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Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: November 11th, 2014, 10:52 pm
by xiongmao
Hi everybody,

Can any of you guys who are already teachers recommend a course (or type of course) for breaking into the teaching English as a foreign language thing? How did you all get started?

While I'm living so close to London I think it would be a good idea for me to do some soft of English teaching course next year. Then I'll be all set for some more adventures :oops: .

I know about the CELTA and TESOL. I like the idea of doing these in the UK, especially at a highly rated University here. My problem is that I don't think I could manage one of these at the same time as doing my job.

Are the online TEFL courses any good? I see that to teach in China you need a course that's 120 hours long. That's probably all I need, given I have two degrees and a very long resume.

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: November 11th, 2014, 11:13 pm
by abcdavid01
I'd like to hear it too. I taught English to ten year olds when I was in Shanghai, but it wasn't for very long. The opportunity came up because the local school asked my university for volunteers.

I went to Shanghai on a Study Abroad program through the company CIEE. They also have a program for teaching English that I'm considering:

http://www.ciee.org/teach/

But I think the main problem I had is that the middle school didn't tell me anything. They just told me what classes to go to. I had no idea how much English the students had already learned, so I was just ad-libbing my lessons. So for anyone who's really taught before, how did you create lesson plans?

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: November 12th, 2014, 4:25 am
by Ghost
I'm going to take an on-site course through this organization early next year and then go abroad and teach again: http://www.internationalteflacademy.com/

They have online courses too, and I've learned that the certificates don't mention that the course was online. *wink wink*

That said, even though I have a degree and experience, I'm still doing an on-site course. And it will also be good travel experience.
So for anyone who's really taught before, how did you create lesson plans?
China is notorious for lack of lesson structure/resources/lesson planning. The school I worked at gave us a template to fill in with our plans. We had to turn those in periodically, but by the end of my contract, people quit doing it. They were useless anyway. I'm not a big fan of lesson plans because students are individuals; there is no such thing as a standardized student. Classrooms are dynamic and change as well, and classes have their own personalities too. I just got to know my classes, and that determined how I taught. (Some classes were like hanging out with friends, discussing culture, movies, etc.) Other classes were structured in various ways. It all depended on the students, age group, etc. Sometimes, if it was a special class, I would plan out a list of cool things and get some supplies to prepare. So for a class I'd have to teach in front of parents, I would often have a standard intro to show off their basic conversation skills, play some vocabulary games, throw in a powerpoint, have a dialogue, a little reading, and end with giving a small gift to my students.

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: November 13th, 2014, 11:12 pm
by xiongmao
I helped out in some English classes when I was in China. Really the role of a foreign language teacher in China is just to get the students to talk. I was lucky to assist a few of the other teachers there, and they had some nice games for getting the students to participate and practice their speaking.

Anyway, I'll continue to search for an appropriate course. I haven't yet found a prestigious place offering a course that's not as tough as the CELTA/TESOL. My previous employers ran the CELTA, and I couldn't even do the admissions test for it. Native speakers don't learn grammar from textbooks, they learn it from their mom.

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: November 14th, 2014, 1:40 am
by Ghost
xiongmao wrote:I helped out in some English classes when I was in China. Really the role of a foreign language teacher in China is just to get the students to talk. I was lucky to assist a few of the other teachers there, and they had some nice games for getting the students to participate and practice their speaking.

Anyway, I'll continue to search for an appropriate course. I haven't yet found a prestigious place offering a course that's not as tough as the CELTA/TESOL. My previous employers ran the CELTA, and I couldn't even do the admissions test for it. Native speakers don't learn grammar from textbooks, they learn it from their mom.
Something which most Chinese language centers will not care about, unfortunately. They don't care if they sound like robots, or stiff, or strange. They think languages come from textbooks. (Though it is nice to have a white face with the book. :lol:)

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: November 14th, 2014, 4:20 am
by abcdavid01
Ghost wrote:
xiongmao wrote:I helped out in some English classes when I was in China. Really the role of a foreign language teacher in China is just to get the students to talk. I was lucky to assist a few of the other teachers there, and they had some nice games for getting the students to participate and practice their speaking.

