Upon beginning to research TEFL, you will see that there are a huge amount of courses out there, and it's worth taking a look at every aspect of them to make sure that the certificate you will receive at the end of your hard work will be considered valid by employers. There is nothing worse than investing both your money and your time and energy into something which at the end will leave you fruitless.
"Surely on-line courses are just a modern version of the old correspondence courses which proved their worth in the past." So why then, do we shy away from completing a TEFL course over videoconference?
It seems that generally there is a discomfort with the idea of doing an online TEFL course, with many wrinkling their noses in disgust at the concept of not doing a course in the classroom.
This could be for a number of reasons:
- Possible connection issues
- No teaching practice rendering the TEFL certificate invalid
- Not getting the "full experience"
Here we will address each of these issues.
1) Here is a video of an online course in action where it is visible that 'connection issues' have no effect on the class dynamic and how the course runs. Connection issues can be avoided so long as all parties have a good internet connection, a headset and a webcam.
This is our trainer in Madrid talking tenses with 3 trainees across Europe!
2) This is
a genuine issue when it comes to online courses. All courses, both online and
in person, become 'valid' so long as they meet criteria set by the British Council:
Demonstrating that the candidate has completed a course of at least 100 hours
duration and demonstrating that the candidate has completed at least 6 hours of observed and graded teaching practice.
As a product of this, we advise doing a course online over videoconference with at least a week of teaching practice.
At OxbridgeTEFL, we offer a week jam-packed with teaching practice that can be done at any point when the candidate is able in our centres in Barcelona or Madrid. This way, the candidates can begin their training by observing senior teachers, then co-teaching until they have gained enough confidence to take on the full class. While doing the course online, we also run a videoconference session with an absolute beginner so trainees can practice while at home.
3) By the "full experience", we refer to human contact, person-to-person interaction. Videoconference sessions, it must be specified, are not
online self-study courses, instead classes with a teacher and students who don’t share the same physical space, but meet in cyber space using a computer or a mobile device, the internet and a web camera.
So what are the benefits of a course by videoconference over a classroom course?
The first and foremost is the fact that you can study in your own time
, using the online material provided to take the course into a further depth, and then use videoconference
to discuss and debate what you have found with the TEFL trainer and fellow students. Also:
- They offer the same quality of teaching as in-person classes. There is always a teacher on the other side of the line helping and guiding you.
- The price. They are more economic as no travelling expenses are involved for both learners and teachers.
- Learners can be in touch with good teachers from areas that lack good in-person class offers, such as distant areas, small towns or villages or isolated places with no good transport. As long as they have a good internet connection, learners will be able to choose the best option for them.
- No matter where they are located in a particular moment, learners can access their web classes globally and won’t miss a session even if they are on a trip.
- Less stress and more preparation time having lost travel time.
- Sessions can vary from 1 to 1 to groups with up to 3 students. This reduced group size makes learning more effective.