TEFL, CELTA, TESOL, DELTA… all of these acronyms relate to one thing: teaching English as a foreign language. The range of courses on offer can be confusing. Whether you are new to teaching or you have been in the teaching profession for decades, the following insights will help you to make an informed course choice.
About the TESOL and CELTA courses
The two most well-known qualifications are Trinity TESOL (Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and CELTA (Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults), both of which are widely recognised by employers and by official bodies. The difference between the two courses is surprisingly little.
The aim of each course is to equip adult learners with the skills to teach English as a foreign language to non-native students. They address some of the issues both teachers and learners face in the classroom. Both courses include academic theory and require you to be observed teaching small classes for a certain amount of time. If you pass either of these courses, then you will be well-equipped to begin your career as an English teacher abroad.
Although TESOL is affiliated with Trinity College London and CELTA with Cambridge University, both courses are conducted at independent study centres such as colleges in the UK and abroad. Although the Trinity TESOL and CELTA courses involve about 130 contact hours and six hours of observed teaching, they are described as being introductory courses. They provide the groundwork upon which you can build through teaching experience. This should give you reason to weigh up carefully the credentials of any shorter online or weekend courses.
TESOL and CELTA courses normally run over a period of four weeks (known as intensive courses) which involve full-time study at a course centre. Alternatively, some course providers run part-time courses at a slower pace (normally around three evenings a week).
Taking the TEFL course
You may be wondering if you should choose online or face-to-face courses. The internet is rife with websites offering TEFL courses. A quick search on Google brings back countless course providers, mostly offering online qualifications in teaching English as a foreign language.
As any course can go under the moniker of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), it is important to be cautious when you are choosing a course provider. It is wise to check their credentials and not to be fooled by authoritative sounding affiliates. As a general rule, though, these TEFL courses are much shorter than the Trinity TESOL or CELTA courses as mentioned above, taking place over a period as short as a weekend.
One advantage of TEFL courses is the reduced price. The average fee for such a course is around £200 compared to £900 plus for the Trinity and Cambridge qualifications. Another advantage is the relatively easy schedule – weekend and online courses on average take around twenty hours to complete. Bear in mind, though, that the comparatively easy nature of these courses is something that potential employers may pick up on. If you are looking for a basic grounding in teaching methods, TEFL courses could be ideal for you because they require little commitment in terms of time or finances.
What does DELTA stand for?
The DELTA qualification (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults) is designed for individuals with previous English language teaching experience who have already completed a teaching qualification.
Where can you find teaching jobs?
Did you know that some course providers offer work placements upon successful completion of the course? However, if you want to apply for jobs directly, there are some useful organisations out there to help you. The British Council provides overseas teaching opportunities which are posted on their website. Tefl.com is one of the largest databases which has a very useful search function. The site advertises a large number of English teaching jobs across the globe.
Teaching English overseas could be a life-changing opportunity for you. You could travel the world and live in exotic cultures. You could make a difference to your students’ lives and master a new language. You could enhance your CV and gain invaluable professional skills. When you teach English overseas, you educate people in a foreign country and you become a contributing member of that society. You have a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge with others, learn new things and see the world with a fresh pair of eyes.