Picking a TEFL course can be challenging, especially with so many options on offer. After lots of back and forth trying to decide on one, I eventually opted to go with TEFL[.]org’s 140hr course. It turned out to be a good decision and I am really happy with my choice – even more so after successfully landing the perfect teaching jobs in Vietnam with it! But why did I finally decide on the 140 hour TEFL[.]org course? Here is a little review outlining some reasons why I picked it, and my experience completing this TEFL course.
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What does the TEFL[.]org course include?
The 140 hour course is TEFL[.]org’s most in-depth and comprehensive course. It is split into 4 modules which make up 120 hours of online learning, plus a 20 hours classroom course. The online modules are done at your own pace, which is perfect for people like us who need to complete it alongside working or studying. It could even be done while travelling! The online component covers grammar, teaching methodology (including classroom observations), classroom management, and remote learning. For the classroom course, you select a weekend which suits you from a range of destinations across the UK. We went for the weekend course but there is also the option to do a 3 day midweek course, which is 30 hours instead of 20. It’s marginally more expensive, but it is longer after all.
If you’ve read my Beginners Guide to picking a TEFL course, then you’ll know that picking an accredited course is important to ensure that your qualification will be recognised all over the world. The TEFL[.]org course is accredited by a range of external bodies in England, Scotland and Wales, which showed me the course was of a decent quality.
What was the experience like?
I found the content interesting, and it has since been useful in my different teaching experiences, particularly learning the official grammar rules that we learn passively as native speakers.
At the end of each topic there is a quiz to complete, and while it counts towards your final grade, you can complete it as many times as your want (so until you have 100%). Later in the course, when completing the video observation and lesson planning, assignments had to be submitted for grading. Yet, resubmitting revisions following feedback only deducted a couple of marks, so I passed each assignment with nearly full marks. I found these grading systems rather frustrating as anyone can pass a course with this testing method. But, I mean, at the end of the day there were a few challenging assignments (partially from the wording) that involved a degree of thought and effort before submitting.
The Classroom Course
I was a bit late of the marks starting my TEFL[.]org course, and hadn’t finished the first online module (grammar) when the classroom course crept round. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it certainly wasn’t ideal as I spent much of the course having to learn the grammar I was meant to be presenting, rather than focusing on the teaching methodology. TEFL[.]org don’t provide a guideline on what you should complete before the classroom course (possibly because it can also be bought in isolation?) I recommend trying to finish at least the grammar module before the classroom course so you can fully concentrate on learning how to teach, not what to teach.
The weekend is presented in a workshop-style, where as a small group you get guidance from an experienced teacher. It covered lesson planning, presenting fun and engaging lessons, managing behaviour and, to our surprise, a foreign language lesson. I found the language lesson both hilarious, confusing and extremely insightful (BONUS – it just so happened to be in Vietnamese! Useful, huh? #stilldontspeakvietnamese). This mini language lesson was completely unexpected and left everyone super confused. We had no idea what we were saying (no translation provided, only gestures) and were completely overwhelmed by the whole experience. However, it was extremely valuable at helping me understand what it is like to learn a new language through immersion, which is how TEFL is taught. I came away with a new found sympathy for students and an appreciation of the importance of gestures and grading language.
The tutor was not only experienced but also extremely patient and open with regards to any general questions we had. I appreciated that she took an interest in getting to know us and our teaching goals – she even recommended good companies in Vietnam as she previously worked in Hanoi! I also received a letter of reference from the tutor to support job applications which came in super useful.
How much time does it take to complete?
I was a bit slow off the mark, not realising that the course started as soon as purchase and therefore struggled to complete it within the allocated 6 months. Nothing to do with the complexity of the course and everything to do with not giving it adequate attention. I had to purchase multiple extensions to complete it, which was not ideal but not outrageously expensive when compared to having to repurchase the full course. It was £15 for a 1 week extension, they also offer 2 week and 1 month extensions that are cheaper for the length of time.
How much do TEFL[.]org support you?
Upon purchase you are assigned an online tutor who grades all your submissions and is available to answer any questions. My tutor was prompt at grading and responding to emails, plus he offered to check my work and give guidance prior to submission which was extremely useful.
With every TEFL[.]org course you are given lifetime access to their job website which, in theory, only posts reputable jobs which will accept their qualifications. I haven’t used this to find my teaching positions, but is a comfort to know that it is available should I need it.
Recommendations for completing the TEFL[.]org course
If this TEFL.org course ticks all your boxes, then I have some advice I’d love to pass on to make your experience even better than mine:
- Wait for a discount weekend before purchasing to stretch that moving abroad budget further. Unless you’re in a rush this is a great way to save some bucks.
- Don’t purchase unless you are ready to start! The course starts immediately after purchase so the clock is ticking! Don’t make the same mistake as us and have to pay for extensions.
- Aim to have completed/started the grammar component before going on the classroom course. It will allow you to focus on the teaching methodology without having to learn the grammar structures you are presenting.
- Don’t scrimp on the classroom course – it was intense but, oh so worth it. It was by far the most memorable and invaluable component of the whole course.
Purchasing a TEFL[.]org course
I nabbed my 140 hour course for £369 by waiting for a promotional weekend, saving around £80 each. I highly recommend doing this, especially with TEFL[.]org, as they regularly run discount weekends.
While there were a few minor improvements I felt could be made, the TEFL[.]org 140 hour course served me brilliantly and has given me a good knowledge to launch my TEFL teaching career!
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For more Teaching English Posts:
- A beginners guide to picking a TEFL course
- Why do I teach English in Vietnam?
- How to find a teaching job in Vietnam
- Different teaching jobs available in Vietnam
This post was not sponsored by TEFL[.]org. All opinions expressed and experiences described are my own.