When it comes to any job, we all know it pays to be properly trained. That’s why those who want to teach English abroad — whether they want to do it simply to support their travels or for a career change — like to take a TEFL certification course.
In these courses, you’ll learn how to teach English as a foreign language by discussing grammar points, lesson planning, how to deal with cultural sensitivities and more, as well as gain hands on teaching practice before you ever step foot in the foreign classroom. If you read our Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best TEFL Course for you and decided on the Online TEFL course option, here are seven ways to get the most out of it.
1) Ask questions.
With most online TEFL courses, you’ll have access to a user-friendly platform that allows you to interact with your peers and instructor throughout the duration of the course (much like Blackboard or Canvas, which you may be familiar with from college). Any good student knows the key to learning is in asking lots of questions. The beauty of the online TEFL course is that nobody has to hear/see those questions except your instructor, so you shouldn’t be afraid to ask even the silliest ones. If you’re thinking it, chances are good others are too.
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2) Seek feedback.
The best online TEFL course will include detailed feedback on every assignment, but if you don’t get it automatically you should ask for it. How will you know what you can improve if your instructor doesn’t tell you? If your course requires a teaching practicum (like ours does), you should seek instant feedback from those with experience so you can learn from your mistakes and take pride in what you did well.
3) Take lots of notes.
This is often the most challenging part of being a student, but taking good notes will become invaluable when you actually get your first ESL job. It’s hard to imagine what to expect when you arrive to a foreign classroom, and those notes will be your crutch in the first weeks of uncertainty. After the course, organize your notes into an easily navigable binder so you can easily flip to them for reassurance, guidance, etc.
4) Listen to your peers
Teaching in any realm is a constant exchange of ideas. Teaching ESL is no different. If one of your peers has a great lesson plan idea, or a useful trick for remembering a grammar point, make note of it and use it in your own practice.
5) If you’ve already decided on a country, keep your examples specific to the students there.
In doing so, you’ll graduate from your online TEFL course with a handful of ready-to-use lesson plans, tips, tricks and ideas to utilize from Day 1. The best online TEFL courses will teach you to prepare lessons for several different skill levels, as well as backup lessons for when the one you thought would be perfect fails (it happens to all of us!). With careful consideration about who your students might be, you can use you TEFL course as training and preparation.
6) Read the required text and any recommended reading.
Most courses will utilize a course book, and it will be worth your time and money to invest in it and actually read it. The best TEFL books will be filled with tips, inspiration and anecdotes as well as grammar points and refreshers. Here’s a list of some of our recommended reading.
7) Utilize the job assistance/advice.
The best online TEFL courses will come with job assistance, meaning they will help you tailor your job search to the country/area of your choice by helping you craft your resume and prepare for an interview, as well as providing a list of contacts/hiring schools in the region. Take advantage of all of the advice (usually it’s from people who have done it themselves!), and again, ask questions.
If you’re ready to apply for the course we’ve chosen (after careful consideration and having taught English abroad ourselves) as the best online TEFL course, you can do so here.