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Listed below are the most frequently asked questions regarding TEFL London Trinity Cert TESOL course. Simply click on a question in the list below to be taken directly to the answer.

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Questions TESOL

1. TESOL? TEFL? TESL? TEAL? ELT? TESL What do they all mean?

Basically they all mean the same. They are terms used to describe the teaching of the English Language to students who are not native speakers of English. The main difference is the country where the teaching takes place. TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Second or Other Languages) and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) are standard terms for English language teaching in non-English speaking countries. TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and TEAL (Teaching English as an Additional Language) are normally related to English teaching among immigrant and refugee communities in English-speaking countries. TEFL and TESL are more frequently used in Europe as acronyms, while TESOL and TEAL are more commonly used in North America.

2. With so many English Teacher Training courses advertised, how do I know which to apply for?

The explosive growth in English language teaching has led to a corresponding increase in training courses offered. Unfortunately, not all courses are of the same quality or usefulness. While many are professionally managed and have good course content, some are of a dubious standard. Correspondence courses, for example, with no method of observed teaching practice, are very questionable. Also, there are programmes offering one or two week introductory courses. Some of these may be very good at introducing you to teaching, but they cannot offer you as much as an intensive month-long course, and will not result in a recognized certificate which employers expect.

Before deciding on a course, the questions to ask yourself are:

How is the quality of the course assessed and validated?
Many courses are validated by the very people who run the course. This does not lead to objective quality control and the maintenance of high standards. Consequently, most employers will have less confidence in these courses.

How many hours does the course consist of?
Many potential employers will want to know how many hours your course work was and how many hours of observed teaching practice you had. Recognised courses are normally between 120 and 150 hours with a minimum of 6 hours observed Teaching Practice.

Is the course internationally recognized?
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing English training courses is whether they lead to an internationally recognized qualification or not. Without one, you might miss out on opportunities to teach English in the country of your choice. This is particularly so in the highly popular teaching locations where competition is much tougher and having a certificate which a potential employer will recognise, can make all the difference. If you are considering taking a qualification validated by a body which you are not familiar with, you should seek advice from an organisation such as the British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/learning-teaching.htm One of the few, and most respected qualifications, is in fact the Trinity Cert TESOL, which is why our course leads to this industry benchmark qualification.

3. Can I get a job without a TESOL certificate?

Yes, it is possible in a few countries to get teaching jobs without TESOL certification, however this is becoming much rarer as schools and companies where you might teach, increasingly require a recognized TESOL certificate. Also, these are usually low-paying jobs with poor conditions.

The Trinity Cert. TESOL

4. Why choose the Trinity Cert. TESOL?

The Trinity Cert. TESOL is one of the most widely recognized and highly regarded initial TESOL qualifications. Any potential employer, if they have any knowledge at all of English as a foreign language, will know the Trinity Cert. TESOL. In addition, the courses are validated, and syllabus and assessment criteria are fixed, by Trinity College London. This assures quality control in a number of areas. All centres are subject to approval by Trinity College and have to maintain standards in order to retain this approval. If a centre is failing to meet the required standards, approval to run courses will be withdrawn by Trinity College. Every Trinity Cert. TESOL course is moderated by an external assessor. Each Trinity Cert. TESOL trainer has to be approved by Trinity College London (which includes meeting their requirements regarding teaching experience and qualifications) and has to undergo a lengthy induction process. All the above contribute to the excellent reputation that the Trinity Cert. TESOL enjoys.

5. How many courses are there worldwide every year?

Over 600 courses are run worldwide each year, either full time or part time.

6. How many people take the course worldwide every year?

Currently over 7000 candidates worldwide gain the Certificate each year.

7. Is the Trinity Cert. TESOL a recognized qualification?

Yes, it is officially recognised by the British Council as an initial qualification for English language teaching internationally.

8. What is the average pass rate?

Course pass rates are currently 96%. Of these, around 10% achieve an A grade with B and C grades equally distributed. There is a high pass rate because applicants are screened and their progress is monitored closely during the course. As a result of our careful selection procedures, only around 4% of trainees fail the course.

9. Can I do the course by correspondence or on-line?

No. The Trinity Cert. TESOL is a practical teaching course and the experience you acquire on the course teaching non-English speaking students (with its emphasis on continuous assessment of classroom practice), together with the interaction with trainers and with your fellow students are essential elements and so not suitable for distance learning.

