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Is it worth getting a TEFL?

 
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Matthew H



Joined: 08 Mar 2009
Posts: 28
Location: Kashiwa

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:28 am    Post subject: Is it worth getting a TEFL? Reply with quote

Hi all,

I will try to make this quick (fatal last words).

When I first started being an English teacher I did the first part of a TEFL, a 20 hour weekend course and had planned to do the second part afterwards to attain a 100 hour TEFL. However I received a job offer to come work in Japan which I took and so did not have time to complete the course and receive the 100 hour TEFL.

I worked in Japan for 2 years and then left to work at a university in China where I have been for 1.5 years. However (and I won't go into it) I strongly dislike China and wish to return to Japan. I know I will have to take what I can get right now while I am outside of Japan but once I am there I want to try and get a decent job in Japan. Maybe direct hire with a school or something more than just being an ALT/Eikaiwa employee again.

So is it worth me finishing the TEFL course and getting a 100 hour TEFL? I see online these days that you can get 120 hour TEFL's so would it be better to ignore my first one and get one of those as a 100 hour course is no longer recognised? Are TEFL's even particularly respected or recognised in Japan or would I be better off saving money and getting a CELTA or trying to get Masters via long distance study?

I am a 25, have a bachelors degree; 3.5years experience (two in Japan one and a half in China, have conversation level Japanese and have the aforementioned 20 hour TEFL.

What is your advice?
Thanks in advance.
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Alex_Ander



Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 57
Location: The fourth dimension.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:34 am    Post subject: Re: Is it worth getting a TEFL? Reply with quote

Matthew H wrote:
Hi all,

I will try to make this quick (fatal last words).

When I first started being an English teacher I did the first part of a TEFL, a 20 hour weekend course and had planned to do the second part afterwards to attain a 100 hour TEFL. However I received a job offer to come work in Japan which I took and so did not have time to complete the course and receive the 100 hour TEFL.

I worked in Japan for 2 years and then left to work at a university in China where I have been for 1.5 years. However (and I won't go into it) I strongly dislike China and wish to return to Japan. I know I will have to take what I can get right now while I am outside of Japan but once I am there I want to try and get a decent job in Japan. Maybe direct hire with a school or something more than just being an ALT/Eikaiwa employee again.

So is it worth me finishing the TEFL course and getting a 100 hour TEFL? I see online these days that you can get 120 hour TEFL's so would it be better to ignore my first one and get one of those as a 100 hour course is no longer recognised? Are TEFL's even particularly respected or recognised in Japan or would I be better off saving money and getting a CELTA or trying to get Masters via long distance study?

I am a 25, have a bachelors degree; 3.5years experience (two in Japan one and a half in China, have conversation level Japanese and have the aforementioned 20 hour TEFL.

What is your advice?
Thanks in advance.


I also hate China.

CELTA would be best,
On-site TEFL or Master's would be next,
On-line stuff would be least desirable.

Don't worry about the initial job, the important thing is to arrive in Japan. Your options should increase then. The visa will be yours. Happy hunting!
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:54 am    Post subject: Re: Is it worth getting a TEFL? Reply with quote

Matthew H wrote:
Hi all,

I will try to make this quick (fatal last words).

When I first started being an English teacher I did the first part of a TEFL, a 20 hour weekend course and had planned to do the second part afterwards to attain a 100 hour TEFL. However I received a job offer to come work in Japan which I took and so did not have time to complete the course and receive the 100 hour TEFL.

I worked in Japan for 2 years and then left to work at a university in China where I have been for 1.5 years. However (and I won't go into it) I strongly dislike China and wish to return to Japan. I know I will have to take what I can get right now while I am outside of Japan but once I am there I want to try and get a decent job in Japan. Maybe direct hire with a school or something more than just being an ALT/Eikaiwa employee again.

