With the plan of going to Asia, travelling around and hopefully picking up a teaching job along the way I thought it was probably wise to get some classroom time mainly for some confidence and knowledge of what teaching would entail.
With a BA in hand I dont intend to be teaching in the highly competitive areas, preferring the slightly less popular destinations from the standard ‘Gap Year’ sort of placement. The course cost about £170 for 20 hours of classroom tuition, there were various options of making it into a much lengthier course via the use of online learning. I believe the premium bundle was roughly £400 which included 140 hours of online education. The research I had done previously had indicated that online courses weren’t particularly credible to an employer and I decided that what I would learn from it in a theoretical sense could probably be learnt just as well from a few books off amazon marketplace.
When on the course I met a variety of people all with varying goals for the future months…One man had made an instant decision to go to Thailand in two weeks and stuck everything on his credit card, another was going to move with his Chinese girlfriend and teach there, and a third (woman this time) intended to visit a Nepalese orphanage she was familiar with and assist them with their English. Apart from one other, I was the only one not to be doing the online course and many of them were quite far through the online sylabbus but this didnt seem to provide them with any advantage and from the book ‘a Training Course for TEFL’, by Peter Hubbard, I seemed to know more than enough of the background and jargon. In fact more than most of the class.
The class was a good size with only 8 of the maximum 20 pupils and this allowed us to know each other by name and be fairly relaxed. The main bonus of the course was the tescher whom I felt was very good at what she did. By using ice breakers and warmers and all the other techniques she simultaneously tought us how to use them and used them on us. She had experienced working in two other countries, Spain and Italy and was multilingual. This allowed her to teach one section of the course in a language foreign to us which eased our concerns of not speaking the same language as our pupils.
Although 20 hours of learning in two days seems quite unbearable, the course was relaxed yet informative and by the end of the two days I felt fairly confident presenting a 10 minute lesson. Some of the pupils were classing this course s a qualification rather than a way to gain experience but I am scheptical as to how many places will accept it as a qualification rather than just accepting someone with a BA. Although some places state that a 120 hour TEFL course is required it is generally considered that it should all be done in the classroom. Of course I can’t be sure of any of this until I am looking for a job but think that if I were wanting to take English teaching as a career then an onsite month long course would be much more valuable.
If I had to make one criticism on the course it would be that nearly all the methods used were aimed at people teaching in places with the roman alphabet and didnt address the teaching of written language itself, despite Asia being a very popular destination for English teachers.
Despite all this I would definitely recommend the i-to-i classroom course as I feel it is worth it if only on the merits of general awareness and confidence building.