The Applicant

10. What kind of people take the course?

Although most course participants are native speakers of English, there are sometimes non-native speakers with acceptable competency in English. A typical course will have several people in their early twenties, some who are recent graduates and want to travel overseas in order to get work experience. Other older trainees may want a career change or be approaching, at, or past retirement age and may want to start another career or earn money while they travel the world. Most trainees have come especially to do the course in their chosen location, while a few are already based there. In addition, although the Cert. TESOL is an initial training course, i.e. for those who have no previous experience of teaching English, there may be trainees on the course who have taught English before and who wish to gain an ELT qualification. However, seminar input and guidance for teaching practice will assume no prior teaching experience.

11. Do I need a university degree to take the course?

No, you don't have to be a graduate but it is preferred. Whilst the course is essentially practical, it is, however, recommended that applicants should have formal qualifications which would allow entry into higher education in order to cope with the academic side of the course. In some cases, work experience may be accepted in place of qualifications. Your application will ultimately be judged on whether we think you are capable and motivated enough to meet the demands of the course.

12. Does the course cater for people with a lack of grammatical knowledge?

Yes, there are books we recommend you read before the course starts, also there is a pre-course task to complete once you have been accepted onto the course and our unique, 2-day Grammar review session, giving you a chance to brush up on your Grammar before you begin your teaching practice. During the course we also have language analysis input sessions to help you.

13. Is age a factor?

There is no upper age limit, but all applicants have to be at least 18 years old. While the majority of trainees who take the course are in their 20's and 30's, individuals of all ages teach English. Some employers may have a preference for younger teachers, whilst others tend to prefer more 'mature' teachers who can bring the benefit of business or professional experience to their lessons.

14. Can I do the course if English is not my first language?

Yes, you need not have English as your first language provided that your awareness and competence in written and spoken English enables you to follow the course without hindrance. Your ability to speak and write English accurately and effectively enough to be a teacher of English will be assessed in your application form and interview. Please note that many employers only employ, or have a strong preference for, native speakers

15. Do I need to be able to speak a foreign language?

No. The TESOL programme uses the universally accepted Communicative Approach in teacher training, where English is the only language used in the classroom for all levels of foreign language students taught.

16. Do I need to have taught before in order to do the course?

No. The TESOL course is designed as a pre-service course for people with no previous teaching experience.

17. What books can I read about teaching ELT?

When you are accepted onto the TESOL course, you are given a recommended reading list with your acceptance letter.

Applying / Admin

18. If the Trinity Cert. TESOL is designed for those with no previous experience, why are there interviews?

One important reason is for us to assess applicants' language awareness and potential (see points 2 and 3 under 'entry requirements' above). Language awareness includes, among other things, the ability to identify and describe: meaning and differences in meaning; levels of formality; and the basic structure of a sentence. The questions do not require previous teaching experience or advanced study of the English language, and we do not assume knowledge of linguistic terminology - although we would expect candidates to be familiar with basic terms such as 'noun', 'adjective' and 'verb'.

An additional reason is for you to get the opportunity to talk to a teacher trainer, ask any questions not already raised and to allow you to consider more carefully whether the Trinity Cert. TESOL is the right course for you.

Perhaps the main aim is to make sure that we don't offer a place to - and accept money from - someone who we feel does not have a good chance of passing the course.

19. Do I have to have an interview in London?

No. Interviews are by telephone, unless, of course, you are in or near London, in which case a face to face interview will be arranged. Telephone interviews typically last 20-25 minutes and the applicant makes the call.

20. What do I need to bring to do the course?

For your teaching practice you will sometimes need to create materials, so you will need to buy office supplies such as card, scissors and glue. These are easily and cheaply available. It is also useful for you to bring some "authentic material" to be used with learners. For example, Tourist Brochures, newspapers, magazines, video with TV programmes/adverts, city maps, family photos.

You will not need to bring any textbooks with you, as the course library contains all you need for essay assignments and lesson plans. To help you during the course you will also have access to computers and the internet for study purposes.

21. Can you provide accommodation for candidates during the course?

For those trainees that are in need of accommodation during the course we have a wide range of choices to suit their requirements and budget. Our Host Families, Flat Share, Student Residences & Hotels are all provided by partner agencies who are specialists in providing a high standard of accommodation inspected to British Council standards.

Accommodation is conveniently located on the main transport links to the school, so trainees are never more than 45 minutes journey time from the school, whether they choose from our Central or Outer options.

22. Are the course fees refundable?

Click here to see full terms and conditions of enrolment.

The Course

23. What does the Pre-Course Task involve?

Most native speakers of English, although they may use the language effectively, are not necessarily aware of the nuts and bolts of how it actually works. The task is designed to give you some initial orientation. Its function is to raise your awareness of issues and terminology associated with the study of English grammar, vocabulary and phonology.