So is it worth me finishing the TEFL course and getting a 100 hour TEFL? I see online these days that you can get 120 hour TEFL's so would it be better to ignore my first one and get one of those as a 100 hour course is no longer recognised? Are TEFL's even particularly respected or recognised in Japan or would I be better off saving money and getting a CELTA or trying to get Masters via long distance study?
Okay, I'll try to address this (see below).

Matthew H wrote:
I am a 25, have a bachelors degree; 3.5years experience (two in Japan one and a half in China, have conversation level Japanese
We appear to be clones. I'm also 25, also have a bachelor's degree and (officially) ~3.5 years of experience, nearly two years of which have been in Japan. And used to work in the (Republic of) China, ~1.5 years, just like you. And also have conversational level Japanese. That's uncanny.

Matthew H wrote:
and have the aforementioned 20 hour TEFL.

What is your advice?
Thanks in advance.

Personally, I have CELTA (Cambridge University TEFL qual, 120 hours) and CTEYL (fly-by-night Young Learners cert, wouldn't recommend). I also did 80 hours of HITT.

CELTA was expensive: over $2,000, and that was in 2007. I'm sure it's more expensive now (though it might be cheaper if you do it in China).

Usually, 120 hours is considered the industry standard. Most TEFL programs I have seen are 120 hours. 100 hours if kind of iffy -- I have seen various regulations, like the Korean MOE regulations, that recognize 100 hours as the bare minimum to get a pay raise. I think most programs are 120 hours because they want to put you safely over that 100-hour threshold.

I recommend a TEFL certificate for employment. I know that a lot of people say it doesn't make any difference, but I vehemently disagree. When 20 people apply for a job, and all of them have years of experience, a bachelor's degree, and some Japanese ability, it's really hard to figure out who is "special." In a TEFL world in which nearly everybody has a degree and some teaching experience, TEFL certificates are actually still surprisingly rare (I've been on the hiring end in Taiwan, which isn't too different from Japan -- most of the teachers did not have TEFL). When I selected teachers to interview for my last job, I scored the applications based on a points system and gave extra points to people with a TEFL cert. I wouldn't be surprised if other employers secretly do the same thing (albeit not as mathematically or nerdily as I did).

However, in terms of teaching know-how, forget it. I find that most TEFL programs (both CELTA and CTEYL, as well as my HITT training) all seem to assume a utopian classroom with:

- No significant behavior problems (students poking you in the butt, calling you swearwords, breaking things, ADHD students, etc.).

- Most TEFL courses don't even cover what to do about classroom management or students with extremely low IQs/low motivation who simply will not learn no matter how many times you teach and drill the same thing. Most TEFL programs assume that if you use the right teaching methods, everyone will just magically learn what you're trying to teach. Not true in a real classroom.

- Most TEFL programs assume you won't be teaching mixed-age or mixed-level classes (say, a 5-year-old an a 9-year-old in the same class) or mixed-level class (a student who doesn't know the ABCs in the same class with a student who speaks conversational English and can read proficiently).

So...a TEFL certificate is useless for actual classroom knowledge, in my opinion, unless you're a raw beginner, but can help give you a boost in employment. That's my opinion, anyway.

Japanese TEFL (and for that matter, Taiwanese TEFL and Korean TEFL) are their own ball game which often places teachers in hopeless situations and expects a teacher to "teach" students without grades, homework, discipline, and all in 30 minutes a week. The only way to learn how to work with that kind of a system is to get experience, which you already have. A TEFL course won't help with this.
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Matthew H



Joined: 08 Mar 2009
Posts: 28
Location: Kashiwa

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies you two. Itís funny that we ended up being similar, Alex and I hating China and Rooster and I having the same experience. I guess that shows that similar people follow similar paths in this world, but then it is a small one after all.

I guess a CELTA is expensive for a reason...to expensive right now but maybe in the future. right now I guess I should just get a job work for a year and see where I am job wise and financially.

