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What is a TEFL Course?

You want to teach English abroad but you're wondering, what is a TEFL course?' A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course is an entry-level EFL qualification with a great reputation. The certification is globally recognised, with many schools worldwide favouring candidates who hold it. If you want to gain the skills and knowledge needed to teach abroad and qualify for teaching jobs, a TEFL course is well worth considering.

A TEFL certification will prepare you to teach English language skills, improve or refresh your understanding of English grammar, and plan lessons for learners. You can expect a TEFL qualification to help you stand out in job applications. You may even find yourself earning a higher salary at the most reputable schools. 

what is a tefl course

Is a TEFL certification required to teach English overseas?

TEFL certification shows you’ve completed the necessary training to teach English as a foreign language. Even though it’s sometimes possible to find teaching roles that don’t require training or any previous experience, a TEFL qualification will make your job search so much easier. Obtaining the qualification will open the door to many opportunities in more countries around the world.

If you don’t hold a TEFL certificate, you may need to restrict your search to particular areas. Whether a TEFL certificate is required or not, it’s still recommended. The course will provide you with important skills for teaching English to your students.

Where can I teach with a TEFL certificate?

When you have a TEFL qualification, you can teach English pretty much anywhere. You could choose to stay in Western Europe, with countries like France, Spain and Italy, which are all popular destinations to teach English. Alternatively, you could head to a whole new continent. Many TEFL teachers go to Central or South America, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, China, Russia, and Eastern Europe to teach English. 

what is a tefl course

How long will a TEFL course last?   

How long your TEFL course lasts is largely up to you. Generally, online TEFL courses range anywhere from 20 to 120 hours of part-time study. Face to face courses are usually slightly shorter. On average, most students take around 10 to 12 weeks to complete 120-hour online TEFL courses.

How long a course takes will depend on your other commitments and how much time you have for study. Online TEFL courses are self-paced, so the length of time to complete them varies according to a several factors. Studying full-time, you could expect to complete a course in under a month. However, if you have other commitments taking up your time, the same course might take several months.

What will I learn in a TEFL course?

A TEFL course teaches you a range of topics. This includes how to teach language skills, how to plan a lesson, how to identify different learning styles, classroom management strategies, and how to build effective learning materials.

Some programs will provide specialised training to allow teachers to adapt their TEFL certification to their chosen teaching position. This could include teaching English to young children, teaching business English, and teaching test preparation courses.

How to teach language skills

This section of a TEFL course should cover key aspects of English language teaching, including writing, reading, speaking, grammar, pronunciation, and listening. Generally, all your lessons should concentrate on teaching a blend of these skills. A TEFL course will teach you how to do this effectively.

Regarding grammar, whilst a TEFL course won’t teach you all aspects of English grammar, it will provide you with a thorough overview. The course will help you learn enough about grammar to teach your students and equip them with the knowledge they need.

woman teaching english

How to plan a lesson

One of the biggest aspects of a TEFL course is finding out how to plan and execute a lesson. Much of the course will involve learning how to shape lesson plans to different class sizes, abilities, and language backgrounds. Once you’ve completed your TEFL course, you should be able to build lesson plans, identify students’ individual needs and establish learning goals.

Learn classroom management strategies

Classroom management is an important part of your TEFL course, even if you have teaching experience. Managing a class full of students can be challenging, especially if you don’t speak the same language. The classroom management module includes strategies for teachers to apply in classrooms where there are students with various learning styles and levels. You’ll learn how to give instructions, how to break students into groups or pairs, and how to recognise when the group is ready to move to the next step.

Build effective learning materials

Building an extensive toolbox of effective teaching materials is essential if you want to teach English as a foreign language. A TEFL course will help you learn how to do this, equipping you with both text-based and online resources. As well as learning how to plan fun and interactive activities and games, you’ll find out how to use the internet most effectively in your lessons.


More information on TEFL course

Want to learn more about studying TEFL? Talk to our Teacher Training team now and let us help you.