The concept of TEFL standards can apply to several distinctive aspects of English language instruction and training. We will delve into some of these in more detail below.
Types of regulation: Accreditation and moderation
Accreditation and moderation are two terms that are often mistaken as interchangeable, but they are quite different. Accreditation involves an external validation procedure, in which an authorized entity (like a university) scrutinizes the full course delivery and determines if it fulfills a predefined criteria set for that certificate level. Accreditation is usually granted once for a specific course and may require updating if there are substantial changes in the course or its content.
Moderation, on the other hand, is an ongoing procedure. It typically occurs annually for a set course or, as is the case with many TEFL courses, it is conducted on a per-course (monthly) basis. Moderation can be carried out by any internally or externally qualified individual or entity. It entails regular inspection and revision of a course to ensure the consistency and maintenance of standards.
Respected TEFL courses are both accredited and moderated.
Types of certificate: Levels and entry standards
TEFL qualifications come in a wide array, ranging from a weekend course spanning a few hours to a TEFL PhD that can take up to eight years to complete.
A 120-hour TEFL certificate, taken either online or onsite, is the generally accepted entry-level standard for teaching English globally.
Besides certification, some teaching positions may require other prerequisites. These can include being a native English speaker, originating from a certain country, possessing a degree in any subject, or having a degree in English. The requirements vary depending on the specific job and country. Naturally, high-paying jobs in wealthier regions like the Middle East demand higher qualification levels and more experience than many entry-level positions in less affluent countries.
Types of course
Three standard pathways lead to a 120-hour TEFL certification. The specifics of the courses can differ based on the provider, but there are some common characteristics worth noting.
Online courses: Nowadays, online courses likely provide more worldwide certifications than any other method. Typically, these are entry-level 120-hour TEFL certifications. The courses are usually modular and employ end-of-module tests for evaluation. Online courses provide the flexibility to complete the coursework over an extended period and from anywhere globally, including the participant's own home.
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Onsite courses: Unless located near your home, this option demands travel. These courses are available worldwide, particularly in major cities where English is taught as a foreign language. They usually necessitate around four weeks of attendance and cover the same theoretical material as online courses. The significant benefit of an onsite course is the opportunity to gain some teaching practice, as the courses are often held in functioning language schools with readily accessible classes for you to instruct.
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Combined courses: These courses incorporate elements from both online and onsite options. Typically, participants first complete the online portion, followed by an eight to ten-day period at a specific location to gain some teaching practice.
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