Good TESOL Course?
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Nov 2, 2012 8:35 AM Last Post By: tiredandretired
Oct 31, 2012 10:25 PM
Good TESOL Course?Hey, I am going to be leaving next year to teach English in Mexico and visit the country. I'm just looking for a cheap quick TESOL Certification Class. I found this one http://www.linguaedge.com/tesol-certificate-50-hours and I was wondering if anyone has used it or could check it out and let me know if its an alright route to go, or has any other cheap suggestions. I am bilingual and a native born English speaker. Thanks for the help
Nov 1, 2012 7:02 AM
1IMO, any TESOL course is pretty useless as preparation for teaching, even if you are a native speaker of English and bilingual (presumably in Spanish). Only actual classroom management experience and hours of teaching to understand the problems your students may encounter and how to help them get over them are relevant. So IMO any class simply to get a credential to present to a school or client/student is pretty much equal. I think a relaxed and sympathetic personality to relate well to students in a class or individually, and feel comfortable addressing a group of people, is also very important. Teaching ESL is harder than it may seem (which you may know or not if you haven't yet tried it).
Nov 1, 2012 8:37 AM
2I agree totally with amobr82 and here's why:,
I found that my local area has a "literacy" program through the local community college and was seeking volunteer tutors for teaching English as a second language. I signed up and took the tutor orientation class and am soon to be provided, free of charge, the one-day ESL course. I am already attending classes as a teacher aid and getting hands-on experience in the teaching methods used. The classes are 60% Mexican immigrants withte remaining 40% from the middle-east, SE Asia and Africa.
At the same time - I'm preparing to take the month-long CELTA course in Seattle. CELTA is the gold standard of credentials for teaching English as a second language.
Now, as for on-line courses as you reference: All of the classroom experience I've seen, including the orientation I took, the upcoming ESL certificate I will obtain, and the requirements of the CELTA course emphasize direct, teacher-to-student, teaching methods as opposed to simply lecturing from the blackboard. All these courses use actual, in-the-classroom teaching practice as the core of their training. This you will not get from an on-lline course.
As for credentials: The teacher I'm working with said one of here tutors that received only the one-day ESL training landed a good paying job in China with only that credential just last year. Personally, I wouldn't rely on just that, but it happens.
Now, you say you are bilingual and I assume you mean Spanish and English. So am I and that's good. You ought to see the latino students brighten up when the teacher's assistant helps them in their own language. You will see that almost all the courses (TEFL, ESL, CELTA) emphasize that that you don't need to speak any other language than English to become an ESL teacher which is true. But they don't tell what an advantage it can be if you DO speak the language the students speak. I've found that there is a tremendous advantage to speaking Spanish when teaching English to latinos as you can revert to Spanish to explain something difficult and, most importantly, you understand the gramatical differences between the two languages and therefore what specific things latinos have the most difficulty in learning (e.g. the changing vowel sounds in English, pronouncing things with "th" or "w" or hard "g", silent letters and the confusing present and past tenses).
So, long and short of it:
- I'd recommend checking with your local community college, chamber of commerce, high schools, churches or other community organizations for volunteer postions to teach English as second language. Then you can get experience and training for free before you head off to Mexico. The experience alone will be good to have on your resume.
- I'd highly recommend taking a classroom course in ESL/TEFL/CELTA rather than an online version of it.
Nov 1, 2012 8:46 AM
3"Now, you say you are bilingual and I assume you mean Spanish and English. So am I and that's good. You ought to see the latino students brighten up when the teacher's assistant helps them in their own language. You will see that almost all the courses (TEFL, ESL, CELTA) emphasize that that you don't need to speak any other language than English to become an ESL teacher which is true. But they don't tell what an advantage it can be if you DO speak the language the students speak. I've found that there is a tremendous advantage to speaking Spanish when teaching English to latinos as you can revert to Spanish to explain something difficult and, most importantly, you understand the gramatical differences between the two languages and therefore what specific things latinos have the most difficulty in learning (e.g. the changing vowel sounds in English, pronouncing things with "th" or "w" or hard "g", silent letters and the confusing present and past tenses)."
