There are three general teaching and learning modes currently employed to deliver TESOL certification.
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Face-to-face learning: This traditional method of certification is still popular around the world as it offers many advantages. Good quality courses are completed under the guidance of professional teacher trainers. Most good courses in this bracket also include live teaching practice with real language learners.
Online learning: This is probably now the most used method in terms of active participants worldwide and is an ever expanding area of ESL teaching and learning. There are a huge number of organizations offering these courses in a range of different lengths and formats.
Hybrid: This mode of teaching where some of the learning is done online and some in-class has been around for a long time as it offers a convenient mix of the previous two options. Typically, the trainee completes all the theory of TESOL online, before attending a training center to complete further study and teaching practice.
Online TESOL courses vary greatly depending on the provider. We can however pick out some common features of the better courses, these include;
- A minimum of 120-hours of study
- Optional tutor support
- Course content includes teaching skills and language awareness (grammar)
- A reasonable time-frame to complete the course, allowing for personal study preferences
- Being able to study from any location in the world
- A modular structure of the course content
- Continuous assessment of study topics
- Qualified and experienced tutors
- Accredited and moderated by a recognized body (such as a university)
Recognition of a course comes from accreditation in the first instance. Accreditation is usually carried out by a recognized educational body, such as a university. Secondly, any company that is recognized within the industry will have built up links with employers and other educational service providers. Have a look at what affiliations the TESOL provider has and do these look like they would be useful?
Online TESOL certification is recognized by almost all employers nowadays. You may find some employers will want you to also have some practical teaching experience, but this really depends on the country and the type of employment position you are looking for.
Other things that you should look out for when you are choosing an online TESOL course could include:
- Websites: Do they look professional, have working links and so forth?
- Certification: Do you get a real certificate delivered to you as part of the course?
- Price: Too low or too high in comparison to the average, both can be a problem.
- Reputation: Has the company been in business for long, do they have blogs, videos, and recommendations?
- Teaching practice: Is any teaching practice available either within the course or as an add-on to the certificate?
Online teaching and learning is now the largest part of the TESOL market and so online courses carry a similar weight to in-class courses. You will be able to find ESL employment with an online TESOL certificate. If you do your research on the company with whom you want to take your certification, you should have a good learning experience and put yourself on a career path with endless possibilities.