Another great question from one of our readers.
I have just booked a weekend course at a TEFL training centre in the UK which awards a “TEFL” certificate on completion.
I am worried that it will not be of much use in finding a job or delivering quality lessons. Do you have any experience or comments on this kind of centre?
I don’t know the specific school or program you are asking about, but my guess is that the program is probably fine.
A weekend course is not really enough, but it is a start and it is more than most people who head out teaching abroad have in terms of training.
Such a course is better than no training though probably not the best you can get. In many countries ANY kind of TEFL certificate is fine. Even just a weekend or even a 20-30 hour online course are acceptable. For example, in China, the world’s largest employer of EFL teachers, most schools would certainly accept that certificate.
Will such a certificate help you land a job?
Probably. In most countries no training at all is required and if you have demonstrated an interest in developing your teaching skills by taking a course and getting a certificate, you move near the top of the list. China requires training, but doesn’t really care how much or what kind. They just want to know you have tried to get some basics.
MOST countries or schools that set a requirement for a certificate (note that most don’t) will ask for a minimum of 100 hours of training. Most will accept online courses – only a few will require in-classroom and even fewer will want some observed teaching practice of six to eight hours.
The reader also wrote:
Until finding your site I was of the impression that a “TEFL” certificate was a recognised qualification, now I feel that maybe these centres are running a quite elaborate con.
TEFL certificates are fine. I am not sure what on my website might have suggested otherwise. I would appreciate it if you would tell me as I would like to review it and make sure it says I what I think it should say (I perhaps don’t always communicate as clearly as I should!).
The whole of idea of scams and cons are way overdone in the teaching abroad industry – probably because almost all of us work abroad and the people back home don’t really know (often don’t really even WANT to know) exactly what things are like and how they work on the other side of the world.
TED’s Tips™ #1: Just for reference have a read of these posts: Scams to Watch for in TEFL and The Most Common TEFL Scam and even more on the periphery of that topic – scams from the other side . . . : Apostille: What it is and why you might need one.