TESOL: How many hours?
TESOL stands for: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, which is also commonly referred to as TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Whilst these two terms have slight technical differences they are generally used interchangeably within the industry to say the same thing.
The first distinction in certification types comes about from the differences between an in-class course, an online course, and a combined (or hybrid) course.
Types of certification: in-class
In-class courses are undertaken at a physical location, somewhere in the world. These locations are typically in countries where English is not the first language, but many people are learning it. This means there are plenty of English language learners (ELL’s) available for real teaching lessons, which is a very useful addition to these types of courses. The standard course produces a 120-hour TESOL certification, with a minimum of 6-hours teaching practice and is conducted over four-weeks. As travel is required to the location and a four-week stay in some form of accommodation, these types of courses tend to be the most expensive of the course options.
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Types of certification: online
Online courses are done via a computer, tablet or smartphone and can therefore be taken from anywhere in the world. You will need a stable internet connection to download and upload material to your device, but effectively you can do it from home or while traveling. This and the fact that these courses are cheaper than in-class versions, makes these courses particularly attractive. Many of these courses now also offer an online teaching practice option, so you can gain experience of online teaching as well.
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Types of certification: combined (hybrid)
Combined or hybrid courses encompass both the previous types of course. The online portion, which is typically completed first, can be done from anywhere and covers the theoretical aspects of the course. The in-class portion which typically mainly covers teaching skills and teaching practice is then undertaken at an international training center. The in-class portion is usually covered in 8 to 10 days. Due to the nature of these courses pricing typically falls between those of the in-class and online versions.
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The second distinction between course certification options comes about from the material being studied.
Standard 120-hour TESOL courseMost courses of this type cover two main areas. The first is teaching skills, which covers the theory of how to teach. What level you go to in this section varies from course provider to course provider, but this section of the course should cover:
- Lesson planning………..How and why
- Material development…….. Creating worksheets for example
- Students……………Grouping, levels, motivation theory
- Teaching…………ESL teaching methods
The other half (or so) of the course should cover language awareness. This section of the course should include:
- Parts of speech
- The English tense system
- Other grammar features
Specialized online courses
These courses are usually of about 50-hours duration.
The three main types of specialized courses currently available are those that cover the teaching areas of:
- Young learners
- Business English
- Teaching English online
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A fairly new idea to the online TEFL market are “package courses” or course bundles, which allow you to purchase a range of courses all-in-one at a discount.
Some typical course packages and hours are:
- 170 hour course: consisting of a 120-hour course + one specialized 50-hour course.
- 370 hour course: consisting of a 120-hour course + a 250-hour diploma.
- 500 hours+ course: consisting of a 120-hour course + a 250-hour diploma + a range of specialized courses.
Many other packages exist; they are usually time dependent leading to either a single overall certification or individual certificates for each course completed.