5 Worst Online TEFL Courses 2023 Blacklisted Online TEFL Programs ESLinsider TEFL Footprints Recruiting ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd ITTT MyTEFL The TEFL Academy World TEFL Institute X Fake TEFL Accreditations X Online TEFL Course Scams X TEFL Programs Fact-Checked X TEFL Watchdog

5 Worst TEFL Courses 2023

5 Worst TEFL Courses 2023, written by Mia Williams – co-founder of Trusted TEFL Reviews.

This 5 Worst TEFL Courses 2023 article has been updated on December 1st, 2022.

There are some excellent Online TEFL/TESOL certification course options out there, and there are some that you should avoid.

The best Online TEFL/TESOL certification courses come with excellent support and offer certificates that are Fully Accredited and internationally recognized.

The worst Online TEFL/TESOL certification courses lack sufficient student support and lack international recognition.

Here are the 5 worst TEFL courses in 2023, in all their Upside Down glory – starting at the 5th worst and continuing all the way down to the worst of the worst:

5. ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd

ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd Homepage

ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd are owned and operated by a British ex-pat living in the Philippines: James Anthony Dwyer.

Trusted TEFL Reviews recently wrote an in-depth article, identifying multiple examples of scams perpetuated by James.

These include:

  1. Fake Level 3-5 TEFL courses. ITT TEFL TESOL just runs one course but packages it under multiple course options.
  2. Fake accreditation. The accreditation body that “accredits” ITT TEFL TESOL – International TEFL/TESOL Accreditation Council – is a website owned and operated by James.
  3. False claims of charitable donations. A big selling point for ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd is that it gives a percentage of your course fee to the Save the Children charity. James has paid a one-time donation to Save the Children of just US$20.
  4. Fake reviews. James has written reviews for his TEFL program(s).
  5. James owns and operates ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd and the World TEFL Institute.

You can read all about the juicy scam details in full here:


In a desperate attempt at trying to deflect all the bad press away from his TEFL program, James has, in the past 24 hours, redesigned his school’s logo- hoping that people will think that we are speaking about a different TEFL program.

You can read further information about ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd and World TEFL Institute, including verified customer reviews, in the Trusted TEFL Reviews ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd and World TEFL Institute categories: https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/itt-international-tefl-and-tesol-blacklisted-warning/ | https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/world-tefl-institute/

4. ITTT International TEFL and TESOL Training

ITTT International TEFL and TESOL Training Fake accreditation

There are a few stand-out issues with the ITTT TEFL program:

  1. It employs aggressive affiliate marketers that hype up the course on platforms such as Quora. The most prolific of these is Linda Dunsmore – Marketing Manager at (yep, you guessed right) ITTT. Linda spams Quora with helpful posts about how she was an ITTT graduate and how the course worked for her. What she doesn’t come clean about, though, is that she is on the ITTT management marketing team.
  2. ITTT doesn’t just have one program website. Instead, it has more than 10 of them. They all look similar, but each contains slightly different claims and each looks different enough that the waters are muddied when it comes to pinpointing the true identity of the core company website.
  3. ITTT is a company headquartered in Thailand, and they are accredited by some pretty dodgy accreditation companies. One of these is OTTSA, and another is The Teacher Training Council. Both are registered in Thailand, and both have been exposed as fake accreditation websites. The Teacher Training Council can’t even spell “Accreditation” correctly. They spell it, “AccrediDation”.

ITTT International TEFL and TESOL Training is Accredited but is not Fully Accredited.

You can read further information about ITTT, including verified customer reviews, in the Trusted TEFL Reviews ITTT TEFL category: https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/ittt/


The Third Worst TEFL Course in 2022 | MyTEFL

MyTEFL exploded into the Online TEFL training arena about 5 or 6 years ago.

It claims to have been around for a lot longer, but 5 or 6 years is a more realistic and honest assessment.

Students tend to like the course.

That’s where the positives end.

