Recent, and not so recent, university graduates will often ask if their university degree can be used to waive the TEFL certificate that our EFL teachers are required to hold in order to teach English as a foreign language. The following information should help to clarify this issue.
If you do not hold a TEFL certificate e.g. CELTA, TESOL or another 100 - 120 hour classroom based course with 6 – 8 hours of trainer-assessed teaching practice, then you may still qualify to apply as a qualified EFL Teacher.
Applicants who hold degrees in education or have held positions as teachers or teacher assistants are invited to apply as either qualified or experienced EFL Teachers. As teaching English as a foreign language requires skill training in EFL methodology and techniques, you may be required to attend a four week preparatory TEFL programme. Though the training programme is provided free of charge, applicants are responsible for providing their own accommodation during the training period or pay USD 600 for a Language Link provided accommodation. On completion of the four week training period, those accepted into the programme are FastTracked to EFL teacher positions and start their employment with Language Link.
Applicants who hold degrees in English, linguistics, journalism, etc. and have relevant EFL teaching experience are invited to apply as Qualified EFL Teachers
Applicants who hold degrees in English, linguistics, journalism, etc. but do not have relevant EFL teaching experience should apply to Language Link as teacher interns under our Teacher Intern Certification Programme. The reason for this is that these degree programmes do not focus on developing classroom teaching skills i.e. methodology, practical skill-based knowledge (grammar, phonetics, etc.) or classroom techniques (how to teach grammar, how to use phonetics in a classroom, etc.).
In order to better understand what, at a glance, appears to be a relatively simple endeavour i.e. teaching English, consider the following.
Language Link teachers do not simply teach English, they teach English as a foreign language. Simply put, their students are for all intents and purposes strangers to the English language. Some only have the vaguest of notions concerning the language and only have a handful of words at their disposal: yes, no, hello, good bye, thank you and their ilk. Teachers who find themselves confronted by such classes of absolute beginners must be armed with a methodology and some tried and tested techniques that will allow both the teacher and their students to engage and interact in a structured and constructive way for 60-90 minutes.
Having specifically mentioned ‘absolute beginners’, a more thorough breakdown of the ‘English’ that we teach as well as a breakdown of our student-types will offer a more revealing look at the TEFL profession. As you read through the information below, ask yourself if you believe your degree has provided you with the skillset necessary to be successful as a TEFL teacher.
TEFL students come in all 'shapes and sizes' and each shape and size requires the teacher to behave in a different way such as by grading their language. Case in point, how would you teach a classroom of young learner beginners who are taking their first course of English? When it is realized that they do not speak English at all, how would you create student centered class whereby they do most of the talking not you.
In overview, language students have three characteristics: age, level of English language proficiency and type of language needs.
Age: Language students can be classified as:
1) pre-primaries (3 – 5)
2) primaries (6 – 9)
3) pre-teens (10 – 12)
4) teenagers (13 – 17)
5) young adults (18 – 22)
6) adults (23 +)
Level of English Language Proficiency:* Language students can be classified as:
1) absolute beginner
*levels are basically distinguished from each other by the level of grammar and vocabulary the student knows and can use.
Type of Language Needs: Language students sign up for classes of:
1) general English
2) business English
3) conversational English
4) international examination preparation**
5) English for specific purposes (ESP) ***
** international exams can be broken down into young learner exams (Starters, Movers and Flyers), Cambridge exams for schools (KET and PET for teenagers), Cambridge exams for adults (KET, PET, FCE, CAE, CPE) and of course IELTS and TOEFL..
***ESP can be vocational, academic or for science and technology
Looking at this, it would seem, at first glance to be an impossible task. If it were impossible, then there would be no TEFL teachers. That said, admittedly, becoming an excellent teachers takes three things: training, time and patience. Of these, training is most important and can get you into the classroom as a successful teacher. With time, you can refine your technique and develop experience making you a better teacher. Patience is important at every stage: patience with yourself and patience with your students.
If having read through this section, you would still like to see if your degree will serve as a suitable substitute, then we invite you to apply online as a Qualified EFL Teacher. The follow-up interview has been developed to determine whether the applicant has the requisite knowledge and skillset. If on the other hand, you now believe that you would need training, then we invite you to apply for Language Link’s Teacher Intern Certification Programme (please read through the section first before applying).