Tefl - teaching english as a foreign language

Tefl advice:

TEFL can be an exciting adventure or career for many people, with opportunities around the world. TEFL means Teaching English as a Foreign Language. It is a term used to describe the teaching of English to non-native speakers. There are a number of courses and qualifications which are similar to TEFL and may be used to refer to the same jobs. The English language is in ever increasing demand throughout the world. Knowledge of the English language and the ability to use this language is rapidly becoming a valuable global commodity. Teaching English as a Foreign Language is certainly an exciting adventure, and one many thousands enjoy every year.

Basic Requirements

There as some basic requirements for TEFL job and courses around the world, these usually include:

  • Speak English to a native level.
  • A strong knowledge of the English grammar system.
  • The ability to clearly explain grammar terms and to be clearly understood (I.e. don't mumble).
  • The ability to stand at the front of a class and 'teach'.
  • Recognise that TEFL is more than just classroom based teaching, but also requires a great deal of lesson planning and marking/ assessing students work.
  • Adventurous, a passion for teaching and a friendly, patient and empathetic personality.
  • For some countries/ employers a TEFL qualification and/or a bachelors degree is required.


Many countries and language schools will expect you to have some level of TEFL qualification. The qualification vary from short online courses to intensive masters courses that can last two years. NOTE- Many employers (at least most of the good ones) will want a minimum of 6 hours practical classroom based teaching experience as a minimum. Most online courses don't offer this option so it is recommended you take a CELTA, TrinityTESOL or similar qualification.


This is the most popular course, and by many counts the most internationally recognised TEFl course available. Over 8000 people complete the course every year and it is validated by the respected examination board, The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). CELTA courses are usually 4-week intensive programmes although it is sometimes possible to take the course on a part-time basis. In all CELTA courses, observed teaching practice is an important and integral part of the programme. There are more than 200 centres offering CELTA courses in over 40 countries around the world. The course cost varies depending on centre, but is usually between £800 and £1400.

  • Trinity's certTESOL

The certTESOL certificate is generally internationally recognised to be an equivalent of the CELTA certificate. About 4,000 candidates annually qualify for the Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. The Trinity syllabus is strictly controlled with basic requirements common to all validated centres, including the teaching component required by many employers. The course cost varies depending on location, but is usually between £700 and £1250.

  • Online Courses

There are many hundreds of different online courses related to TEFL. Some are very good, others are a scam where you pay hundreds of pounds for a worthless paper 'certificate' at the end of the course. I would recommend researching courses very carefully, ensuring that they are at least 120 hours in length and include a classroom based teaching component of six hours minimum. Note that many employers require a course that is taught in a class, so this would exclude people doing online courses. Costs vary wildly from £60 to £1000.

  • Masters Degree

The pinnacle of TEFL would be a masters in English/ Linguistics specialising in TEFL. For more please contact individual university departments as course syllabuses vary greatly.

  • For more information on courses and their validity see the British Council's advice.

Job Hunting

Perhaps the hardest part after completing a TEFL course. Ensure that you follow common guidelines for completing a CV or Resume available here on the TSR Wiki- CVs.

Sources and Further Information

--Sun-124649 14:38, 8 April 2012 (UTC)