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TEFL Institute Online Classes
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lebergerrouge2



Joined: 21 Jan 2013
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:26 am    Post subject: TEFL Institute Online Classes Reply with quote

Let me start out by saying that I have done quite a bit of research and perusing of these forums, but I was not confident that the answers I was finding were 100% relevant to my situation, hence this post.
First off, I'm wondering if anyone has completed a course through the TEFL Institue of Chicago, and what their experiences were. I am also wondering if many people have taught abroad with a certificate from this company, and if so, if having this TEFL certificate significantly helped them find better jobs with higher pay (I am looking mostly at South Korea and China by the way).
I would like to do their online course, as it significantly cheaper and easier to fit into my schedule, but I do not want to end up with a "lesser" degree. They insist that their online certificate is identical to their on-site one, but I've been having trouble find anecdotal evidence that confirms such an assertion.
One last thing is that I am curious as to the relevance of a CELTA if I am interested in teaching in Asia, and if a TEFL certificate from them is really looked upon with reverence by potential employers in this part of the world. I have talked to several (paid) representatives from the company, and they insist that while the CELTA is a long-held standard of the industry, a TEFL certificate is often preferable because it focuses on American English, vs. British English (note: a CELTA is certainly preferred in most European countries). They also insisted that the CELTA is solely relevant for teaching adults, while the TEFL provides training methods for both children and adults.
Please let me know about any experiences that you may have had with this organization, and just general experience with the TEFL vs. CELTA debate that I have been racking my brain over.
Thanks!
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8620
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The British English vs American English is a total red herring on any cert course. Never heard of this TEFL cert provider, but if that is the best they can do in terms of selling it to you, then it reeks of scam...
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lebergerrouge2



Joined: 21 Jan 2013
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are some other questions I could ask of the program to find out about their qualifications and the legitimacy of a certificate from them? Who should they be certified by? Also, if this particular organization is potentially not the best, than who else could I go through for a similar product?
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For China it won't matter.
The "Photoshop TEFL Program" works as good as any other.

For a hagwon job in Korea it isn't necessary nor will it help increase your pay.
For a public school job in Korea it is no longer inadequate. They now require a minimum of 20 hours in the classroom with an observed practicum.

Your BACHELOR DEGREE is the paper that counts for the visa in almost ALL of Asia now. A TEFL certificate is NOT a degree. It is at best a 30-day certificate and often not much more than a weekend course. (You didn't indicate whether or not you actually have a degree).

No bachelor degree=no proper visa and no legal work (I don't care what the TEFL institute tells you - they are in the business of selling dreams).

As to the "TEFL Institue of Chicago" I can pretty much state with a fair certainty that any TEFL course provider who spends more time selling you on the "teach and travel" aspect and whose website looks more like a travel brochure than a place of learning is suspect at the best of times and worse the rest of the time.

Bottom line: Pick a country and then meet the visa requirements of that country (in Asia it is usually an anglophone passport and a university degree).

Also, just to add fuel to the fire... an internationally recognized course with a reputable course provider (SIT cert TESOL as an example) doesn't cost much more than they do (judging from the pricing structure on their website).

As to CELTA vs any other reputable course provider - do you prefer California oranges or Florida oranges for your morning juice?

.
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lebergerrouge2



Joined: 21 Jan 2013
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, sorry for not indicating about my degree. I do have a B.A in French, so while the merits of that particular diploma are debatable stateside, it should serve well-enough for the visa.
I also wanted to say that this particular online class did have a 20-hour in-class practicum. But it is still mostly online, and probably not worth the $1000 price tag.
But, I have been looking at the job posts for both countries, and many do specify having a TEFL-certificate (or at least say they would prefer one). My question is, do I go for a subpar certification if it works for such jobs? Do I spring for the more costly (but probably more respected) CELTA coupled with my degree? Or, do I sift through the countless job postings that I have encountered, choosing the best I can find with my qualifications, and arrive in the country armed with nothing besides my B.A.?
I should also not that I will be volunteering with ESL students starting tomorrow. I am not sure of how in-depth this will get, but surely this will help my job prospects, if only slightly.
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lebergerrouge2



Joined: 21 Jan 2013
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While on the subject, another "perk" supposedly offered by the Institute is job-assistance. Supposedly they would help weed-out any of the seedier schools, and get you placed in a decent environment which they allegedly have some history with. How legit is any such claim? How difficult is it to spot a good job from a bad one, and are there any decent sites to look for jobs in Asia (outside of this site, of course)?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9131
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Job 'placement' assistance, when offered by certificate training centres, is pretty much always a scam, or at least somewhat misleading. They'll give you a list of schools, but you are really totally on your own so far as the process of applying, interviewing, negotiating contracts and logistics like housing, etc.

Check the 'job placement' thread on the newbie forum for more info on this.

I agree with Sasha and ttompatz that this course sounds fairly bogus.

By the way, to add to what Sasha has said on the British/American English issue, TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language - it s not a brand name for any given course - and there are tonnes of cert centres in Europe which use the same acronym. If they are telling you that 'TEFL' = American English, they're full of it. Bad sign.
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lebergerrouge2



Joined: 21 Jan 2013
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much for the assistance so far, guys. I'm very happy that I haven't thrown away $1000 on a dodgy course. As far as the legit ones go, it looks like most of them are priced at around $2,300. Are there certified courses that are closer to the $1000 range?
I should also mention that teaching in Asia is something I would like to do for years, so is it maybe just worth it to arrive un-certified, working a less-than-stellar job for the first year, and then use that experience to get better offers in the following years? Or is that price tag going to serve me well?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9131
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know little about Asia outside what I read on these boards, so I'm unable to speak directly for the region, though it seems more and more of the better employers are probably asking for certification, judging from the numbers of people on the boards with prior experience in Asia asking about training courses.

