Your choice of a TEFL course should be driven by the following criteria:
The minimum requirements for a good TEFL course are
- a minimum of 100-120 of in-class lessons,
- at least six supervised teaching practice lessons, with actual English-language students from the local community
- two or more unobserved one-to-one teaching practice lessons
- lots of grammar and phonology lessons.
- the availability of teaching English to Young Adults and Business English modules.
Other typical components of a good TEFL course are
- the experience of a lesson in an unknown foreign language,
- a materials project,
- a grammar and phonology test towards the end of the course.
Good TEFL courses are externally validated and moderated by a reputable accrediting body.
The moderation involves the presence of a representative of the accrediting body on the school premises, at the end of each course, to check course materials, receive feedback from the new graduates and make sure the trainers are up-to-date with the advances in TEFL teachers training.
Accrediting bodies may be
- universities, like Fort Hays State University which is responsible for our TEFL Barcelona course accreditation and moderation, the University of Cambridge (CELTA ), the Trinity College of the University of London, or
- independent organizations such as IATQuO (which is responsible for our TEFL courses in Madrid and Toulouse), the College of Teachers, or SIT
to name just a few. Research the accrediting bodies yourself in order to check that they are well-established, independent organisations.
The most important guarantee of quality of a TEFL course are the actual teacher trainers themselves.
The teacher trainers should
- have many years of solid teaching experience behind them, preferably in several countries
- be suitably qualified (Diploma in TEFL / TESOL, DELTA, or MA in TEFL),
- be caring, empathetic and supportive individuals.
Career support and job guidance
A good TEFL course should have a solid career support / job guidance module. TEFL job guidance should involve:
- familiarising TEFL trainees with the local and international English teaching / TEFL jobs market
- the various types of English teaching jobs
- workshops regarding the preparation of interviews, cover letters and curriculum vitae (resumes)
- one-to-one job application support
- a good database of hiring schools, to whom they could fire your CV even previously to your graduation.
- a good job search guidance will also train you to apply to jobs abroad, such that you can truly be prepared to look for TEFL job opportunities, worldwide.
Also, job guidance should be offered for as long as it is necessary, after the completion of the TEFL training. This is sometimes referred to as lifetime job guidance.
Job guidance should not come at an extra fee, but be part of your course package,
It is recommended to read the testimonials, identify students who took the TEFL course you are researching and who keep a blog, contact several students who have taken the course (use the students and language school testimonials page or ask the school if they could put you in touch with former students). Be proactive in your assessment of your course quality!
Availability of a real person to answer all your questions
A final criterion would be the availability of the Director of Study or TEFL Counsellor in answering all your questions. Check that your course provider has published a landline phone number that you can use (it is a proof they are based in the country they claim they are based). Do no hesitate to ask as many questions as you feel the need to ask, about the course and the TEFL job opportunities, during the admission interview.