TEFL and TESOL essentials
Is there a difference between ELT, TESL, TEFL and TESOL ?
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) are two acronyms that stand for the same thing, whereas TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) was originally used to refer to teaching English within an English speaking country. ELT – English Language Teaching – is another term that is sometimes used.
What is a TEFL course?
A TEFL course is a teacher training programme which gives you the skills and confidence to teach English to speaker sof other languages.
Types of TEFL and TESOL courses
Although there are weekend TEFL courses, one week or two week TEFL courses, online TEFL courses, hybrid or blended TEFL courses (part online, part in-class), the most popular TEFL courses are the four-week intensive in-class courses.
These TEFL courses typically consist of theory and methodology sessions in the mornings, followed by lesson planning, and observed teaching practice in the evenings.
In order to meet international standards good quality TEFL courses should include 100 + hours and a minimum of 6 observed teaching practice lessons, plus a couple of unobserved one-to-one teaching practice lessons as part of a student profile project. Other typical components are an analysis of the experience of a lesson in an unknown foreign language, a materials project, and a grammar and phonology test towards the end of the course.
An internationally recognised TEFL certificate is essential for finding work abroad an English teacher.
When choosing a TEFL course it is important to check that the course is externally validated by a reputable accrediting body. These accrediting bodies may be universities, like for example Fort Hays State University, the University of Cambridge, (CELTA), or the Trinity College of the University of London, or independent organizations such as IATQuO, the College of Teachers, or SIT to name just a few.
However, the most important guarantee of quality of a course are the actual teacher trainers themselves. The teacher trainers should be suitably qualified, (Diploma in TEFL / TESOL, DELTA, or MA in TEFL), caring, empathetic and supportive individuals, and above all have many years of solid teaching experience behind them.