The point I'd like to make is that it's one option, and might be a good one, to get certified in the country where you want to start teaching. If you can do it this way, the practice teaching students on your course will be really representative of those you'll be working with when you start, and you can be sure that local employers will definitely recognize your cert, in case you go for something other than the name brand.

The basic gold standard for a course is 120+ hours on site, and (key) including supervised teaching with actual language students. If you go for a generic, be sure that it has these components and state this clearly on the first page of your CV/resume so that potential employers can see immediately that your cert meets the standard. Or go for the name brand.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 2988
Location: Mesopotamia

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lebergerrouge2 wrote:
I'm very happy that I haven't thrown away $1000 on a dodgy course. As far as the legit ones go, it looks like most of them are priced at around $2,300. Are there certified courses that are closer to the $1000 range?

I should also mention that teaching in Asia is something I would like to do for years, so is it maybe just worth it to arrive un-certified, working a less-than-stellar job for the first year, and then use that experience to get better offers in the following years? Or is that price tag going to serve me well?

Ditto what others have posted. And as Spiral pointed out, another consideration in getting a valid TEFL cert (i.e., CELTA or SIT brand or equivalent, generic TEFL cert) is that you won't be limited as to where you can work, and you'll be able to compete for the better positions. You'll find it will be money well spent. If cost is an issue, then consider the advice about doing your TEFL cert training in your target country.

Anyway, employers can change their requirements for teachers at any time. That is, they may currently accept an online TEFL cert or not require a cert at all. However, there's no guarantee that, at some point, teachers won't be expected to have a 120-hour TEFL qualification obtained from an in-class course.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8620
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the kind of 'teach and travel' advertising that tttompatz was referring to, I believe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nrQQn0lCGS8#!

Notice how little time is given over to depicting any actual teaching. This should tell you a lot.

Also, the site seems to suggest that Americans can just hop over to the EU and get a job teaching there. Simply not true.

As I have said, I don't know anything about this course. It may actually be OK. But relying on cheap marketing tricks such as these makes me seriously doubt that. So much so, I wouldn't even bother with them, and would go with a known entity.

Don't waste your cash.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9131
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks like just a bunch of people's vacation pics, 80%. Anyone with the money and a passport can do that stuff. Totally different thing to actually get a (legal) job and to do it effectively. What an obvious come-on!
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CELTA in BKK is $2100 INCLUDING housing for the length of the course.
$1700 without. Again, price varies by region.

SIT cert TESOL varies from $1200 in Costa Rica to $2350 in NYC.
(the same people who train the Peace Corps).

Back to your other issues.

The WHERE you want to work will change the which one you want to look at.
Universally accepted brands will travel better than generic ones from "dream sellers".

If you ONLY want to consider China and Korea then it really won't matter what course you do provided you get at least 20 hours of real classroom time and observed practicum..

IF you want to be able to work farther afield then go with a known entity (Cambridge, SIT, Trinity). They travel well and are globally recognized for their standards and quality by the people who matter (the guys who do the hiring) if they care at all. If they don't care then it won't matter but is it a place you want to work at?

Beyond that, just get your documents ready and start applying for jobs.

The peak hiring season for Korea starts now and runs through March with another bump in April/May for August starts although there are jobs in language centers (TEFL not needed) all year long.

Thailand is busy from March to May. A TEFL is NOT needed for entry level jobs but better schools and language centers will ask for one. (They won't pay any better because of it - you need to prove yourself to make more money).

School starts in April in Japan. TEFL not needed and usually not recognized.

China will peak sometime in June for Sept school starts. Any TEFL course will work (including Photoshop).

Buxibans in Taiwan hire year round (you need a teachers license to work in government schools). TEFL not needed.

.
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lebergerrouge2



Joined: 21 Jan 2013
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, many thanks for all the great advice. One issue with taking the CELTA in my target country would be that after finishing, I would still need to find a job, and that seems like a potentially stressful situation. I have heard qualified English teachers do not have that much difficulty securing work in China, but it's probably something that I would be more comfortable with having in place before I left the states.
There are "horror" stories concerning the CELTA/SIT TESOL. Are these stories in any way valid? Does anyone know of any texts I could acquire before embarking on these classes, just to be fully prepared and make the most out the experience?
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8620
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which Celta horror stories exactly? There are lots - a few are even valid complaints. Most though are not.

As for books, get yourself a copy of Murphy's 'Essential Grammar in Use' series, the Red and Blue, or equivalent:

http://www.cambridge.org/ru/elt/catalogue/subject/project/item404538/Essential-Grammar-in-Use-3rd-Edition/?site_locale=ru_RU

Celta even has its own companion book, by Scott Thornbury, yeeeeyyy!

http://www.amazon.com/CELTA-Course-Trainee-Book/dp/0521692067

And some other useful books:

http://www.amazon.com/How-Teach-English-Jeremy-Harmer/dp/1405853093

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Practice-Language-Teaching-Handbooks-Teachers/dp/1405853115

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Learning-Teaching-Students-Teachers-MacMillan/dp/0230729843
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