Updated May 20th, 2018.
Taking a TEFL Course in Southeast Asia is one of the best things that you can do if you’re considering a lifetime of work and travel. Graduates will be rewarded with a certificate enabling them to apply for jobs all over the world – so you never have to go home and save up for travelling again!
What is a TEFL Course?
TEFL stands for ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ and a TEFL Course is the basic requirement for anyone wanting to get worldwide employment as an English Teacher. The courses are generally 4-weeks (120 Hours) Mon-Fri and cost from $1000 – $2000 USD depending on where the TEFL School is located and if accommodation is included.
TEFL Courses can be taken all over the world. You can take a course in your home country before you travel. However, the benefit of taking a course whilst based in the country where you would like to teach can be very advantageous. You’ll get to practice with local children or adults and learn more about the culture and country where you’d like to work. You’ll also gain valuable contacts who may help you to find a job in the near future!
Choosing a TEFL School that’s Internationally Recognised
The truth is, there is no one accrediting body governing the TEFL industry, which is why it can be difficult to choose a legitimate course and why there are so many ‘cowboy’ operators out there.
When choosing a TEFL Course, make sure that the school meets the basic international criteria for TEFL courses by offering 120 hours of classroom time and observed teaching practice. At the end of your 4-week training, you should receive an internationally recognised TEFL certificate, allowing you to travel and teach in many countries across the globe.
What employers look for is a course which has IN-CLASS experience with observed teacher practicals. Online courses are not well accepted by schools, as there is no practical training. Some schools, such as the one we recommend on our website include a detailed report with their certificates, which helps with this.
What do you learn on a TEFL Course?
The TEFL course has a very practical emphasis and deals primarily with the real skills and knowledge needed by teachers in the EFL/ESL classroom. You do not need to learn a foreign language in order to teach and all classes are conducted only in English. The average 4-week TEFL course consists of a mixture of classroom teaching and practical training in local schools. Classes take place Monday to Friday 9 am 3 pm, which equates to 120 hours over 4 weeks.
In just four weeks, you will graduate as a qualified TEFL teacher, equipped with the skills, knowledge and practical teaching experience necessary for you to start your new EFL/ESL career, anywhere in the world!
The TEFL certificate course is divided into six main areas:
1. Teaching Techniques
- Classroom management
- Approaches to language learning
- Teaching vocabulary
- Teaching grammar
- Reading and writing activities
- Creative writing activities
- Pronunciation activities
- Speaking and listening activities
- Warmers and modelling
- Controlled practice
- Language in context
- Textbook review and evaluation
- Games and songs in the classroom
- Classroom discipline
- Teaching beginners
- Teaching advanced students
- Teaching adults
- Teaching individual students (tutoring)
- Teaching young learners
- Teaching Business English
- Correction techniques
- Creating materials
- EFL/ESL terminology
- C.V. Design for your ESL/EFL Career
- Interviewing Roleplaying
2. Language Awareness
- Grammar: Covers parts of speech, simple sentence elements, phrases and clauses.
- Phonology: Covers phonetics, word stress and intonation, rhythm and intonation, sentence stress and intonation, connected speech, problems for EFL/ESL learners.
3. Teaching Practice & Observation
This is the most practical and fundamental aspect of any TEFL/TESOL course. Trainees conduct observed teaching practices, covering young learners and adult students. One-to-one tutoring is usually also covered in the 4-week period.
In TEFL schools based in Thailand, teaching practices will be conducted with local Thai students, which makes the experience authentic and rewarding if you are wanting to teach in Thailand afterwards.
4. Materials Project
With most TEFL Courses, trainees must submit two sets of self-produced teaching materials to use during their teaching practices. This may include flashcards, class handouts or worksheets. Trainees are required to develop original materials. During the last week of the course, you will be asked to present your teaching materials, explain how they were used, how they could be improved, and how they might be used in another context.
Students are normally required to complete two written assignments covering aspects of the TEFL course, these include grammar/phonology/punctuation revision.
Studying before the course is not compulsory. However, it is wise to “brush up” on basic English grammar before starting the TEFL course. Recommended books are:
- Essential Grammar in Use with Answers: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Elementary Learners of English – By Raymond Murphy
- How English Works: A Grammar Practice Book – By Swan & Walter
The internet is also an excellent, free resource for researching anything related to EFL/ESL teaching.
6. Business English for ESL/EFL
Many courses nowadays include a section on business English which is very popular among students. This is the fastest growing and most lucrative market for ESL/EFL instruction. In this part of the course, you will learn about the theoretical and practical aspects required to design a tailor-made, industry-specific course for individual companies or private students. This knowledge, along with our practical assistance and assignments, will equip you with the tools to teach Business English within the tourism as well as other industry sectors. This part of the course is great for teachers who want to supplement their earnings with private students or those that decide to specialize in the business world.
