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Why Completing a TEFL Course is Vital for EFL Teaching

Why Completing a TEFL Course is Vital for EFL Teaching | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Within any given goal, people can have a variety of motivations for accomplishing them. One person may want to complete a TEFL course in hopes of making a career out of teaching abroad, bounding from one country to the next like a hungry grocery shopper jumps from one sample booth to another, while someone else may require one to teach EFL online from the comfort of a cozy home office. I, myself wish to teach online and abroad, but whatever the individual motivation, completing a TEFL course has amazing benefits applicable to all situations.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Angelina H. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Linguistic Aspects

For one, and one of the most important reasons, it provides you with a structured view of the language if you don’t have an academic English background. Every college major is required to take a basic English class, but this serves more of a general and practical purpose, like ensuring educated people have fundamental writing skills and can at least structure an adequate essay. One must study the language extensively to learn things like obscure parts of speech and grammar rules, think dangling modifiers and future perfect continuous tense. While a native speaker may be able to communicate in (mostly) proper grammar, teaching it is a “horse of a different color.” A native speaker, for instance, may not know that the proper name for the phrase I just used is called an “idiom.”

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Deepening Knowledge

But the best part is that even if you do have an English background, like me, a TEFL course supplements and expands on what you’ve already learned, especially if you graduated some time ago. A TEFL course reviews parts of speech that you may have forgotten or didn’t understand very well. For example, I didn’t have to dive too deep into phrasal verbs in my field, but it’s a vital lesson for an English learner who is learning to structure sentences and who may struggle with verbs that have a direct object and verbs that don’t (transitive vs. intransitive).

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Another invaluable benefit is that a TEFL course proves to potential employers that you’re serious about providing quality education to your students. Virtually everyone who wishes to complete a TEFL course is doing so for employment, and nothing says that you’re diligent and thorough more than getting an additional certification to prepare you for a classroom of English language learners. As I stated earlier, being a native speaker is not enough if you want to teach the language in a meaningful way. I’ve seen several online companies that only require you to have conversations with an EFL learner, so this certification isn’t necessary. However, those individuals are most likely at an advanced level already, which begs the question, where did they get their foundational knowledge? The answer is probably an EFL teacher. I would much rather be “overqualified” for a job than be “passable,” and I think that’s what a TEFL certification helps you accomplish. It tells your future employer that even with so many demands on your time as an adult, you’re willing to devote this precious commodity to additional EFL training because you’re dedicated to your future students.

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Advantages of the Course

I could name more reasons for completing a TEFL course, but for the length of this paper, I’ll provide just one more. A TEFL course provides you with teaching strategies specifically geared for English learners. I have a few years’ teaching experiences, but I took it for granted that the students and I shared the same native language. The thought of trying to conduct a lesson to people who don’t understand me is a daunting one, as I’m sure it is for anyone just getting into EFL teaching, but a TEFL course prepares you by providing proactive techniques to make the lessons smoother as well as solutions to common issues. For example, I learned about the ESA (Engage, Study, Activate) methodology from my TEFL course. One can imagine how intimidating it must be to learn a new language from a teacher who doesn’t speak your language, but that’s precisely what the “Engage” phase is for, to get the student comfortable and accustomed to thinking and speaking the targeted language. I may have done this naturally in an EFL classroom, but I might’ve been nervous as well and rushed to jump into the lesson. This could probably hold for much first time EFL teachers, but if they invest in a TEFL course, they’ll go into the classroom far more confident and prepared.

Do you want to teach English abroad? Take a TEFL course!

In summation, if one is sincere and wants non-native English speakers to become fluent, regardless of how they choose to pursue this aim, then they should complete a TEFL course. The key to being a confident and effective teacher is proper training, in both the subject matter and pedagogy, and the content of a TEFL course offers both. EFL teaching is a blossoming profession, and with so many applicants, it’s becoming increasingly competitive. It’s simply not wise to pass up the opportunity to have an advantage over other applicants or to show future employers that you’re committed to a vital and fulfilling career.

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