Choosing your online TEFL course can seem overwhelming in light of the many courses offered in this growing market. Here are 5 features which take courses from zero to hero.
A course must have trusted reviews which are not simply published on a blog or website owned by an enthusiastic graduate, and written by said graduate. No matter how satisfied you were with your course, it is regular behavior to perhaps leave a review of your online TEFL course experience online. But, it is highly odd behavior to pay money for a domain and to start a website, singing the praises of a particular program. The internet is awash with fake, glowing testimonials of such and such a TEFL program and you should learn to differentiate between the planted reviews, and the authentic ones. A growing trend which we have noticed is the business of affiliate reviews. These tend to demonstrate themselves in the form of course graduates working hard to bring in new course students, while earning a commission for themselves, and totally undermines the practice of fair feedback on the web. So if you feel drawn towards a particular course because of its wonderful student feedback, we advise to check that their reviews haven’t been written by over zealous graduates, who might have taken the time and energy to start a school review website and who might request that you mention a certain code when applying for the course. In these cases, you are being sold a course through a graduate who might not have had such a wonderful course experience as they write, but who instead simply wants a cut of your course fee. See our How not to fall victim to a TEFL scam for more information on this.
Picture yourself setting out on a month-long trek, in a part of the world which you haven’t explored before and no little about. You have all your equipment at the ready, but you are unsure of which routes to take that will enhance your overall experience. Logically, in this scenario, you would ideally want to have a local guide with you. The role of an online tutor is similar: he or she will help you through the course and be at the ready when you have any questions, and their feedback and advice will be invaluable in ensuring that you get the most out of your online learner experience. It is paramount to check which type of online tutor support you will be receiving. Some schools offer the whole shebang – meaning a dedicated person who will personally respond to your questions in real time. While some may advertise this service, but in reality you will be directed to a list of FAQs when you find yourself requiring assistance.
Business English and teaching young and very young learner modules.
Online TEFL courses tend to be divided into modules and most course providers generally include the same modules in their offer. These typically cover essential grammar, teaching techniques, classroom management, etc. While these subjects do make for essential inclusion within a course, it is also important to gain some knowledge with regards to the types of students which you can expect to be teaching once you have graduated and find yourself in the first lesson of your new teaching classroom. Even if you have no desire of teaching teenagers/children, or business English, you never know when you might need these additional skills and you should view these modules as backup options, should you find yourself doing a 180. Plus, these modules are often noted on your course certificate and can further your English teaching job abroad application.
Your course certificate in hard copy and e-format.
Whilst most language schools will accept an electronic version of your online TEFL course certificate as part of the application process, it is also recommended that your course provider also issue a hard copy, through the post, that you can keep as backup should a language school insist on receiving this version. Besides, you have paid good money for a certification course so you should expect a good quality certificate upon course completion. Check with the course provider if they offer a time guarantee in when you will receive your (posted) certificate. Ideally, you want to be receiving both your hard copy and e-form certificate within a couple of weeks of submitting your final course module. Once again, some course providers tend to go a bit limp on their service once the course sign-up process is complete and when they won’t be receiving any more money from you. Check the reviews on Trusted TEFL Reviews to see if there are any red flags raised in regards to this. Also, check that receiving your certificate doesn’t incur additional fees. You shouldn’t have to pay to receive your certificate.
Job guidance and after-course support.
It is also essential that your online TEFL course includes constructive help in finding a teaching job and ongoing support after course graduation. Again, these are both advertised by most course providers, but in reality they come on different forms. Regarding job guidance, you need to make certain during the course application process – before handing over any money – that the support provided doesn’t simply consist of them sending you a list of schools after course completion. Anyone can find a list of school by quickly checking names and places on the internet. What you should be striving for is a school which does more – such as helping you choose which country to teach in, assisting with your teaching English overseas CV, providing tips on interview techniques, writing a reference for you, etc. And this support shouldn’t end here. A year or two down the road, you might decide to teach in another location and here the advice of the school will again be indispensable. And what if you find yourself coming up against a brick wall with either your language school, or the country visa process? Once more, you would require professional feedback from your online course provider.
In conclusion, don’t just take what is written on a school’s website as necessarily representative of what the school actually offers, because the service you are expecting, in your mind, might not correlate with what is actually provided. Online TEFL school owners will dance through hoops to get you to sign up to one of their courses. You need to make sure that they will dance through the same hoops once you have completed your course and when it isn’t necessarily in their financial or time interests to maintain an excellent service.
Written by Mia Williams for Trusted TEFL Reviews.
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