The Pre-Course task is an obligatory assignment which should be completed before the course starts. It is divided into two parts:

Part one: grammar and vocabulary
Part two: phonology

In each part, you will complete a self-study task in which you are directed to some exercises from:

How to Teach English by Jeremy Harmer (Longman, 1998)

You will need this book to complete the task. The task should be handed in on the first day of the course.

24. How much work does the course involve?

The course is extremely intensive. Expect to be at the school for about 8 hours a day and to spend a couple more, on average, working at home. It is strongly advised that candidates have no other professional or personal commitments during the course as these could seriously compromise your result.

25. Who are the practice students?

The students are multi-lingual students, many of whom are studying other courses at Bloomsbury International and the majority of whom will be in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.

They are fully aware that the lessons are taught by Trainee Teachers. Class sizes vary, with an average of 10-12 students, not normally exceeding 14.

26. Who are the tutors?

Your Course Director will be supported by a team of 2-4 tutors. They will be responsible for leading input sessions, observing and supporting you through teaching practice. Tutors are all qualified to at least Diploma level, with experience in teaching and teacher training around the world. They combine professional expertise with a positive approach and enthusiasm, key qualities in helping their trainees to succeed. Click here for more information on our team.

27. Can you describe a typical day? How is the course organised?

A typical morning on the course will consist of teaching practice. Before teaching, tutors supervise lesson planning sessions to prepare for lessons taught that week. Trainees have to teach two different classes at different levels for two weeks each. The lessons are observed by a tutor and the other trainees. Immediately after teaching practice trainees are given feedback on their teaching with the focus on what has been successful and what needs to be improved to make progress. The afternoons are generally when we have our ‘input’ lessons which cover various areas such as language awareness, how to teach different skills and classroom management.

28. What are the input sessions like?

We believe in learning through involvement, and trainees are expected to participate in many different ways during the sessions. Where necessary, information will be supplied, but more commonly you will experience a workshop approach, where your tutor acts as a "facilitator/animator" rather than as a lecturer.

29. What written work is involved?

During the course a number of assignments are given. These include a record of your experience learning the unknown language, a profile of one of the teaching practice students, and a diagnosis of their language difficulties. Some homework is given but your evenings will primarily be taken up with lesson planning.

All these sessions and assignments are interwoven throughout the course and are geared to provide a balanced and integrated course.

30. How will I be assessed?

Assessment on teaching practice is continuous and is based on both actual performance and our assessment of your future potential. Trinity College award a certificate to all successful candidates on completion of the course. All grades are moderated externally by a moderator appointed by Trinity College. Oxford Tefl awards A,B,C pass grades and a D fail grade.

Much of the success of the Cert. TESOL is due to the high level of rapport, co-operation and friendship established between participants and tutors on the course.

After The Course

31. Assuming I pass, what will I actually receive?

Trainees can collect or phone or e-mail for their grades on the Monday after course finishes. Later you will receive two certificates. The first is your Bloomsbury International Certificate. This includes details of the candidate's performance and achievement. The second is from Trinity College London. They will be sent to you at the address you give us (or you can choose to collect them from the school).

32. What are the chances of finding a job after completing the course?

Excellent. Successful graduates go on to obtain teaching posts in a wide range of countries immediately after completing their qualification. We offer as a part of the course professional development input sessions to help you make the best use of your certificate. The only exceptions tend to be graduates who wish to work in a relatively difficult location (due to demand, timing or regulations).

33. Does Bloomsbury International provide job placement assistance?

Yes - prior to graduation we conduct job workshops on a group and individual basis to help with all aspects of job seeking, from CV/resume construction and interview techniques to arranging job interviews and assistance with finding a teaching job. We have excellent contacts with many language schools around the world who are looking for teachers. Trainees are also welcome to consult us for advice after the course has finished.

34. What about a future in TEFL?

TEFL, the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages, is a growth industry. There are an estimated one billion learners throughout the world. There are many opportunities for suitably qualified people to travel taking advantage of their ability to teach English.

After a few years experience, usually in more than one context, teachers may be interested in going further in their ELT development - undertaking a Diploma or Masters level ELT course can often enhance career possibilities. Apart from teaching, opportunities in ELT can be as diverse as its participants: writing materials, becoming involved in course design, teacher training and so on.

For an idea of current opportunities, try the Guardian every Tuesday and specialist ELT publications such as The EFL Gazette as well as the many websites which co-ordinate job offers, such as Dave's ESL Café and TEFL.com

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