At least I now know not to bother bumping my TEFL up to a 100 hour one I can save that money and maybe go do a CELTA in a year during the summer or something.

Better get back to applying. Thanks again.
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Vince



Joined: 05 May 2003
Posts: 503
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Is it worth getting a TEFL? Reply with quote

Alex_Ander wrote:
CELTA would be best,
On-site TEFL or Master's would be next,
On-line stuff would be least desirable.

Would a CELTA really be seen as more desirable than a master's? My experience in Japan was that the MA TESOL was seen as the benchmark.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matthew H wrote:
Thanks for the replies you two. Itís funny that we ended up being similar, Alex and I hating China and Rooster and I having the same experience. I guess that shows that similar people follow similar paths in this world, but then it is a small one after all.

I guess a CELTA is expensive for a reason...to expensive right now but maybe in the future. right now I guess I should just get a job work for a year and see where I am job wise and financially.

At least I now know not to bother bumping my TEFL up to a 100 hour one I can save that money and maybe go do a CELTA in a year during the summer or something.

Better get back to applying. Thanks again.
Are you going to be teaching kids, still? If so, consider a CELTYL instead. It's also a 120-hour cert by University of Cambridge, but it's specifically aimed at teaching kids.

Of course, if you are planning on teaching adults, then CELTA is the better cert. And if you're not sure, it is possible to get a CELTA first, and then take a YL extension course later on to get your CELTYL in a much shorter time.

Of course, all this might have changed. I have heard various rumors over the years about how University of Cambridge plans to revamp the whole system. Not sure how they're proceeding with that.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Is it worth getting a TEFL? Reply with quote

Vince wrote:
Alex_Ander wrote:
CELTA would be best,
On-site TEFL or Master's would be next,
On-line stuff would be least desirable.

Would a CELTA really be seen as more desirable than a master's? My experience in Japan was that the MA TESOL was seen as the benchmark.
I think an important line needs to be drawn between a "master's" and "an MA TESOL."

In the world of TEFL:

MA TESOL > CELTA > Some online cert

MA TESOL is, without a doubt, superior to CELTA and probably superior to DELTA in the eyes of nearly all employers, teachers, and everybody else who has a clue about the two quals.

However, if the master's is in something unrelated to teaching, then I would argue that CELTA is worth more than the irrelevant master's degree for most teaching jobs. A CELTA is actually a teaching credential. An MS in Marine Engineering, or an MBA, is not. Of course, there will be exceptions for teaching gigs that require a Marine Engineering English or Business English focus.


Last edited by Rooster_2006 on Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ALX



Joined: 19 Sep 2012
Posts: 36
Location: The Big Hill

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Is it worth getting a TEFL? Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:
Vince wrote:
Alex_Ander wrote:
CELTA would be best,
On-site TEFL or Master's would be next,
On-line stuff would be least desirable.

Would a CELTA really be seen as more desirable than a master's? My experience in Japan was that the MA TESOL was seen as the benchmark.
I think an important line needs to be drawn between a "master's" and "an MA TESOL."

In the world of TEFL:

MA TESOL > CELTA > Some online cert

MA TESOL is, without a doubt, superior to CELTA and probably superior to DELTA in the eyes of nearly all employers, teachers, and everybody else who has a clue about the two quals.

However, if the master's is in something unrelated to teaching, then I would argue that the following is true:

MA TESOL > CELTA or irrelevant MA > Some online cert

The CELTA takes much less time than an MA, of course, but unlike an irrelevant MA, the CELTA is a well-known and well-respected program specifically focused on teaching. Much more helpful in an EFL classroom environment (at least theoretically) than an MS in Marine Engineering or an MA in Liberal Studies.


What about an MSTEFL 2-year ?
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Is it worth getting a TEFL? Reply with quote

ALX wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:
Vince wrote:
Alex_Ander wrote:
CELTA would be best,
On-site TEFL or Master's would be next,
On-line stuff would be least desirable.

