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TEFL Course with practical elements?
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gonsdad



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:48 am    Post subject: TEFL Course with practical elements? Reply with quote

Does anyone know of a TEFL / TESOL course available in Japan that I could do while working here and has a practical (i.e. classroom) component to it? I'm thinking along the lines if a largely self-study course with perhaps a couple of weekends of in-class practical / mock teaching sections.

I'm on JET at the moment but looking to get some qualifications for a future job here or elsewhere and one of these qualifications would be quite handy, but I don't want to waste cash on an online-only course.
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thomthom



Joined: 20 May 2011
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only ESL certificate that's particularly well-respected and likely to improve employment prospects is the CELTA. That would involve a month of full-time work. Other 4-week in-class TEFL courses might be worth it for somebody with no experience, but you already have that. An online TEFL isn't worth much on its own but if you already have classroom experience I think it's a good combination.

Obviously, most people choose to do courses in places like Thailand and Vietnam because it's so much cheaper. Couldn't you put set 4 weeks aside and do that at the end of your contract?

Besides actually going back to university to get training in education, I think one of the best things to do (if time and money allowed it) would be to do an online MA, perhaps in something like English literature. I'm thinking of doing this myself.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 801

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Language Resources in Kobe offer the CELTA part time at weekends.
http://www.nvo.com/language_resrcs/cambridgersacelta/
It depends where you are based as to whether that would be practical though.

You could also check to see where the online CELTA is being offered, in case there is anywhere you could sensibly travel to for the teaching practicum part. It's not available in Japan yet.

As to whether it will be useful to you, that depends very much on what experience you've had with Jet. Placements seem to vary wildly.
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thomthom wrote:
The only ESL certificate that's particularly well-respected and likely to improve employment prospects is the CELTA.

I find that people who've taken the CELTA tend to play up its value relative to other on-site certs far more than is merited. Even companies that ask specifically for the CELTA generally seem to be using it as a genericized trademark for "120 hour onsite course with at least 6 hours of observed teaching practice."

~Q
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thomthom



Joined: 20 May 2011
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Qaaolchoura wrote:
I find that people who've taken the CELTA tend to play up its value relative to other on-site certs far more than is merited. Even companies that ask specifically for the CELTA generally seem to be using it as a genericized trademark for "120 hour onsite course with at least 6 hours of observed teaching practice."


Perhaps they do, but still... it is the most prestigious cert to get without attending university or vocational college. I think the thing is with CELTA is that the course is very uniformly regulated. TEFL courses seem to vary pretty widely. You could possibly find a TEFL course somewhere that's even more rigorous than CELTA. For the most part, however, employers will assume it not to be. Nice to have something with "University of Cambridge" written on it if you're going to fork out all that money!

Personally I would regard 1 or 2 year's experience plus an online TEFL as better than an in-class TEFL (even CELTA) and zero experience.
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gonsdad



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers for all the replies.

One of the jobs I'm looking at is the Hong Kong Primary School NET Programme, and the requirements to be accepted are a 100 hour TEFL with some degree of teaching practice. As respected as a CELTA is, I should be able to get by with something cheaper and less time-consuming. Personally I think my 2 years of JET (where I've made and planned all of my own lessons) should count for more than that but they're adamant I need the TEFL!

Do basically, one of the more "useless" ones will do, as long as there's some sort of teaching element to it, though on the other hand I imagine a CELTA would improve my chances further.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 898
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:39 am    Post subject: Re: TEFL Course with practical elements? Reply with quote

gonsdad wrote:
Does anyone know of a TEFL / TESOL course available in Japan that I could do while working here and has a practical (i.e. classroom) component to it? I'm thinking along the lines if a largely self-study course with perhaps a couple of weekends of in-class practical / mock teaching sections.

I'm on JET at the moment but looking to get some qualifications for a future job here or elsewhere and one of these qualifications would be quite handy, but I don't want to waste cash on an online-only course.


The Trinity Cert TESOL is generally acknowledged to be equivalent to a CELTA. It has 100 hours training and 6 hours observed classes.

I checked Shane's recruitment website, and they say they still offer Cert TESOL training to their staff in Japan. I don't know whether they offer it to non-staff, but they'll do anything for a buck so it's worth looking into.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 801

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't recommend the CELTA because I did it, I recommend it for the same reason that I did it, because I can see the value in it. Brand names do matter, I would rate SIT, Trinity and CELTA equally, but as far as I am aware only the CELTA is available in Japan. I've never heard of Shane offering the Trinity to 'outsiders' but would love to be corrected on that.

