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  1. #1
    ncs8585 is offline Newbie
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    Default Choosing an online course.

    Hopefully I can avoid too heated of a debate by starting with what I know. First I know that a face to face course with a practical teaching section is better than an online course without. I also know that there is no such thing as an "accredited" certificate or course, the closest being those offering CELTA programs. That is about the extent of what I know other than my own situation. For me time and money are both tight, that is the first reason I am looking to the online courses. The second reason is that while I know this could become a very rewarding career, I am not certain it will be a good enough fit for me to justify the added expense. If it becomes something I enjoy enough to choose as my second career I fully intend to take additional training to improve myself, just not now.

    With that out of the way, what I am looking for is help in choosing a specific program. I do not want to start an argument about which is best as I have seen enough of those to find them unhelpful. What I can hopefully find are the ones to avoid. If you have a company that, in your opinion, did not live up to their end of the bargain or cost more than they should that is what I am looking for. I have tried some of the review sites but there are just so many programs, ads, and questionable reviews that it has just became noise to me.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Choosing an online course.

    Welcome to the forum, ncs.

    I know this is not going to be exactly the answer you wanted, but it will have to suffice until others chip in.

    It is a fact (I pass no judgement on this) that few reputable schools will employ beginning teachers with a purely online certificate. Most reputable schools insist on beginning teachers holding a certificate that has involved about 100 hours or more of instruction (this may be online) and at least six hours of observed teaching.

    Some schools do not insist on the Trinity Cert TESOL or the Cambridge CELTA, both of which can be obtained partly through online instruction, and both of which are recognised by the British Council, but few will accept online courses with no observed teaching practice.

    I know from personal experience as a trainer that some of the 100+ hours (instruction) plus 6+ hours (observed TP) are as sound as the Trinity and Cambridge courses. There are sometimes only two significant differences between them:

    1. The Cambridge and Trinity validated courses are moderated by highly respected institutions. You can be 97+% sure that the particular institution whose course you are taking is sound. Other institutions claim to be validated by various self-appointed validating institutions unrecognised by any government-approved body. You may get a good course, but you may not.

    2. The Cambridge and Trinity certificates are recognised and accepted by many schools and governments throughout the world. Others, even though their courses may be just as good, are not.

    You'll also find that most institutions offering 100+- and 6+- hour courses are not significantly cheaper than Cambridge and Trinity courses. If some are, you have to ask yourself why. Apart from anything else, are they paying their trainers low salaries? If so, why?

    As for the purely online courses with no observed teaching practice, their certificates are not worth the cost of the paper they are printed on. When I last searched, I found a couple of places offering online courses lasting only a weekend leading to an 'internationally recognised' certificate for under $200. Do you really want to work for schools (if they exist) who would employ somebody as a trained teacher on such a non-qualification?

  3. #3
    ncs8585 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Choosing an online course.

    Thanks for the quick reply. I did see some of the "weekend" courses and quickly clicked away from them. The 6+ is the one big thing I know I would be missing from an online only course. I have sent a request of more information from one of the language schools I was looking to work for. They listed the requirements as "B.A. + CELTA,TEFL,TESOL certificate or equivalent". I can not remember the exact wording I used but I asked if their was a program that they would recommend or one to avoid. If I had the time and other resources to devote to CELTA program I would go that route and be done. I would be very comfortable with that certification as many of the programs I see offering it are part of actual universities. Hopefully I will hear from the school I contacted and that will give me an idea, at least with them.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Choosing an online course.

    Quote Originally Posted by ncs8585 View Post
    If I had the time and other resources to devote to CELTA program I would go that route and be done.
    I appreciate that there may be financial and time restraints that are insurmountable. However, if you are a graduate, given the costs and time involved in training for most jobs/trades/professions these days, the one to two thousand pounds (plus accommodation) and four to five weeks involved in the acquisition of a qualification that can help you find a teaching job in the private sector in many countries, and in the state sector in some, is pretty reasonable.

    If you want to advance in the industry/profession,you'll need to think about a DELTA/Trinity Dip TESOL at some time, but you needn't worry about that at the start.

    If you want to teach in the university sector, then a Masters in TEFL/Applied Linguistics is becoming a sine qua non in many parts of the world, and that will cost you £5,000 to £12,000 or more, and take one year (full time) or two years (part time/distance learning). Unfortunately, despite the apparent status of a Masters degree, most TEFL/Applied Linguistics MA courses require no observed teaching practice. As a consequence, many schools (not universities) will choose a person with a CELTA/Trinity Cert in preference to one with an MA if neither has any prior teaching experience.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Choosing an online course.

    How about a blended course as a compromise?

  6. #6
    ncs8585 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Choosing an online course.

    Money wise it is not much of a compromise, but 1-2 weeks is easier to schedule than 4-6. I have only found a few blended programs. How are they viewed when you start looking for employment?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Choosing an online course.

    Quote Originally Posted by ncs8585 View Post
    Money wise it is not much of a compromise, but 1-2 weeks is easier to schedule than 4-6. I have only found a few blended programs. How are they viewed when you start looking for employment?
    I know how I would feel if someone came to my school asking for a job as a teacher, telling me that he was fully qualified because he had been on a 1-2 week course. I am pretty cynical about the many CELTA/Trinity graduates who feel that a 4-week course* makes them teachers, but anyone who claimed that a 1-2 week course made them a teacher would have me rolling on the floor.

    Teachers in our 'profession' will never have the respect many of them seem to feel they deserve until some of them begin to realise that most of the world does not feel that a a week or four's attendance at a course and vaguely fulfilling the course requirements makes you a teacher. In most countries in the world, the state will recognise people as teachers only after a minimum of three years of undergraduate level education/training with at least a few dozen hours of observed teaching practice. We all know that, throughout history, there have been some immensely gifted teachers who have not had one minute of formal training, but most of us are not that naturally gifted.

    *I am not mocking Cambridge and Trinity. Both institutions clearly state in their literature that their certificates recognise the holder's ability as a beginning teacher.

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