If your experience is anything like mine then a TEFL course focused on "young learners" is probably what you need.
What are "young learners"?
Actually, it's a rather pretentious term that is not used to describe "adults".
The only people that use this term are academics or the TEFL course providers themselves.
Employers don't actually use this term.
They say "children" or "kids" like in the image below.
So basically in Asia you can teach adults or you can teach children.
Sometimes you may teach both in the same school, but in my experience and the data that I collected shows that in China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan most jobs are actually for teaching "children".
The problem is your "average" TEFL course won't prepare you well to do your job because...
It's good that you are looking for a specialized course because that's probably what you need.
1. Your average course is not targeted
I took a "general" TESOL course before I taught in Taiwan. TESOL is basically the same as a TEFL course - which I also later took.
It did not prepare me to teach English to children in Taiwan where I first taught.
One of the secrets to getting the most out of a course is taking one focused on teaching the students you are going to teach.
Most TEFL/TESOL/CELTA courses focus more on teaching adults because well, they are CELTA copycats for the most part and trying to serve as many people as possible.
Oh, and if you didn't know the "A" in CELTA is for "adults".
TEFL courses use terms like "internationally recognized" and say they have a "120 hour" course because that's what CELTA did.
But most of those courses are not going to be very helpful if you teach kids.
The best course for you is NOT the one that is the cheapest, most reputable or whatever, it's the one that prepares you to do your job.
You are not a piece of paper and neither is your job.
And getting a job is just the beginning.
Because a lot of courses will say, "We'll teach you to teach both adults and children."
Blah, blah, blah.
Some things can apply to both, but adults and children have different motivations and behaviors.
2. Your "average" online course is a piece of s#@!
Excuse my language.
But if your average online course is anything like the one I took in 2016 then you are out of luck.
If it's a text-based course then you are not going to remember much.
It's going to go in one ear and out the other.
When you combine the fact that it is mostly text, steeped in teaching theory, grammar study and jargon you're going to walk away from it empty handed.
And that means more stress in the classroom and simply said a worse experience abroad.
Teaching English to children is hard because...
- They are high energy
- They have a short attention span
- They are not tame
So that is quite a combination.
And if you are a new teacher then you're adding a 4th element to that mix.
And that's someone who isn't very skilled, but responsible for teaching and leading children.
How do you think that is going to work out?
I know because I was there once.
The sort of online course you need instead
- You need instructional videos because you really need a visual to learn.
- You need less theory and more practicality because you are not a "professor".
- You need more feedback and interaction with teachers or tutors because it helps and you don't often get it right the first time.
This course includes all of those qualities.
Here's your lucky BONUS video on teaching English to "kids"
Here is an introduction video to teaching English to children that is used in the beginning of this course. This is an unlisted video and the only people that currently see this video are those who take the course and you.
Mentioned here is also a comparison of teaching English to children vs. adults or teens.
Young learners range from kindergarten to about 13 years old. They are active, social and creative. They also have a short attention span. The younger they are the shorter it is. They are pretty social and they get motivated by having fun.
Now for a moment let's compare teaching children to teaching teenagers and adults. Teenagers tend to be a bit moodier. Getting teens or adults to talk can be more difficult. They are usually more inhibited than children.
On the other hand their English level is often higher. They tend to be less excitable as they get older and have a longer attention span.
Now back to teaching younger learners.
As a teacher you want to be friendly and warm, but at the same time you want to establish clear rules and expectations. You'll need a lot of repetition to teach young students and beginners regardless of age.
In fact stop and think about it for a moment. What are you good at? How long did it take to achieve that level of expertise? Chances are that it took a lot of practice.
Repetition is the key to learning everything. Yet, even though you want to use a lot of repetition you also want a lot of variety. It's important to vary your activities. Too much repetition without variety and or the proper activities will bore your students.
Later in the course you'll learn more about keeping your students engaged.
It's important that your instructions are simple and clear. It is often better to show or demonstrate vs. just telling them.
Whenever you can you want to use miming to help explain the meaning of a word. If for example you are teaching some action words like running, walking or swimming you can first mime them and have them also mime and repeat after you.
This is commonly referred to as total physical response or TPR. Young learners learn best by doing. I think everybody does, yet children want to do stuff.
Something to keep in mind is that these students (young learners) need organization and structure. You can give them some responsibilities like cleaning the board, straightening their desks, collecting papers, handing out papers, writing on the board, etc.
As mentioned you want to keep your classes active and engaged. You will learn more about how to use movement and variety coming up in the course section on the teacher as a public speaker.
Do you want to feel more confident and have less stress teaching English to mostly children?
Then learn more about this specialized course.