this TEFL course hard? Are the exams hard?
I try to make the course as interesting for you as possible. Just like you should try to make your lessons for your future students. I use a lot of images, short instructional videos and I keep the text in bite size chunks. The course contains a lot of interactive multiple choice type questions to follow up the content you are learning. And you have to maintain an 80% or 85% or higher on some quizzes, but this is easy to do as long as you are falling along.
I don't hide the answers away from you, I put them in front of you.
Why make it more difficult than it has to be?
And then there are writing assignments in the advanced course.
This is the virtual 'doing' in the course.
First I show you how to do it with step by step instructions, then you try it (in writing and/or drawing or video in some cases) then I give you feedback on it. Then depending on your grade you may have to resubmit it.
This takes more effort than the stream-lined course content followed by multi-choice, but the reward is in what you will learn from this which will make your lessons in the future better.
How long does it take to get TEFL certified?
It depends on the course.
ESLinsider's basic course is easier and faster, but it's not as high quality or in-depth. I think for what you get TEKA is much better. As I mentioned I continually update TEKA and work on it to make it more interesting for you. If I can't keep your attention then I am failing as a teacher and the same will go for you with your students.
The assignments in TEKA do take effort and you may spend one day per assignment depending on you. It may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more. If you rush through it you are likely to have more problems and the takeaway for you will not be so good.
You will also have to redo assignments and sections if your grade is not high enough. I've seen people complete TEKA within a few weeks if they are working on it daily. A little each day is the best way to take it.
"Learning is cyclic. Take a first pass, review what you know, pause and do something else, take a second pass, pause again." - James M. Bach
Retakes are allowed.
If your grade is not high enough to proceed then you are allowed to retake parts of the course or resubmit assignments. So as long as you put the effort in you don't have to worry about failing.
There's a PROBLEM with online courses
I go into this in detail here on why most online TEFL courses don't work. The problem is that these courses are low quality and not conducive to learning.
What are these? Searches related to queries in Google are based off of what people are searching. So these show that people are searching for the answers to their courses.
That means possibly 2 things:
- The course they are taking is boring, low quality or just difficult and not conducive to learning.
- They are lazy.
I took a course on Groupon to see what it was like. It was one of the more popular ones there, but I'll tell you what...
It was boring. Black and white and loaded with text so I know that a course like that is not conducive to learning. You won't learn much from a course like that.
So what's the best course?
The course that will prepare you to do your job. So think about who you are going to teach. And think beyond getting a job and the accreditation and if it's "internationally recognized". Think more about doing your job because that's going to be your future and if you don't know what you are doing then you are unlikely to enjoy your experience abroad.
A good online course is going to optimize learning for you, but you still have to do your part.