  1. MyTEFL is propped up by a fake accreditation body ( Online TESOL and TEFL Standards Agency – OTTSA) and another one that they recently created: International TEFL Accreditation Council – ITEFLAC.
  2. Graduates regularly complain that they were ripped off by bait-and-switch scams on the job placements abroad that they accepted through MyTEFL and its parent company, Footprints Language Education Ltd. Teachers arrived to find that the accommodation and pay weren’t as promised, and some discovered that a percentage of their monthly salary was being deducted and paid back to MyTEFL/Footprints Language Education Ltd.
  3. MyTEFL has tried to have fake reviews published on Trusted TEFL Reviews and reacted very poorly when we refused to publish these unverified “customer” reviews. Its response was to launch a campaign against us, claiming that this review website is biased toward certain TEFL programs. They even went so far as to claim that Trusted TEFL Reviews is owned by OISE University of Toronto TEFL and/or TEFL Online Pro. Yep, the true sign of a reputable company is to attack the reviews site that refused to publish its fake “customer” reviews.

MyTEFL is Accredited but is not Fully Accredited.

You can read further information about MyTEFL, including verified customer reviews, in the Trusted TEFL Reviews MyTEFL category: https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/mytefl-blacklisted-warning/

2. TTA The TEFL Academy

TTA The TEFL Academy Company

This company is a car crash waiting to happen, so go grab your popcorn and a comfy couch.

TTA The TEFL Academy claims to be “Fully Accredited” by a few organizations, with one of these begin DEAC.

We sent out an inquiry to DEAC yesterday, and they responded that TTA The TEFL Academy is not accredited by them.

The helpful people at DEAC directed us to a page on their website, where the public can check whether a TEFL program is listed in their database.

Here is that link: https://www.deac.org/Student-Center/Directory-Of-Accredited-Institutions.aspx

  1. TTA The TEFL Academy claims to be accredited by AQC, DEAC, QUALIFI, and even by ofqual. It is accredited by no company. It is only regulated by ofqual and QUALIFI, and it also appears that QUALIFI might have been created by the good folks at TTA The TEFL Academy.
  2. TTA the TEFL Academy has tried to have its staff-written reviews published on Trusted TEFL Reviews. Last year, one of its full-time Brand Ambassador employees became infuriated with me because I wouldn’t publish her review that read like a TTA TEFL brochure. What was her response? She said that Trusted TEFL Reviews is biased and began writing rubbish about me and my reviews site online. Oh, and, of course, she claims that Trusted TEFL Reviews is owned by TEFL Online Pro because it is the top-rated program on this site currently. And all because we wouldn’t publish her review.
  3. Despite having its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, TTA The TEFL Academy certificates are not recognized for English teaching jobs in Ireland. In Malta neither. In fact, the one place where you are guaranteed to be able to use your TTA The TEFL Academy certificate is in the UK. Reviewers have complained about not being able to use their TTA The TEFL Academy certificates for some online teaching jobs and for some overseas jobs.
  4. TTA The TEFL Academy aggressively promotes itself through a network of affiliate marketers – people that may, or may not have taken one of its courses. These marketing minions earn a 20% referral fee every time someone books a TTA The TEFL Academy course through their affiliate website. This is one of the reasons why we feel that TTA The TEFL Academy courses are overpriced.

TTA The TEFL Academy is Unaccredited. It is neither Accredited nor Fully Accredited.

The TEFL Academy, via its network of Brand Ambassadors, aggressively pushes the notion that it is fully accredited and aggressively pushes the notion that some of the reputable organizations that are competitors are Fully Accredited are, in fact, fake. I hear defamation lawsuit bells ringing! đŸ™‚

You can read further information about TTA The TEFL Academy, including verified customer reviews, in the Trusted TEFL Reviews The TEFL Academy category: https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/the-tefl-academy/

1. ESLinsider

The Worst TEFL Course in 2022 | ESLinsider

The popcorn and couch time might have already passed with this program because our research has shown that ESLinsider is not a full-time-functioning TEFL program anymore.

I spent a lazy Sunday searching through the many Reddit user names of the owner of ESLinsider TEFL (Ian Patrick Leahy) and I read how he returned from Japan to New Hampshire because his website wasn’t doing so well. In the two years since then, Ian has worked on ski and snowboarding slopes in New Hampshire and Montana.

It appears that he is now planning on working a summer season this year in Oregon.

I also read some of Ian’s Reddit questions – enquiring about traveling to either Chile or New Zealand for under-the-table paid work.

Why does ESLinsider come in at number 1 for the worst TEFL courses in 2023?

