When I first moved to Thailand a decade ago, I signed up to take a TEFL certification course in Bangkok. While every TEFL certification course around the world is slightly different, there are some things you will learn that are universal whether you take your TEFL certification course in Bangkok, Madrid, Tokyo, New York, Buenos Aires or Adelaide. The course I took taught me so many things about teaching English as a foreign language, I know now I couldn’t have been successful without it.
If you too want to teach English overseas, what will you learn on a TEFL certification course that will make your teaching career so much richer and more successful?
EFL Teaching Methods – There are two basic EFL teaching methods most schools use one or the other of, with several other lesser-known ones being used in classrooms around the world. In a TEFL certification course, you will be taught one or both, so that when you get into a real classroom situation you will know how to prepare a lesson and how to teach it so your students will understand.
How to Teach Different Levels of Ability – Just about every EFL teacher will tell you they teach students of varying abilities almost every day of the week. Whether it’s beginning English learners at a Japanese kindergarten or advanced students in a Bangkok accounting company, knowing how to teach different levels of ability so your students not only learn but also understand what they are learning is mandatory. It also opens many doors for you, as most teaching jobs overseas will require you to be able to teach all different levels of ability, and private students will demand it.
Common Problems to Look For – While some TEFL certification courses will show you basic problems to look for that are common in most English language learners, the TEFL certification course I took specifically taught us the problems Thais have when learning English. As I only intended to teach English in Thailand, this type of course was a godsend for me and made it so much easier to teach a class of Thai students when I knew why they couldn’t hear the difference between ‘r’ and ‘l’.
No matter what your TEFL certification course teaches, just knowing how to spot problems, understand why your students are having them, and what to do to correct them gives you a huge advantage in the classroom.
How to Make Lessons Interesting – Sure, you can stand in front of a class full of children and dryly explain English grammar, but don’t expect them to pay much attention or retain what they do learn for long.
A good TEFL certification course will teach you how to make a subject interesting, games to play to help you teach it, and how to make sure your students enjoy what they’re learning as well as have some fun.
Teaching Practice – The most invaluable part of my TEFL certification course in Bangkok was the teaching practice everyone had to complete before they could pass the course.
Eight hours of teaching a classroom of real students, from beginner level adults to eight year old children at a local primary school, and each hour of teaching monitored and graded by an evaluator who, afterwards, gave us tips on how to improve.
Teaching practice is included in just about every reputable TEFL and, if it isn’t, you may want to consider taking yours elsewhere.