Anyway, I'll continue to search for an appropriate course. I haven't yet found a prestigious place offering a course that's not as tough as the CELTA/TESOL. My previous employers ran the CELTA, and I couldn't even do the admissions test for it. Native speakers don't learn grammar from textbooks, they learn it from their mom.
Something which most Chinese language centers will not care about, unfortunately. They don't care if they sound like robots, or stiff, or strange. They think languages come from textbooks. (Though it is nice to have a white face with the book. :lol:)
Actually I had a tutor over in China to teach me in Chinese. She ended up quitting the school I was at because of exactly that. She tried to go off the books.

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: November 14th, 2014, 4:41 pm
by zboy1
The best English teaching certificates out there are the CELTA, DELTA and Dip TESOL--but all of them cost a lot! So, if you plan on getting one, save up some money, first!

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: November 16th, 2014, 10:23 am
by Seeker
If you really want to teach English then by all means get a CELTA, but if I were you I'd use your IT background and get a job teaching IT, or better yet get a job with a multinational in Asia working in your own field. The latter is easier said than done but with your qualifications and experience at least you'd have a shot. I have neither a CELTA nor a PGCE but I just accepted a new job in Shanghai teaching physics and science that pays more than most teaching jobs in Britain and I know about jobs out there than pay well over twice that and beyond. It can be done, if you've got what it takes there are few limits to what you can achieve abroad.

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: November 16th, 2014, 1:01 pm
by Hero
Doesn't experience teaching English trump the quality of your TEFL courses? What if I just took the Oxford training, then taught English as a second language here in the USA for about 6 months?

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: November 16th, 2014, 11:11 pm
by Ghost
Hero wrote:Doesn't experience teaching English trump the quality of your TEFL courses? What if I just took the Oxford training, then taught English as a second language here in the USA for about 6 months?
You need to check up about the rules and laws of where you are applying. Even now, in some places in China, you could get by without anything. (That's changing though.) Japan requires a degree but no experience. The Middle East requires a degree, experience, and a certification. There's no universal answer because the requirements change from country to country and change even from place to place within the same country or region. Domestic teaching experience may or may not be better than doing it abroad. It will depend on the individual employer and whatever they think.

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: December 13th, 2014, 2:52 pm
by xiongmao
Thanks all.

I am planning to do a CELTA and I have a number of open days booked in January so I can check out some schools. I realise that London is a great place to do a CELTA, given the number of different nationalities there. Also a CELTA gained in the UK will be a little bit more prestigious (although the test is standardised worldwide).

I think my best option is to do a 12 week less intensive CELTA. But if it proves too much I'll quit the day job.

I checked out online options, but the CELTA opens most doors.

As far as providers go, CactusTEFL and International House both look good.

If you have the money (and already have a first degree) there is another option - do a Masters in teaching. I like the look of the Temple University one that they run in Japan. I'm seriously tempted but I'm struggling to understand the entry process (I don't know much about the US education system on which it's based). I'd guestimate it costs around the same as a Masters does in the UK. But you can work when you're a student in Japan which is useful.

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: December 14th, 2014, 5:20 am
by gsjackson
On the testimony of Mr. Peabody, perhaps Cornfed, and one or two others, the CELTA is extremely rigorous. If taken over the course of a month, it will command all your time. Don't know how it would work over three months.

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: December 14th, 2014, 10:07 pm
by xiongmao
Yup, it is rigorous. But in my favour I've done something very useful - I spent quite a bit last year studying a foreign language. And if my job gets in the way I will quit my job and work full time on my part time CELTA.

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: December 16th, 2014, 9:40 pm
by xiongmao
Course booked... but not a CELTA.

I got put off by the CELTA's requirement for referees. I had no idea who to ask. I did my degree 20 years ago and don't really want to impose on anyone in the teaching space, as I barely know them.

Anyway, that got me thinking that a CELTA is too much for now. In China last year they were prepared to let me teach without anything. So I've just booked a far cheaper 120 hour real world/online TEFL course. 20 hours are in the real world which seemed a bit better than the online only things.

In the time spent not doing the CELTA I'll have a go at the HSK tests. I'd love to get the first one done at least.

Re: Best English Teaching Courses?

Posted: January 11th, 2015, 10:54 pm
by xiongmao
OK I've now got my 20 hour TEFL certificate. There's definitely an advantage to classroom based instruction rather than an online course. I also got a good feel for whether it would be worth doing a CELTA.

One GIGANTIC advantage I realise I have is having recently studied a foreign language (jn my case Mandarin). I've reused quite a few techniques I spotted my Chinese teachers using.

Next week I'm going to look at a CELTA school.