FAQ - Answers to many of our most asked questions are here!
1. With many certificate courses advertised, how do I know which one to choose?
Many good schools exist. They are well-managed and have professional and qualified teachers. But, “TEFL” is simply an acronym - there is no governing TEFL agency or organization to safeguard you from people who say they are a center for teacher training but are shoddy. There is nothing to keep you from falling prey to a company offering “recognized certificates.” There are some key features of a good TEFL certificate course that you should demand:
- At least 100 hours of time spent in the classroom studying how to be a teacher. This should be subdivided into language awareness, methodology & planning and cultural studies.
- At least 20 additional hours of observation and practice teaching spent under supervision & following the direction of an experienced and trained teacher.
- Some form of oversight like an official governmental approval/accreditation which controls quality. Employers look for teachers who have taken courses that meet or surpass these criteria. Courses that do not meet these criteria are probably not well-recognized certificates.
2. How are TESOL, TEFL and ESL different? And what is CELTA?
Basically, they are the same thing – just acronyms for Teaching English to non-native speakers. TESOL is more common in the US, and TEFL in the UK. ESL is slightly different in that it is English taught to students in English-speaking countries while TEFL is taught in non-English speaking countries. CELTA (Certificate for English Language Teaching to Adults) is one of the original TESOL certificate courses. It’s name recognition may be due in part to its longevity.
For a complete explanation, click here for the Wikipedia article on "English Language Learning and Teaching".
3. I’ve seen shorter courses and distance learning – they are numerous and very cheap – what about them?
See point one – it is true that employers check credentials. The main way you learn to teach is through classroom time with students, not simply a load of online work and reading. Would you trust an engine mechanic who had never worked on an engine, but had read all about wrenches? Potential employers are wary of poorly-trained teachers – you have been warned.
4. Is TEFL Phuket’s certificate recognized world-wide?
Yes. All of our certificates are officially registered with the Thai Ministry of Education. This carries weight that other non-accredited courses cannot – especially in higher paying countries like Japan, Korea and China.
5. In my research, these courses seem really tough – are they?
The most important factor is interaction with your instructors. With good teachers, you will naturally develop rapport and your learning will progress more easily. Our instructors have a combined 40+ years of educational experience throughout Asia and the world. We run a student-centered program and will assist you in every way possible to have a great time becoming an English Teacher. Your teaching success is our mission.
6. Is it possible to get credit at university for the course?
Yes! This generally requires that you have a provision within your degree for some form of independent study and your university may stipulate some kind of summary paper or project to be submitted. If you are a student at university, contact us early and we will work within your program to help your TEFL course qualify for credit if possible.
7. I don’t have a degree, can I still get a job?
The answer depends on where you want to teach. The Thai ministry of Education requires an undergraduate degree to work in Thai schools as a teacher - to legally work in Thailand as a teacher, you need a degree. Sometimes these rules are bent, due to the demand for teachers, but this is at the discretion of the school.
Outside of Government schools, working in resorts, businesses or as a private tutor, there is more leniency in degrees. Working legally is the best option in Thailand.
The shortage of well-trained English teachers in Asia means flexibility in requirements elsewhere. Other countries (like China or Japan) allow employment without a degree. So, working as an ESL teacher without a degree is possible, but you should choose your destination carefully and prepare to outshine your competition.
8. I’m not sure studying grammar is my cup of tea. Can I still do the course?
You already know about 99% of all English grammar as a native speaker. You simply need the labels for different things. That is what we do – connect the labels with the things you already know. You are not required to have any knowledge of formal English Grammar when you arrive. We’ll cover it, but more in the form of language awareness – what works and what doesn’t in international English usage.
9. I’d like some help getting a job. What do you offer?
TEFL Phuket operates two language schools in Phuket. We have numerous contracts for private training at resorts. We have relationships with many government and private schools. We have hundreds of private tutoring clients. While nothing is guaranteed, we can help you find a job in Phuket or elsewhere in Thailand and Asia.
10. If I sign up, I want to pass. Am I qualified or suitable? Which types of people take your course? Maybe I’m too old? What is your pass/fail rate?
For TEFL Certification courses, any native or fluent speaker of the English language may enroll. Don’t worry. You’ll end up having so much fun it'll be easy to apply yourself and to pass. The course is intensive, but we are 5 minutes from the beach, so you’ll be able to do your home work with your toes in the white sand, if you choose.
Again, as a native English speaker, you are qualified to take the course. You should also pay attention to your personal presentation - personal hygiene and presentation are important in Asia. You should be somewhat comfortable with the idea of presenting information publicly, but you’ll get training and practice time. Teaching entails standing in front of a group for 50 minutes and appearing confident - is this you? No prior experience teaching is necessary.
The people who take the course are a cross-section of society making a new life change. We have twenty-somethings fresh out of college, career changers in their thirties and forties and early retirees looking for some meaningful time overseas.
No, you are not too old. Can you learn and change and adapt to new environments and new situations? Then you are ready to try.
11. I still have doubts. Why should I choose TEFL Phuket?
- Our school is 5 minutes walk from one of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches!
- We are approved by the Thai Ministry of Education. You can be assured we are serious about teaching you to teach well.
- Our program gives you greater opportunity to teach actual students than any other program in Phuket.
- We focus on creating a supportive and caring learning environment.
- We have housing options to suit your price range. Our housing is as low as $200 per month.
- We teach private lessons, groups, companies and at public schools – you’ll be exposed to a wide variety of students including children and adults.
- We include Thai language lessons so you can experience the mindset of a beginning language learner – which makes you a better teacher.
- Part of your course is preparing lesson plans and curriculum that you can actually use as you move into your teaching career.
- Our facilities are modern, our school is clean and new, and our staff are professional.
- Phuket, Thailand is a fun and relaxed tropical island paradise.
12. Sounds good - How do I apply for a visa?
Visit online any Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for visa information particular to the country for which you hold a passport. We recommend a 2 month tourist visa, but the standard tourist on arrival 30 day visa is enough to complete your course, as it is expendable with a day trip on a visa run.
13. Do I need to speak Thai to teach in Thailand?
The skills you learn in our courses will allow you to teach throughout the world, so learning the native tongue of the country in which you will teach is not required. However, knowledge of the native tongue can be helpful and increases your abilities as a teacher, which is why we include learning about Thai language, commmunication, and cultural skills in our TEFL Certification courses.