If a job advert asks for 'x or equivalent' than having 'x' or something immediately recognized as equivalent, gives you an edge. I don't say that because I took a brand name course, but because I have spent too many hours of my life wading through CVs/resumes and I know how much it matters.

I do understand that the logic behind that may not be immediately obvious, so I'll try to explain. In a previous job, I was involved in recruitment, it was not ESL related, but there were similarities. We were looking for people with relatively basic qualifications, a specific skill set and if possible, relevant experience. We would typically advertise when we had around 5 vacancies to fill and would get around 700 applications, give or take a hundred either way.

A couple of hundred would be ditched at pre-processing for things like being illegible (e.g. badly hand-written or misprinted), inappropriate (e.g. txt spk), or for major no-nos like being full of typos, getting the company name wrong, etc..

After the closing date I would go through the ones that were left to select interview candidates. At that stage I was primarily looking for reasons to ditch applications, to get the pile down to a manageable size. All I was interested in was whether or not they met the basic requirements as listed in the advert, it was a 5 point checklist. I had one day allocated for this part and for that initial filter I could do a maximum of about 500 in one day.

That meant each CV got 1 minute of my time, which broke down into 30 seconds to find the information I needed, and 30 seconds to check it. If the CV was so disorganized/wacky/incomprehensible that I couldn't even find the information in that first 30 seconds it got ditched. If they didn't meet the basic criteria, it got ditched. The rest got sorted into 2 piles, 'meets criteria' and 'probably meets criteria'. The latter were the applications that claimed to meet criteria but needed fact checking to confirm it.

That's were 'equivalency' comes in. If someone tells me their course is equivalent but I've never heard of it, I'm not going to reject it, but I am going to have to check the details to confirm it. In ESL terms that means checking if it had sufficient teaching hours, if there was a teaching practicum, how many hours the practicum was, if it was assessed, if it was with 'real' students or other trainees, etc.. Assuming a well laid out and clear CV that would take about 30 seconds - 1 minute more.

That probably sounds totally trivial. Why wouldn't I take a few extra seconds to check it out? Because if I spent that extra time there and then on each of the 200 or so applications that required some fact checking, it would take an extra 2 hours or so to get the job done. 2 hours that I didn't have. So instead they went on the 'possible' pile to be checked more thoroughly later, if they were needed. That's the catch, I'd be aiming for around 150 suitable applications to take to the next stage. If at the end of the day I already had those in the 'meets criteria' pile, I had no reason to trawl back through all the others. I already had more than enough to work with.

So the next day I'd go through those 150 'meets criteria' applications and whittle them down to about 50, mostly based on what prior experience they had. From those 50 around 15-20 would be called to interview. In theory, if I hadn't been able to get 50 suitable applicants from those 150, I'd have gone back to the 'probably meets criteria' pile and selected some more. But it never happened, not even once.

Obviously, I don't know how recruitment is done everywhere, but I would bet money that when large numbers of applications are involved, the process will be similar. Anything you do which causes your application to require manual consideration, or require more time and effort on the part of the person checking them puts you at a disadvantage, because for them, those few extra seconds mount up to a major time drain.

That's why I don't recommend equivalent courses. Sure it is better than nothing, it will at least get you on the 'probable' pile rather than being ditched outright, but it may not be enough to get you onto the first round 'yes' pile.

In the OPs case, he's looking at applying for NET, one of THE most competitive schemes. The majority of people accepted have QTS. The handful of exceptions usually have substantial experience. But they are also known to throw the occasional curve ball and select someone unexpected.

If the OP is optimistically hoping to be the recipient of that curve ball he needs to do everything he can to maximize his chances. It's going to take more than a cut-price 'just meets criteria' course to do that.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 898
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HLJHLJ wrote:
We would typically advertise when we had around 5 vacancies to fill and would get around 700 applications, give or take a hundred either way.

I was primarily looking for reasons to ditch applications, to get the pile down to a manageable size ... each CV got 1 minute of my time.

If someone tells me their course is equivalent ... they went on the 'possible' pile to be checked more thoroughly later, if they were needed. ... But it never happened, not even once.

We should link to this next time someone writes a "Why won't anyone hire me?" message.

Just a thought: supposing somebody had attached a copy of the documentary evidence showing that their course meets the criteria. (E.g. a printout of the course website, or a copy of the course curriculum, with the relevant sections highlighted.) Which pile would you have put it in?
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 801

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pitarou wrote:

Just a thought: supposing somebody had attached a copy of the documentary evidence showing that their course meets the criteria. (E.g. a printout of the course website, or a copy of the course curriculum, with the relevant sections highlighted.) Which pile would you have put it in?


