TEFL Course Options

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The best way to become a TEFL teacher is to take a TEFL course. There are many different types of courses now available, with their own variations in curricula, delivery methods and recognised qualifications. These are on offer at a large number of schools and institutions at locations all around the country.

Some people might say that gaining an English language qualification is pointless, and argue they have already been speaking and writing English for at least twenty years. However it is surprising how much (or little) most of us know about the mechanics of our native language – it’s a little like the difference between driving and fixing a car.
For example, not everyone knows their predicates from their past participles. One of the more embarrassing moments in many a TEFL teacher’s professional life is not being able to answer an eleven year old Brazilian boy’s simple question about grammar. “It just sounds right” is not a good enough reply. Standing up in front of the class unprepared then is not really a clever career move.

TEFL courses come in all shapes and sizes. These include intensive full-time 4 week programme, part-time and weekend courses, and others held entirely online. Flexible programmes are also available which combine a set number of classroom hours, with time spent studying at home or online.

ACELS (Advisory Council for English Language Schools) standards require students to already have completed a primary degree and stipulate that courses be of at least 115 hours of study duration, including 25 hours of trainer-directed study. Students should ensure that they choose a reputable institution, with a qualification certified by a recognised body, which will be recognised both at home and abroad (more information on this available from the qualifications page in this section).

TEFL training courses should give a good basic introduction to the theory and practice of teaching the English language to non-native speakers.   Subjects taught on a typical TEFL programe might include Language Awareness, Classroom Management, Lesson Planning, Career Information, Language Skills, Testing, Error Correction, Materials Evaluation, Methodology and Presentation/Practice Techniques. There is generally significant homework assigned, and assessment can be through a mix of classroom practice, project work and a final exam.

Practical teaching experience acts as a backbone to many TEFL training courses. The reason people take a TEFL is to prepare for standing up in front of a class full of expectant learners and most programmes therefore have a strong practical emphasis which builds confidence and equips wannabe teachers with practical teaching skills. Trainees usually accompany a qualified teacher during a class, and then take a few classes themselves, while under observation.

Many course providers can provide you with a guaranteed position abroad once you have gained your TEFL qualification.   This can be useful to people, as they should then be placed with a reputable school in a recognised location, however schools will of course charge for this service.

The entry requirements for most TEFL training courses in Ireland are standard. Potential teachers should have a minimum age of 18, although some course providers specify 20 or 21. Most courses (and all recognised by the Irish Department of Education) require trainees to already have an undergraduate degree. Competence in spoken and written English is of course a given for anyone wishing to take a TEFL training course, and there is generally an interview in advance where you may be asked to demonstrate a high level of English language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. However, it is not necessary to be a native English speaker.

The costs of taking a TEFL training courses can vary, depending on the institution, length of course, and qualification at the end. This can begin at about €300 for shorter courses, and go up to over €1000 for longer programmes. It is up to students themselves to decide on the course which they think suits their personal situation the best.

Distance learning and e-Learning are other very viable options for potential teachers looking to gain a fully recognised qualification to teach English. Distance learning programmes can suit people who are looking to get a TEFL certificate, but who cannot commit to full time classes, or travel regularly to attend a course.


Whichcollege.ie is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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