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Certification??? - useful or a waste??

 
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Davinia



Joined: 14 Mar 2003
Posts: 3
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2003 6:49 pm    Post subject: Certification??? - useful or a waste?? Reply with quote

Hi there! I've been reading up on all the useful tips being given here, but I just can't figure out exactly what the majority says on becoming certified.
So, I'm going to ask you, the "experts," about whether I should get some sort of TESL certification and how.
I'm graduating in May with a BS and have wanted for some time to teach english abroad. I want to do it the best way but I'm not sure how exactly. I've researched that getting a CELTA certification is the best way, but how do I find a proper institute?
Any advice??

What about these courses that last 4 weeks in say Prague or Barcelona, even Thailand?
I want to be prepared to teach my students and give them the best opportunities to learn english, so I want to do as much as I can before i start.
Thanks for the time!
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Irish



Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2003 7:32 pm    Post subject: Well, it depends... Reply with quote

Davinia:

Who do you want to teach and where in "abroad" do you want to work? Not trying to be cute here--I only want to point out that the answer to your question depends very much on your goals.

As a general rule, I think any good cert program can help you become a better teacher. Obviously, that's good for you and your students but that may not be enough to get you hired to do the kind of teaching you want to do. You've got to figure out what your potential employers require--this varies by country and institution. Going to Eastern Europe? CELTA has the big name there so maybe that's best for you. Prefer Thailand? Maybe it makes more sense to do the program in Thailand. Testing the waters to see if you really want to make a career out of this? Look for something you can use for credit toward an MA. Got your heart set on a university level post in the ME? Forget the cert programs and start sending applications to MA programs now.

Sorry to answer your question with more questions but I think you'll get better advice if you can narrow down your goals. If you haven't done so already, stop by the Teacher Training Forum and do a search on the cert programs that interest you so you can see what their graduates have to say about them.
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Davinia



Joined: 14 Mar 2003
Posts: 3
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2003 10:03 pm    Post subject: thanks! Reply with quote

Irish-
I know I have to make decisions and I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do: teach english in Eastern Europe or Spain, where I studied for a semester. I don't want to make this my career, but I do want to invest a great deal of effort into it; make an experience out of it. So, my big decision, is whether to invest the $1000 plus on a certification and which program to go through.
Is Cambridge CELTA really the best like others have said?
What about TEFL? Which programs are reputable and worth the money?
Thanks for your advice, too!
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Celeste



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 814
Location: Fukuoka City, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2003 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would definitely go with the Cambridge certificate if you plan to teach in Europe. You never need a certificate to get some kind of teaching job at some school somewhere, but the better jobs will want a certificate and/or experience. The CELTA is, to my knowledge, the European standard. My husband did his in a month, and it was gruelling. If you can, it is much better to do it part time over 3 months. 3 months will give you more time to digest all of the knowledge and to practice your new skills. When my husband did the one month version, he was up 'til all hours preparing the next day's assignments, and he was really stressed out about whether or not he was improving enough to pass the course. He felt that had he done the 3 month option that he would have had more time to reflect and more time to put a lot of thought into his assignments.
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Paul G



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 125
Location: China & USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2003 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Davina:

For some good feedback about teacher training programs, take a look at the Teacher Training Forum.

http://www.eslcafe.com/discussion/dz1/

Pay particular attention to the discussions that compare the Trinity to the CELTA. The Trinity and CELTA are equally recognized in Europe, but the concensus seems to be that the Trinity is not only more student friendly but also contains elements relating to teaching children, something the CELTA does not have. (CELTA is an acronym for "Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults".
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Albulbul



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 364

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2003 10:47 am    Post subject: trinity ! Reply with quote

My personal prefernce is for Trinity. I am not selling anything, but it seems to me that Trinity is more oriented to the classroom in the real world.

Of "TEFL" I know only that som eone has taken an acronym widelsy used in the educational world to market their courses.
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Davinia



Joined: 14 Mar 2003
Posts: 3
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2003 8:25 pm    Post subject: any tips? Reply with quote

Thanks for all your advice!
So now, I'm researching a program called the Oxford House College Trinity Certificates in Barcelona and even Prague. Anyone heard any info. about this particular program?
By the way, did any of you become certified and where?
Thanks again.
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Irish



Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2003 1:12 am    Post subject: Not certified Reply with quote

Davinia:

I'm working on an MA TESL because that's considered the minimum for the kind of teaching I want to do--certification wouldn't help me. Then again, I'm planning on being a lifer and you're not, so our goals are very different.

Unfortunately, I don't know about the specific program you mentioned but maybe you should contact schools in the areas where you would like to work and ask what they prefer. CELTA is the big name but Trinity is well-respected also. From what others have said, it sounds like it might prepare you for a broader range of teaching possibilities. And you sound like you're more interested in getting value for your money than the snob value of your cert (good for you).

By the way, thanks for actually taking an interest in doing a good job! That probably sounds absurd but you'd be surprised at the number of people who are just looking for fun and adventure and don't care about their students. It nice to know that some people realize they're actually supposed to earn the money.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.
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Tripmaster Monkey



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2003 7:01 pm    Post subject: Choosing a CELTA program Reply with quote

Somewhere on this site, there should be a link to Jeff Mohammed's homepage. He has some good recommendations about choosing a CELTA program that you would like. I think the #1 thing that you can check ahead on is who the trainers are and their qualifications. Trainers who have taught the course many times and have worked with their co-trainer for a long time will provide a better product than less-experienced trainers or ones who have never worked together before. This may seem an awkward question to ask, but it could make a big difference in the experience you come away with.
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