TEFL or teaching English as a foreign language refers to teaching English to students whose first language is not English. TEFL usually occurs in the student's own country, either within the state school system, or privately, e.g. in language schools, companies or with a one-on-one tutor. TEFL teachers may be native or non-native speakers of English.
The field of teaching English to speakers of other languages is a growing industry. A qualification in TEFL (TESOL) will open up opportunities to live and work in different countries abroad and meet people from many different backgrounds and cultures.
You will find teaching English can be challenging, rewarding and immensely enjoyable.
IPSA Consortium English Language Schools offer a wide variety of teacher training courses for both native and non-native speakers, including: CELTA, International TEFL certificate and diploma courses.
Whether you choose a CELTA or TEFL course, you should know that all these programs are internationally recognized, all prepare you for a teaching position overseas, and all are good for life. There are, however, several differences among them.
CELTA. The University of Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is the most widely recognized international teacher qualification. The CELTA is a standardized teacher preparation program, so no matter where you take the course, it is more or less the same. If you have a CELTA certificate, prospective employers know exactly what to expect in terms of your training. CELTA requires six hours teaching practice time, six hours of observation, four assignments, a pre-interview task, an interview in the application process, and a pre-course task once you are accepted.
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) courses are also teacher preparation certificate programs, but they are not standardized. Therefore, when evaluating TEFL and TESOL courses, it's important to do your research.
First of all, you want to be sure that the institution is accredited and that this information is stated on your certificate. Another helpful check is to find out how long the institution has been in the language business. IPSA Consortium Language schools offering TEFL course have over 20 years of experience and and accredited by ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training), a U.S. Department of Education-recognized agency.
The CELTA and TEFL Certificate courses are introductory qualifications to the field of English language teaching. They are designed for those with little or no experience of English Language Teaching. Qualification requirements vary considerably, not only from country to country, but also among employers within the same country. In some cases, it may be possible to teach without a BA degree or without a teaching certificate. However, as a general rule, private language schools in some countries are likely to require a certificate based on successful completion of a course consisting of a minimum of 100 hours, usually including about 6 hours of observed teaching practice.
Many language schools will accept any certificate which fulfils these criteria, while others might look for teachers with specific certificates. It is also possible to gain certificates by completing shorter courses, or online courses, but these certificates do not always satisfy employer requirements due to the lack of teaching practice. Also, some private language schools may require teachers to complete their own in-house training programs whether or not they have obtained a certification from elsewhere. Where there is a high demand for teachers and no statutory requirements, employers may be willing to accept unqualified candidates. All in all, each country is different and acceptance depends on the demand for English teachers and the teacher's previous teaching and life experiences.