Online TEFL Courses: Is It Worth It?
Reflective Diary submitted by Miles.
I view Online TEFL Courses as an absolute necessity regardless if the student plans to acquire a certificate or not. If the student’s aim is to learn how to teach English and do it well, an online TEFL course is more than worth it, it is fundamental. If the TEFL student plans to acquire a certificate, it is even more necessary.
With or without previous teaching experience or training?
In my case, with no previous teaching experience or training, I’ve always recognized the value of training even though a certificate was not my primary goal. Being self-taught in Spanish, I am very aware of the differences between English and Spanish and knew many, but not all, the common mistakes I could expect to hear. Knowing the complexities and the commitment required, how could I hope to teach someone else, who may have lower motivation than I did, when it was all I could do to teach myself with very strong motivation?
I needed to find out if I felt I could teach English, and furthermore, if I felt I might even enjoy it. Before spending money on an expensive online or classroom certification course, I volunteered at a non-profit English academy. I found that I did enjoy it and felt it was something I could do. At the same time, I found that my knowledge of English was far more limited than I’d realized. I saw grammatical terms I didn’t understand and I had difficulty explaining rules and concepts of my native language.
CELTA or Online Tefl Courses?
I tried to take a CELTA course in Valencia but I felt I was not prepared for the entrance exam. I took an online English grammar refresher course that answered many of the questions I had, that filled in some of the holes. I was never able to get into the CELTA course, it was always full or I had to leave Spain to go to work. In the end, it never worked out and, instead, I took a TEFL course that was more flexible from a scheduling standpoint.
The online portion of the TEFL course, again, reinforced my understanding of English grammar and why things work the way they do, perhaps better than the online grammar course I took but the two are different. I was exposed to different theories and methodologies that I never would have known about otherwise. More importantly, I learned some practical approaches to organizing lessons. I learned accepted practices in teaching English.
So now we know why I think Online TEFL Courses are helpful and necessary but the original question is, “Is it worth it?” Is it worth it compared to a classroom TEFL course? Is it worth it in view of the cost of many of them? Two different questions.
I think the material covered in the online TEFL course I took is better taught at the student’s pace and ability to comprehend. I think covering that same material in a classroom would be more challenging for the teacher and less interesting for the student.
I think covering that material in a classroom environment would be more time consuming and that the benefit for the student would be negligible, if any. I am in favor of an online component vs. classroom instruction for the material covered in an online TEFL course. I think the online TEFL course is worth it.
There are many options for online TEFL instruction, almost all of them cost nearly €1500. Fortunately, there are other options whose cost is nearly nothing. I was lucky enough to have stumbled across one by accident while looking for something else, it was not something I found by intentionally looking for it. While I believe strongly in the value of an online TEFL course, my opinion might be colored slightly differently if I had paid €1450 for it.
The course I took costs €100, the same as the online grammar refresher course I took. While the value of a €1450 online TEFL course might be questionable, the value of a €100 online TEFL course is an absolute no-brainer.
So, the answer to the original question is an unqualified YES! Online TEFL is necessary and worth it.
Online Tefl Courses by TEFL Trainer explained below: