What level of English is required for TEFL?

For those aspiring to teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), especially non-native speakers, a high level of English proficiency is essential. Specifically, you should have an English language proficiency that aligns with at least the C1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). TEFL primarily involves teaching English in regions where English is not the predominant language, so instructors need a deep understanding and command of the language.

Table of Contents

Who can be a TEFL teacher?

Why is TEFL certification important?

Do you have to be a native English speaker to teach EFL?

Who can be a TEFL teacher?

The profession of teaching is regulated throughout the world, although the level of regulation varies from country to country. This is also true of the EFL teaching sector, however, there are some differences. The teaching of EFL has two main sectors, public and private.

The public sector mainly includes government institutions such as schools and higher education institutions.

The private sector includes private schools and language centers and a large number of self employed freelance teachers.

Each of these sectors is regulated in slightly different ways. This regulation includes employment issues such as, who is qualified to teach, visa and work permit regulations for foreign teachers and so on.

As there are regulations for each country and different regulations for each sector it would not be possible to indicate all the possible variations here. We can however make some general statements to answer the question posed.

In general there are a number of factors that are used by employers to determine suitability for a teaching position and these include:

1) Age: You will see maximum and minimum ages for some teaching positions.

2) Nationality: You will see some preferred nationalities stated for some teaching positions.

3) Qualifications: You will see that most jobs require a minimum of a 120-hour TEFL certification.

4) Experience: You will see that some jobs require some previous teaching related experience.

Why is TEFL certification important?

As mentioned and as we might expect, education is a highly regulated endeavor. As you would expect in any profession, whether educational, medical, or legal etc, practitioners need to have some training in order to provide a safe and useful service.

For the teaching of English as a foreign language it is expected that teachers have the subject knowledge needed to teach effectively. They also need to demonstrate some knowledge of general teaching theories and methods in order to deliver a structured curriculum.

TEFL courses have been designed to specifically cover these areas, giving an overview of each of these topics to allow a new teacher to enter the classroom and start to learn their craft.

Do you have to be a native English speaker to teach EFL?

Being a native English speaker isn't a strict requirement to teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL) globally or online. What is crucial is possessing fluency and a deep understanding of the language. A TEFL certification, which often includes language awareness assessments, can demonstrate this proficiency. Non-native speakers might also consider additional English language proficiency tests like IELTS and TOEFL. It is worth noting that even native speakers should ensure they can confidently explain English grammar concepts, such as conditionals and various tenses, to learners.