FAQs about TEFL Courses in Southeast Asia:
Will there be an exam?
There is no final examination. Assessment is ongoing throughout the TEFL course and is based on the following areas:
- Completion of Assignments and Grammar/Phonology/Punctuation Reviews
- Successful Completion of Teaching Practices
- Completion of Teaching Materials Project
- Completion of 1-1 Tutoring Project
- Active Participation in Class and Work Groups
- Professional Attitude, Preparedness and Behaviour
- Trainees must obtain at least a 70% overall grade in order to pass.
What types of people take the TEFL Course?
People of all ages take the course from retirees to school leavers and there are often students representing countries all over the world. TEFL attracts adventurous and fun people and you will have no trouble making friends with those who are likely to become future colleagues and travel buddies.
I don’t have a degree and have never taught before. Can I still take a TEFL course?
You don’t need to have any prior teaching experience or qualifications to take a TEFL or TESOL course. The course will equip you with all the skills necessary to conduct effective lessons. The emphasis on the practical aspect of teaching, with observed teaching practice covering primary, secondary, adult and one-to-one levels, will ensure you are confident to step into any classroom.
Why should I do a 4-week practical TEFL Course rather than taking a cheaper online TEFL course?
Having to teach in front of a class of children gives you real experience and this is what future employers are looking for. The majority of people hate talking in front of a group, let alone in front of a class or whole school! By doing your first few lessons under the tutelage of the course leaders, your confidence will grow and make you a better teacher. Employers are more ready to employ you if you are in the country, trained in the country and have real experience in their culture. The course also acts as a motivator to get out there and get a job. You will make contacts in the field and be inspired to start your career as an English Teacher. Doing the course on site will help you ease into your abroad experience by linking you up with a network of new friends, and helping you navigate a foreign culture!
My grammar skills aren’t the best – not sure whether I could make it through!
Believe it or not, as a native speaker, you already know grammar quite well! It’s more the terminology that you may not know. Most TEFL courses assume that you know nothing of the terminology when you start the course, so it’s their job to teach you the basics needed to teach grammar effectively in the classroom.
Do I need knowledge of other languages?
No. TEFL Courses uses the international standard communicative approach to teaching. English is the only language used in the classroom.
Can non-native speakers of English take the TEFL Course?
Applications are welcomed by TEFL Courses regardless of first language or nationality. The only requirements are a proficient level of both spoken and written English and an understanding of the intensive nature of the course. Most schools will ask you for a brief telephone interview to ascertain your level of fluency before your application can be approved. Please bear in mind, however, that some employers may favour ‘native’ English speakers, therefore in certain countries, your employment opportunities may be less.
Is there an age limit?
There is no official upper age limit, but you must be 18 years of age or older for your application to be considered. If you are a person of “more mature years”, don’t let this in itself put you off applying. If you are receptive to learning, you should have no problems. NB: Some employers may have an upper age limit.
Will my TEFL certificate be recognised around the world?
Make sure that you ask this question to your TEFL school before you pay them any money! You are looking for a TEFL course that meets the basic international criteria of 120+ hours of classroom time and 6+ hours of observed teaching practice. Many students asl, “Do I need a CELTA to teach around the World?” In short, the answer is no. Some jobs specify that they want a CELTA but those are rare cases. The vast majority, perhaps over 95% of employers only require the ‘normal’ TESOL/TEFL certification.
Where can I work with a TEFL certificate?
Pretty much anywhere in the world where English is not the native language (and even somewhere it is!). Even in English speaking countries, English Teachers may be required to give lessons to new immigrants.
What are my chances of finding a job after the course?
Your chances of finding a job after your TEFL course are excellent. Many TEFL schools in the field have contacts with schools and can place you in a new job right away. Resources such as Dave’s ESL Café are also helpful for finding employment.
Is the TEFL Course intensive?
Yes, the course is intensive, and you will need to commit yourself to some independent study and lesson planning outside of classroom input sessions. However, if you balance your workload and make good use of your time in the classroom, you will have weekends to enjoy the sights of your beautiful chosen TEFL location!
How do I know if I’m suitable?
If you are to be a teacher of English, a high standard of both spoken and written English is required. This does not necessarily mean your knowledge of grammatical terminology, but your use of English. As our 4-week TEFL course is very intensive, you have to be prepared to work hard and commit yourself. You should also be presentable in appearance. Finally, you need to want to teach. We’ll teach you how – you’ll decide how well you do!
Any recommendations for a school?
For the past 5 years, we’ve been working with Samui TEFL on the island of Koh Samui in Southern Thailand. The founder, Rosanne Turner, originally from South Africa is very passionate about what she does and we’ve known her for years! Kathryn Webb, who is the main trainer on the course is extremely experienced holding a DELTA (Diploma of English Language Training to Adults) as well as CELTYL, (Certificate of English Language Training to Young Learners) so is qualified for teaching adults and children.
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