Fact checking. If they hadn't even attached the info, it would get ditched.

Try it yourself. Grab the course info of a few random / different ESL courses off the net. Time how long it takes you to read through each one and check the following information:

How many teaching hours are there?
Is there a teaching practicum?
How many hours was the practicum?
Was it was assessed?
Was it with 'real' students or other trainees?

If it takes more than about 5 seconds, 10 seconds max, you know the answer.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9133
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My own original cert from 15 years ago was a generic. I always stated clearly on my CV that it was 120 hours onsite, with 10 hours of assessed teaching practice with real students.

I earned a related MA in 2007, so no-one really looks at the cert stuff anymore, but before that, it was never a problem being recognized, including in Canada, where the government has requirements even for private language centres that all teachers need CELTA/equivalent certs.

If someone expects a potential employer to go about doing the research on cert course XYZ, that's obviously doomed to failure, but putting the relevant info right up front, clearly, always worked for me.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 801

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But the ESL employment market was very different 15 years ago, even 5 years ago. It seems like there's a teacher glut in almost every country these days, certainly for the more desirable options.

In any case, I didn't mean to imply that a generic cert would make you unemployable. I was just trying to explain why I think that the admittedly tiny disadvantage of a generic cert can have a disproportionate effect in certain circumstances. Especially when you are at the bottom of the ladder in a very competitive environment up against many others with near identical qualifications and experience to you.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 898
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HLJHLJ wrote:
Pitarou wrote:

Just a thought: supposing somebody had attached a copy of the documentary evidence showing that their course meets the criteria. (E.g. a printout of the course website, or a copy of the course curriculum, with the relevant sections highlighted.) Which pile would you have put it in?


Fact checking. If they hadn't even attached the info, it would get ditched.

Try it yourself. Grab the course info of a few random / different ESL courses off the net. Time how long it takes you to read through each one and check the following information:

How many teaching hours are there?
Is there a teaching practicum?
How many hours was the practicum?
Was it was assessed?
Was it with 'real' students or other trainees?

If it takes more than about 5 seconds, 10 seconds max, you know the answer.

I didn't explain myself clearly enough.

My suggestion is that:

1. The CV should say something like: "Acme EFL Teachers's Cert including 120 hours instruction and 9 hours assessed teaching (see attached document for further details)"

2. Attached to the CV, there should be documents about the Acme EFL course, with the relevant parts clearly summarised, signposted and highlighted, so that the guy checking the CV can get the information he needs instantly, and can drill down as much as he needs.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 801

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I understand, but if I am not familiar with 'Acme EFL Teachers's Cert' then I am going to have to read those attached documents to establish exactly what it covered. What sort of teaching? How was it assessed? Who were the students? You could put all that info directly on the CV, but then it becomes wordy and cumbersome, so it's a Catch 22. Whereas, if it said Celta, Sit, Trinity, I would already know the answers without having to give it any further consideration.

At that stage, it wouldn't have mattered to me how clear and easily accessible that extra information was. I didn't look at ANY additional information. It was Bam-Bam-Bam down the checklist and nothing more. Anything that required even the smallest deviation from that wouldn't get checked at that stage.

You say the information is available instantly, but it's not instant, it takes time. Very small amounts of time, but small amounts that quickly add up over large numbers of applications making an already tedious and time consuming process even less efficient with no appreciable benefit to either me or the company.

I can't stress enough how tiny the things I am talking about were. The purpose of the process was to ditch as many of the applications as possible whilst leaving enough suitable applicants to choose from. CV 4+ pages? Too long. Overly complex tables? Too frustrating. Education in a paragraph rather than tabulated or bullet points? Too hard to pick out the relevant data. Anything which slowed me down or made me think FFS was enough to get it ditched.

Those were just some of my criteria in a very specific situation. I can't possibly know how it's approached in every situation the world over, or what criteria are being used, or what the exact nature of the competition is. However, based on my experiences I do assume that there is a process, and so I do whatever I can to make it as quick and easy as possible for the person doing the filtering to choose me, and I recommend others do the same.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 898
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HLJHLJ wrote:
if I am not familiar with 'Acme EFL Teachers's Cert' then I am going to have to read those attached documents to establish exactly what it covered. What sort of teaching? How was it assessed? Who were the students?


Got you. Thanks for explaining it all.
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