Online TEFL courses - there are hundreds of them for adults and then when you consider that not only adults need qualified TEFL teachers, young learners need them just as much possibly even more given their state of development.
Young learners don't have the coping capacities of adults and thus we get and even wider array of TEFL courses that the teacher must choose from to learn how to teach TEFL and so we will very lightly touch on some core requirements that a successful TEFL program for young learners has.
So before we get into the nitty-gritty of core points in online TEFL courses for adults, which is the focus of this article, we want to just say a wee bit about an area that most want to be teachers often overlook when they embark on their teaching careers and that is the area of course selection of TEFL for teaching young learners.
This area of TEFL teaching is expanding and when we say young learners we mean young. Some of these students may be only 3 years old. Obviously the curriculum implementation and approaches to classroom management are of course radically different from adult oriented TEFL curricula.
Some of the hallmarks of this is a difference in pace, liveliness, fun, games and massive increases in student to student and student to teacher engagement. At such a young age, teaching verb and subject agreement a clear and ever present area any online TEFL course for adults has no place in a TEFL course for kids. But studying the unique teaching presentation methods that young learners require does. Learning how to teach body parts with the Hockey Pockey song does.
Learning how to teach colors and shapes in a fun and engaging way does. Learning how to teach songs that reinforce basic vocabulary does. Plus young learners' needs need to met more clearly. (We'll get into this in more detail in later articles.) This all culminates in an entirely different curriculum the TEFL teacher must take into account to pick the best TEFL course given the teachers' situation. (Class size, rates of learning, age gaps etc.)
Now back to where the bulk of research and comparison teachers must evaluate in selecting the best online courses young teachers (or those wishing to get a refresher) go through. In short the buyer of the course needs to find the answer to this question. "What makes an online TEFL course a good one and which ones are highway robbery?"
Online TEFL courses are not all exactly the same, there are quite a few differences in their teaching methodology, presentation methods and to some degree material covered.
However despite this, the overwhelming fact that can not be denied is the similarities in online TEFL courses far outweighs their differences. It must.
Although the reason enrollees have for taking online TEFL courses varies, the methodology of teaching is fundamentally the same. And if you think about it even for a minute, it will ring true.
This is where you really have to do your homework. After all we are all familiar with the caveat emptor - laisse l'acheteur se méfier - Let the buyer beware. So ask penetrating questions, scouring the internet, becoming best buddies with Facebook and due diligence should always be to the fore before you plunk down your hard earned cash.
We recommend myTEFL.net. We hear great things about them and their program and their customer service is top crank. These guys go a step further than most of your online TEFL providers. They will give you help with crafting your cover letter and resume to ensure maximum impact if you get an interview.
So your next question may be "Okay but what is typically covered in a decent grammar module?" One it depends on the length of the course. However if you are serious about teaching, you shouldn't be messing around with 60 hour courses. If you're just curious about the world of TEFL and are in the tire kicking stage, a cheap 60 hour course might be worth the satisfaction in curing your curiosity.
Average online TEFL courses usually have several modules devoted to grammar. (Note: this is not true of taster 20 hour courses and short courses.) Here we are focusing on the industry standard which is 120 hours. Points that are commonly covered are:
Core Grammar - The Backbone of the Language and The Parts of Speech Such as:
Writing Related Grammar - Online TEFL Courses
Writing and punctuation should also be a core element in online TEFL courses. Because children often have a great deal of trouble getting a grip on mastering writing skills sometimes it causes a TEFL teacher to avoid teaching it.
Sometimes you don't know what age group or groups you'll be asked to teach. For young learners phonics, stroke order of writing letters is critical. Then letter combinations which culminate in simple words. Then actual sentence structures are taught.
And in older students once simple sentences are understood then it is time to bring them together into paragraphs that form a coherent story. Whenever possible writing should be worked in gradually and combined with other skill sets like listening and reading. This necessitates the uses of punctuation in order to form the story. In general online TEFL courses will teach the following forms of punctuation in their writing modules.
Here is the core at the basic level:
Here is the core at the more advanced level:
Your best friend should be a grammar text to supplement and back up certain grammar points you didn't quite get. Here is an excellent site for self study. Grammar Monster.
Online TEFL Courses and Classroom Management
All the grammar and teaching methodology in the world won't save you if you don't know how to manage your classroom and students. So where does it all begin?
Online TEFL Courses and Reading
It goes without saying that when teaching ESL, reading is a key element. So TEFL courses must include this critical element. The basics of teaching reading from the ground up should be taught. After all if you can't read how can you use a text book? It should be taught to the TEFL teacher in a systematic way. If it were to be taught from the ground up, typically it should be:
Online TEFL Courses and Writing
Just like other skills that are typically taught in online TEFL courses, writing skills are critical and these skills need to be taught early on (L2) level. So your TEFL course should have several modules that address this acquired skill. The issue with writing is that it is not a naturally acquired skill like speaking is. And like reading it progresses systematically.
Online TEFL Courses and Listening
Of course any TEFL course should have multiple modules on listening that teach core skills and sub skills.
Common Teaching Materials Available to the Teacher
Although teaching materials vary from school to school and most definitely from country to country some things just don't change. Show me a school that doesn't use text books and audio/visual aids and I'll show you a place that should be turned into a parking lot.
What exactly is it? By definition it is defined as "Planning courses of instructions. It serves as a guide for the teacher as well as for the students in creating conducive atmosphere for worthwhile learning and purposeful activities".
Testing - A Critical Part of Online TEFL Courses
Ah yes, tests. Teachers like them more than the students.
Good customer support is very important in selecting your course. Quick response time, help with finding new work when your old job is winding up can not be underestimated. It can get a bit whacky when you are so far from home, friends and family.
We would say that if when you are inquiring about their program and don't get prompt responses, what is it going to be like when you're overseas? A last bit of advice would be if you are inquiring about sales any course provider will call you back right away. There is cash involved. The real test is to ask a question about their program contents. This doesn't involve profit. If you get a courteous and quick response then you know the program cares about its customers and is a solid company.
Online TEFL Courses and Speaking
Although speaking courses are much less defined and rigorous than teaching writing and reading.
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