Another wise reader recently asked:
do you think it matters whether the certification is done online or in a classroom setting?
This comes up a lot, so it is worth talking about. And it is an important decision.
My answer is: YES, it does matter if you take an online course versus an in-classroom course.
In my opinion – it will always be better to take a full four-to-six week in-classroom course. Period.
Do most employers care? Probably not. The two biggest employers of teachers of English – China and Korea – both will accept online training. Many jobs in both countries don’t require TEFL Training, but they are happy that you at least got SOME training. Some countries won’t accept online, such as Indonesia – but that is the only country I am fairly sure about. Some employers care, but again, the employers in China and Korea – in my experience – will accept both.
But – the question was: do you think it matters
You will get a better training experience with an in-classroom course. Plus, some online courses do not offer observed teaching practice (many do these days) and that will also help you a lot. If money is NOT a factor – get the in-classroom course. Even what you learn from your fellow teacher-trainees is helpful.
However, many people can not afford the four to six weeks of full time attendance at a course PLUS the expensive tuition of US$1500-2500++ depending on where a course is offered. In that case, my opinion has always been that some training is always better than no training and an online course can help you get the basics of teaching and correct many a newbie teacher’s misconceptions about how to teach English.
So – bottom line – if you can afford a full Monty of a course, absolutely go get one. If you can not, online is a good option.
If training is NOT required where you intend to go and you wish only to teach for a year or two -then online is also fine. If you are not sure how long you might want to teach, start with an online course, teach for a year or two and if you – like so many of us – decide to continue exploring the world long term – then go back and get a good 4-6 week course to help you polish your skills.
TED’s Tips™ #1: Take an in-classroom course if you can. If you can’t, an online course is better than no training at all.
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