Would a CELTA really be seen as more desirable than a master's? My experience in Japan was that the MA TESOL was seen as the benchmark.
I think an important line needs to be drawn between a "master's" and "an MA TESOL."

In the world of TEFL:

MA TESOL > CELTA > Some online cert

MA TESOL is, without a doubt, superior to CELTA and probably superior to DELTA in the eyes of nearly all employers, teachers, and everybody else who has a clue about the two quals.

However, if the master's is in something unrelated to teaching, then I would argue that the following is true:

MA TESOL > CELTA or irrelevant MA > Some online cert

The CELTA takes much less time than an MA, of course, but unlike an irrelevant MA, the CELTA is a well-known and well-respected program specifically focused on teaching. Much more helpful in an EFL classroom environment (at least theoretically) than an MS in Marine Engineering or an MA in Liberal Studies.


What about an MSTEFL 2-year ?
Your account is called "ALX" and only has four posts. Can I safely assume that you are Alex_Ander on an alternate account?

I've never heard of the "MS TEFL" qualification. I'm not denying that it exists, but usually the big two I hear about are MA TESOL and MA Applied Linguistics, both of which I've heard can land you a uni position if you have enough publications (I don't know if this is true or not from firsthand experience, though, because I'm just an eikaiwa teacher). A two-year MS TEFL sounds impressive, but since I've never heard of it, I won't speculate about it.
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ALX



Joined: 19 Sep 2012
Posts: 36
Location: The Big Hill

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Is it worth getting a TEFL? Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:
ALX wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:
Vince wrote:
Alex_Ander wrote:
CELTA would be best,
On-site TEFL or Master's would be next,
On-line stuff would be least desirable.

Would a CELTA really be seen as more desirable than a master's? My experience in Japan was that the MA TESOL was seen as the benchmark.
I think an important line needs to be drawn between a "master's" and "an MA TESOL."

In the world of TEFL:

MA TESOL > CELTA > Some online cert

MA TESOL is, without a doubt, superior to CELTA and probably superior to DELTA in the eyes of nearly all employers, teachers, and everybody else who has a clue about the two quals.

However, if the master's is in something unrelated to teaching, then I would argue that the following is true:

MA TESOL > CELTA or irrelevant MA > Some online cert

The CELTA takes much less time than an MA, of course, but unlike an irrelevant MA, the CELTA is a well-known and well-respected program specifically focused on teaching. Much more helpful in an EFL classroom environment (at least theoretically) than an MS in Marine Engineering or an MA in Liberal Studies.


What about an MSTEFL 2-year ?
Your account is called "ALX" and only has four posts. Can I safely assume that you are Alex_Ander on an alternate account?

I've never heard of the "MS TEFL" qualification. I'm not denying that it exists, but usually the big two I hear about are MA TESOL and MA Applied Linguistics, both of which I've heard can land you a uni position if you have enough publications (I don't know if this is true or not from firsthand experience, though, because I'm just an eikaiwa teacher). A two-year MS TEFL sounds impressive, but since I've never heard of it, I won't speculate about it.


Who is Alex_Ander? Anyway, my MSTEFL was offered by my university with a choice of being certified to teach in public schools in the US. If you chose to be certified, you had to do a longer practicum. I chose not to get certified because the practicum was shorter and I wanted to teach overseas. Overall, I did about 100 hours of practice teaching and 200 of observation.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Is it worth getting a TEFL? Reply with quote

ALX wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:
ALX wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:
Vince wrote:
Alex_Ander wrote:
CELTA would be best,
On-site TEFL or Master's would be next,
On-line stuff would be least desirable.

Would a CELTA really be seen as more desirable than a master's? My experience in Japan was that the MA TESOL was seen as the benchmark.
I think an important line needs to be drawn between a "master's" and "an MA TESOL."

