If you’re planning on becoming an ESL teacher, completing a TESOL certificate program is a great first step on your journey to your new job. In this article, we’ll look at the differences between TESOL and other TEFL certificates, and look at how you can go about getting enrolled in a TESOL program.
What Is TESOL?
TESOL stands for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. The most well-known is the Trinity TESOL course. This is different to a basic level TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or the CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) and is often thought of as a halfway point between the two.
TEFL certificates tend to be the cheapest and most basic sorts of certificates, though of course there is great variation between different types, from online and combination to face-to-face courses, as well as a variety of course lengths.
TEFL programs are run by a vast number of companies. CELTA, on the other hand, is a very specific brand of TEFL program, and is held in much higher esteem with schools. CELTA is also more expensive, more work, and ultimately not necessarily as useful if you want to teach kids.
But what we’re interested in is TESOL. Broadly speaking, TESOL is an umbrella term for all types of certificate that aren’t CELTA – so it is correct to say that TEFL is a type of TESOL. However, when you do a specific certificate like the Trinity TESOL, this is much more respected than an uncredited TEFL course.
Choosing a TESOL Certificate Program
When choosing your course, it’s important to make sure that it has the following minimum requirements in order for you to find a respectable job. There are cheaper TEFL courses advertised that don’t have all these qualities, and while having one of those certificates might give you a basic introduction which would set you up for a voluntary post, it won’t be enough for gaining decent employment.
When employers ask for ‘CELTA or equivalent’, here are the points that your TESOL Certificate Program will need to cover to count as that ‘equivalent’:
- At least 120 hours. Some say at least 100 hours, but 120 is a standard length and your best bet for a minimum grounding in the subject.
- Practical teaching experience. To truly be equivalent to CELTA, you’ll need a minimum of 6 hours assessed teaching practice. Many courses don’t offer this, but depending where you want to teach, this mightn’t be a problem. However, an online only course with no face-to-face learning or teaching at all is unlikely to put you in good stead for a great job.
- Accredited course. If your course doesn’t have some sort of accreditation to guarantee that it’s good quality, steer clear. Also, bear in mind that reviews of previous students mightn’t always be genuine, and the accreditation is what you should really look for. CELTA courses are BC accredited (British Council) and this is the crème de la crème, but well-known accrediting bodies for TESOL are ACCET, TQUK, ACCREDITAT and Qualifi.
As a place to start your search, how about the iTEFLcourse? With options from basic to premium, you can choose a TEFL course that is really tailored to you. Perks include lifetime membership to an extensive job database that that means you’ll never be out of work and the optional specialist module on teaching young learners as well as the TKT (teaching knowledge test). Try a 7-day trial for just $1 to see if it’s for you, and remember that you can contact the learning support tutor from Monday to Saturday if you need extra help.
Other Things to Know about TESOL
You don’t need any prior knowledge or experience to sign up for a TESOL certificate program – it is designed for beginners to learn the basic foundations of knowledge for English language teaching. Having previous experience will be useful for when it comes to getting a job, but isn’t necessary to join the TESOL course.
There is an extension you can do called TYLEC (Teaching Young Learners Extension Certificate) which will give you the specific skill set needed to teach children and teenagers. Like the CELTA, your TESOL course might focus on adults, but to teach younger students it’s important to understand the specific skills needed to conduct great lessons for children.
Areas of study included on your TESOL certificate program will include: classroom management, lesson planning, teaching the different skill sets (speaking, listening, reading, writing, phonics, pronunciation), games and activities, assessing students and more.
Wherever you are, there will be a nearby institute providing a TESOL certificate program and training – it’s a popular course and isn’t difficult to find a place to study. As mentioned previously, a purely online course isn’t the best idea, but if you’d like to learn online then look for a combination course that has a study centre near you for those face-to-face elements of the course. Make the most of your time studying by ensuring you do the background reading, and interact with other students as often as possible to share ideas and tips.