  1. Ian Patrick Leahy began the ESLinsider TEFL program because he hated teaching English and wanted to earn a quick buck by running online TEFL courses, which he called TEKA courses. The problem was that he didn’t have enough experience or knowledge to really even teach, never mind run a training program. This didn’t deter Ian and he soldiered on, creating linguistic minefield disasters as his objective grew.
  2. He was clever in one respect. He created a blog for ESLinsider, where he tried to convey the impression that he was an ESL expert. He also “reviewed” his competitor’s TEFL programs (which he never even paid and took) and wrote critical feedback on them – all the while linking back to his blog and to his ESLinsider course. This meant that you could Google any well-known Online TEFL program and you would see ESLinsider’s take on it. The obvious reason for spending so much of his time doing this was that he hoped to convince people that his TEFL course was better and that they should pay him to take his course. His MO is to claim that such and such a course or person is a “scam”, “fake”, “fraud”, etc. He also went after reputable accreditation bodies too – after all, his courses were unaccredited so he had to try and angle it that accreditation bodies are all fake.
  3. Ian (ESLinsider) was the first TEFL program that we received a fake review and it was the first time that a TEFL program retaliated against us for not publishing its fake review. Ian Patrick Leahy from ESLinsider was the person that began the misinformation that Trusted TEFL Reviews is biased and owned by CIEE TEFL, OISE University of Toronto TEFL, and TEFL Online Pro. Or course, this is not true.
  4. He is also alleged to have conned his paying customers out of their money. This is one example of a group of Ian Patrick Leahy’s ESLinsider TEFL students, who were left out of pocket by Ian:

ESLinsider is Unaccredited. It is neither Accredited nor Fully Accredited.

You can read further information about ESLinsider, including verified customer reviews, in the Trusted TEFL Reviews ESLinsider category: https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/eslinsider-tefl/

Our Tip!

To avoid falling victim to a TEFL scam, check how high or low a program is ranked in the TEFL Course Directory: https://trustedteflreviews.com/tefl-course-directory/

The top-rated schools in the directory are top-rated for a legitimate reason.

You can also check the TEFL Accreditation Guide, to see which organizations provide Fully Accredited certificates: https://trustedteflreviews.com/tefl-accreditation-guide/

Worst TEFL Courses 2023 related links:

OTTSA Accreditation: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2020/02/18/warning-the-ottsa-accrediting-professionals-scam/

ITTT TEFL Accreditation: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2022/03/23/ittt-tefl-accreditation/

TTA The TEFL Academy Scam Warning: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2019/03/25/the-tefl-academy-certification-review/

The MyTEFL Scam: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2020/01/24/the-mytefl-com-scam/

The ESLinsider Scam: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2020/02/03/eslinsider-reviews-scam/

Affiliate Marketing Scam: https://trustedteflreviews.com/2022/02/07/tefl-affiliate-marketing-scam/

December 1st, 2022 Update:

World TESOL Academy must also be added to this Worst TEFL Courses 2023 list:


Get 50% Off Your Fully Accredited Online TEFL/TESOL Certification Course + Free Shipping On Hard-Copy Certificates. Offer Ends This Week. | SAVE 50% NOW! >>>

New! Click here for the online TEFL/TESOL international certification course Teachers’ Choice Award winner. International Online TEFL/TESOL course certification at its best.

Verified Online TEFL/TESOL certification course program reviews, ranked in order of customer satisfaction: Courses Directory

Worst TEFL Courses: ITTT TEFL, ITT International TEFL and TESOL Ltd, MyTEFL, ESLinsider, The TEFL Academy TTA, World TESOL Academy

1 comment

  1. Trusted TEFL Reviews published an article related to this ‘Worst TEFL Courses 2023’ article.

    The related article is titled, ‘The 5 Best Online TEFL TESOL courses to take in 2023’.

    You can view this article here:


    This article is monitored and updated regularly, to reflect which Online TEFL TESOL certification course programs remain top favorites with TEFL course students and TEFL teacher employers.

    The Best Online TEFL TESOL courses to take in 2023, based on verified customer reviews:

    1. TEFL Online Pro.
    Verified Customer reviews:

    2. OISE University of Toronto TEFL.
    Verified Customer reviews:

    3. CIEE TEFL.
    Verified Customer reviews:

    4. Maximo Nivel TEFL.
    Verified Customer reviews:

    5. Vantage TEFL
    Verified Customer reviews:

    Mia Williams – Trusted TEFL Reviews

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