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Online TEFL courses vs. onsite TEFL coursesThis essay will look at online TEFL courses and compare them with onsite TEFL courses. It will focus on issues the cost
, convenience, depth of learning and hands on practice and qualification recognition.
Online TEFL courses cost in the region of $150 -$ 250. They offer courses that are completely online, require no teaching time to become certified and can be completed in as little as a couple of weeks depending on the time put in by the student. (They are usually around 120hrs.) Some courses offer tutor help whilst others that are cheaper offer no tutor support. These courses are very convenient and offer good flexibility as they can be completed from home at a pace and time that suits the student. The topics covered are the same whether you choose online or face to face courses with the focus being on the teaching of grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing; the role of the teacher and EFL methodology; how to motivate students; lesson planning and class management. Online only courses do not offer any teaching practice or face to face contact with other students. The only possible contact would be via online forums that some online courses provide. The qualifications given by some providers have been accredited by an outside validating agency which can help with the credibility of the certificate when approaching potential employers. However with no face to face teaching hours, the online certificate may not be enough to satisfy some employers especially in Europe and other ‘western’ countries.
Onsite TEFL courses cost in the region of $1400 - $2100. The course length is around 4 weeks full time or 12 weeks part time. They include supervised teaching practice and sometimes observation of qualified teachers. Contact between students is plentiful in the classroom and exchanging of ideas can enhance learning. They are, however at fixed times each week which makes them too inflexible for some peoples needs. The content of the course in terms of topics is more or less the same as those detailed for the online courses above but the certificate will also include the number of teaching hours performed which can be a requirement for many employers. Some onsite courses offer CELTA training. This requires the same study hours as other onsite courses (minimum120hrs) but students must also complete assessed
teaching practice and 4 assignments. A CELTA qualification is accredited by the QCA (The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority) at a level 4 on the National Qualifications Framework and as such is widely accepted and preferred by many employers.
There seems to be pros and cons to both the online and the onsite courses. The online courses are much cheaper and offer a more convenient study program than the onsite courses can, however they do not offer teaching practice or the face to face support of peers and tutor. The lack of teaching practice on the online courses may be an issue for absolute beginners; however it is a great option for people with previous classroom experience who are looking to learn the specific ESL methods of teaching. Online courses are also good for people who plan to go overseas to countries where the required qualifications level for teaching is lower, such as developing countries. The online courses may not offer a qualification that enables the person to teach ESL in western countries, due to the lack of teaching hours however it would be a great stepping stone and foundation from which to move onto a course that offers the more highly sought after qualification/accreditation. The onsite courses cost more but result in a certificate such as CELTA that is widely accepted and often required for the ‘better’ jobs in western countries.
In conclusion it would seem that both online and onsite TEFL training courses have benefits and downfalls and it is just a question of individual requirements as to which course is the best option.