That is NOT the politically correct theory of the folks who believe in immersion (nothing but English), but I too have found that explaining grammar points in the students own language does help, as does understanding their language as it regards similarities, differences and problem points. Even my Spanish speaking students are happy to have my explanations in (close enough to "get it") Portuguese.
But nothing substitutes for experience in coordinating groups of people, all at slightly different levels, and of different abilities, and keeping the energy up in an individual class.
Nov 1, 2012 9:03 AM
4Yes amobr and the CELTA/TESOL folks would shudder at speaking anything but English in the class.
But as a practical matter - it works and besides, the students are very good about sticking to English, but speak spanish among themselves to try to understand particularly difficult concepts. Rather than let them struggle-on I'll intervene in Spanish, but only to the point of getting over the difficulty and then back to English only. so far the tutor I'm assisting has no problem with that.
Interestingly in the tutor orientation I learned of the illiteracy (or very low literacy) rate in the U.S. among English-speaking, native-born Americans - and it is shocking.
Nov 1, 2012 9:40 AM
Nov 1, 2012 9:55 AM
6The low literacy rates in the population of American citizens that I was provided (from 20-year series of consecutive studies) is that 20% cannot perform at a level 1 literacy level (filling out a job application, read a social security card, understand a newspaper article, and writing simple sentances). Another 28% cannot understand, write or read documents above a 6th grade level (level 2 literacy). That's a total of 48% of the population operating at a literacy rate of 6th grade or lower.
The studies were criticized for what defines an "American citizen" (i.e. a citizen could include people that were naturalized citizens and speak English as a second language). They found that the surveys did include naturalized citizens, but that they comprised a small percentage (something like 2%).
I have a hard time believing this, but the studies behind it appear solid.
Nov 1, 2012 10:26 AM
Nov 1, 2012 4:33 PM
8I agree that its great to be bilingual Spanish & English to teach ESL, and the schools here in MX know it is better too. The reason they advertise that it is not necessary is simply to rope in lots of low paid English speaking workers to fill up the elementary classes; with Spanish you get the good interesting classes like Business English and advanced levels. If you have no teaching experience and have a course available where you are it would probably be a good idea to do a live ESL/TEFL/CELTA certification class. If you have taught or worked lots with groups on a pro level you may find the cheaper online certificate sufficient. Your college degree plus that certificate, with apostille from your state in US or govt. elsewhere is what you need to teach in a legit school or U here in MX.
Nov 1, 2012 5:15 PM
Nov 2, 2012 7:59 AM
10Bill is indeed an expert on teaching English in Mexico. In the past, he has written of the horrors experienced by enthusiastic people with a dream of teaching English. You need special work papers to do it legally, and there are employers who promise this, then do not deliver. Then, stiff the teachers on pay with threat of deportation if they complain. And, scarcely enough money to pay rent and buy food.
Unless you have a promise of a job with papers signed before you come, be very careful. And, be sure to have a back-up plan, such as someone who can wire you escape money if you totally lose control.
Teaching English seems to be a common dream, and there are plenty who will take advantage of that dream at your expense.
Remember, Richard Halliburton eventually turned up missing.
Nov 2, 2012 8:35 AM
11Let me add a note here. An Internet friend had a six digit job in the construction industry as a financial officer. Several years ago, he lost his job for obvious reasons.
He looked around, took a short course in California, he already had a college degree which is mandatory in his Chinese employment program.
For two or three years, he has been teaching English in a small rural city in China. He makes $500 a month, which in that small city makes him rather affluent. He saves enough money to take vacations to places like the Phillippine Islands, etc. His housing is well above local averages, and he eats very well.
In fact, he had had bypass surgery, and was taking large amounts of various meds. His health problems are all gone, no meds needed. Part diet, and part low stress life, in his opinion.
It is not for everyone, but he certainly loves it. Especially the social nature of the culture. Always someone to talk to. When he returned to the US a year ago, he could find no one to talk to.
Chinese is hard to learn, so he has an assistant, a young married woman, who is bilingual. And, his students learn fast enough that he can soon socialize with them which also helps their learning.
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