In the world of TEFL:

MA TESOL > CELTA > Some online cert

MA TESOL is, without a doubt, superior to CELTA and probably superior to DELTA in the eyes of nearly all employers, teachers, and everybody else who has a clue about the two quals.

However, if the master's is in something unrelated to teaching, then I would argue that the following is true:

MA TESOL > CELTA or irrelevant MA > Some online cert

The CELTA takes much less time than an MA, of course, but unlike an irrelevant MA, the CELTA is a well-known and well-respected program specifically focused on teaching. Much more helpful in an EFL classroom environment (at least theoretically) than an MS in Marine Engineering or an MA in Liberal Studies.


What about an MSTEFL 2-year ?
Your account is called "ALX" and only has four posts. Can I safely assume that you are Alex_Ander on an alternate account?

I've never heard of the "MS TEFL" qualification. I'm not denying that it exists, but usually the big two I hear about are MA TESOL and MA Applied Linguistics, both of which I've heard can land you a uni position if you have enough publications (I don't know if this is true or not from firsthand experience, though, because I'm just an eikaiwa teacher). A two-year MS TEFL sounds impressive, but since I've never heard of it, I won't speculate about it.


Who is Alex_Ander? Anyway, my MSTEFL was offered by my university with a choice of being certified to teach in public schools in the US. If you chose to be certified, you had to do a longer practicum. I chose not to get certified because the practicum was shorter and I wanted to teach overseas. Overall, I did about 100 hours of practice teaching and 200 of observation.
Alex_Ander is a guy who just registered with the site and has been expressing certain opinions that are...ruffling some feathers lately, so to speak. Laughing When you appeared with the name "ALX," I figured that Alex_Ander had gotten banned and created a new account with the name "ALX." I guess I could be wrong, though. But you have to admit, even if you aren't actually Alex_Ander, you can't blame me for drawing that conclusion, given the timing of your registration, the similarity of your screen name to his, and the fact that he was just banned (I'm not 100% sure that he was banned, but at very least, his offensive thread on how to get laid in Japan in which he also took swipes at Britons was deleted).

Based on what you said, the MS TEFL would be superior to the CELTA. 100/200 hours of supervised teaching practice is much, much more than the CELTA curriculum.
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Matthew H



Joined: 08 Mar 2009
Posts: 28
Location: Kashiwa

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for the advice guys and girls. Looks like I will just have to save up and try for an MA. But first job first, get back to Japan. but at least now I can save the money from not doing a CELTA and know that if I go straight for a MA then while it will take longer a few years down the line I won't find my CELTA pointless and need replacing.
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Mr_Monkey



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 661
Location: Kyuuuuuushuuuuuuu

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matthew H wrote:
a few years down the line I won't find my CELTA pointless and need replacing.
Honestly, if the CELTA is delivered properly, it should never become pointless - the vast majority of MAs have no practicum, particularly distance MAs.

There is nothing like having your teaching critiqued.

It's not pleasant - no one enjoys being observed, let's be honest - but the process simply makes you a better teacher, if you take it seriously.

MAs without practica are academic qualifications that teach you to look at learning from an analytic perspective. I'm not saying they won't make you a better teacher; however, I don't think they do a good enough job of ensuring that your teaching is of an appropriate quality.

Simply put, I would encourage you to do the CELTA (the CELTYL no longer exists; there is a CELTA extension module that focuses on young learners now, to the best of my knowledge) and the MA after the practical qualification has had time to solidify into consistent practices.

Quote:
100/200 hours of supervised teaching practice is much, much more than the CELTA curriculum
I'd love to hear more about this. Is this 100 hours of assessed teaching practice, or is it 100 hours of just teaching practice?

The maths don't really make much sense, from where I stand - 200 hours of observation? 200? If one assumes a teaching load of 20 hours per week, that's 10 full weeks of observation. Nothing but observation. Death by observation?

Which university?

Which program?

No popular parts of the female anatomy were mentioned in this thread.
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