Reasons Why You Should Complete a TEFL Course Before Starting Teaching
Many non-native English speaking countries only require teachers to have a bachelor's degree, and it can be in any field. It can be a degree in anything at all, thus not having prepared the future teacher for their new job and life. Some other countries don't require a bachelor's degree at all. With the rise in demand for learning English as a second language has come the increased relevance and need for courses such as TEFL. I'm an example of someone who had no background in teaching, and I also didn't take a course before I dove in. I had to "fake it till I made it" and looking back, that was unfair to the students. Even if I wasn't breaking any laws and I was doing everything I could to do a good job, I could have gone in better prepared. That being said, despite almost three years of experience the course filled in many gaps for me, including ones I had no idea existed.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jonathan C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
On the other end of that spectrum, even someone with a master's degree in education could likely benefit from a TEFL or similar course. There are at least a couple of reasons for this. One is that the teacher might be older, so some things taught to them during college or graduate school have been proven to be ineffective or outdated. This greatly depends on where and when the person was educated. Another reason is it can give them a fresh perspective as well as even fill in some gaps for them too.
That's another benefit to TEFL courses. Even if one doesn't have a background in education, they can at least say they've taken a comprehensive course on teaching English as a foreign language. Bragging rights within a social circle aren't the reason for this, but it helps the teacher face the day knowing they're not lying to themselves and their students. That was a huge obstacle during my entire time teaching kindergarten in China. In one sense, anyone can be a teacher to anyone else if even for just a moment. But being assigned a group is a different story. One has a responsibility to take it seriously. Unfortunately, not everyone does.
Also Read: Do I need a degree to teach English abroad?
Even though the EFL stands for English as a foreign language, T is the most important part here. As such, while the focus is obviously on teaching English, many tools are given here that would benefit the teaching of any subject. Someone might have a mathematics background, but those jobs aren't in as high of demand as English teaching jobs. So to get their start, they have to take a TEFL course and teach English at first. If they are then able to find a job teaching math in a foreign country, they can apply the teaching techniques learned in TEFL. They'll likely have to teach some English terms in whatever subject they teach anyway (if it's in a foreign country).
For all prospective teachers, from all backgrounds, from all abilities, a TEFL course can only benefit. Between the grammar review and the tried and true modern teaching methods, there's no way the entire course can be "just a review" for anyone. On top of everything else, the certificate is widely recognized and sought after by potential teachers. This part is of little importance to the act of teaching, but life is all about having "that piece of paper."
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