FROM TEXT-AND-TALK ACADEMY
Four-week TEFL/TESL/TESOL courses are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, especially here in Thailand!
Why? Because they are either so deluted or lacking in valuable content that mastering one is hardly a matter to be proud of, or they are so intense and stressful that, far from producing successful and well-prepared ESL/EFL teachers, they instead focus graduates so much on their own durability at the expense of teaching creativity that they tend to treat all students generically, rather than considering the distinct and unique learning requirements of different nationalities.
Thus, while we realize that while most other TEFL Course providers take pride in finishing a pressure-packed course in just four weeks, we have learned from our nearly fourteen years of training experience that the overwhelming majority of trainees learning to teach English as a foreign or second language really like to have at their command all of the resources they know will make them successful as teachers, and enjoy taking as much time as they feel is needed to learn their teaching skills so well that they can walk into any classroom confidently. Six weeks is not much longer than four weeks, after all!
For these teachers, the six-week TEFL Certificate Course of TEXT-AND-TALK Academy is perfect, especially if they are concerned about not over-stressing themselves, while at the same time learning all that is to be learned (including the teaching of both adults and children, and both ESL and EFL learners). There is indeed a lot to learn, and the total number of course books is seven, most of which will be mastered by each trainee.
The truth is that our Academy has previously attempted, not without some degree of success, to compress the huge resources of our TEFL Course into a 4-week (actually four-week plus three days) class, but in huge numbers, graduates said they wished they had studied in the 6-week class! Indeed, most realized that they would have scored a higher course grade, if they had had longer to prepare!
So ultimately it depends on you. Do you want to pressure yourself and even risk your physical and mental health over four weeks, or enjoy training only Monday through Thursday (with three rest days every week) and qualify yourself for the best and best-paid teaching jobs available? You decide!
As emphasis on what we have just related here, the following is what one trainee told us in his own words (not only about the course the four-week course he dropped out of, but about some others you will want to avoid):
TEXT-AND-TALK comes out on top!
If you are thinking of teaching English as a foreign Language (EFL) in Thailand or elsewhere, then you will need a TEFL Certificate to attain worthwhile employment. The disadvantages of not have one are as follows: the choice of jobs open to you is severely limited; your salary will be lower; you will almost certainly not be an effective teacher and will therefore not feel fulfilled. So, to do the best for yourself and your keen and hard-working Thai pupils, get qualified!
Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple, hence this article about my own experience of ESOL training courses this year.
In Thailand, there are many such training courses on offer, but they fall into two main categories – the genuine and those to be avoided!
Let me deal with the latter type, which I call ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses, first. A close friend of mine, who had never taught before in his life, recently signed up for one of these but dropped out after the so-called teacher training.
If you see advertising material with headings such as ‘Free TEFL course’ or ‘Get Paid to Train’, be suspicious.
This is how the scam works. You pay up-front to enroll. You receive two weeks’ so-called teacher training, most of which is based on viewing a stack of poor quality DVDs – the ones I’ve seen myself are not even synchronized properly. You’re then taken to a school and offered a job starting immediately, even though you never have taught a real lesson in your whole life. You ‘teach’ for two months, during which time your ‘instructor’ turns up to your lessons occasionally to assess your performance. The salary you earn is offset against the enrolment fee. Thus the course is ‘free’!
You’ll have a job, it’s true, but you won’t be an effective, fulfilled teacher and your salary will be lower than it could be (and you also will not have the job for very long). Avoid this type of course and find yourself a genuine one.
Genuine courses can be subdivided into the really intensive 4-week courses and the more leisurely and, therefore, less stressful 6-week courses. Any genuine training course involves a certain amount of stress and you should be aware of this before embarking on one, but for some the stress level on a 4-week course can be too high.
In May this year, I took a 4-week TESOL course but had to give up two days into the last week. Having had a heart attack about a year earlier, I feared that I would suffer another if I continued. The workload was just too much. Every weekday, Monday to Friday, I would leave home at 7 a.m. and not return until 7 p.m. after a truly exhausting schedule. Then, after a short break, there was at least 3 hours’ homework to be done!
And there was little respite on Saturdays and Sundays. The whole of the weekend seemed to be taken up with project work. Whilst the training was good, the level of stress was unbearable.
Later this year, determined to get qualified, I enrolled on a ‘TEFL for Target Learner Groups’ course at Text-And-Talk Academy.
Founded back in the 1990s by an American, James Parmelee, Text-And-Talk has branches in Bangkok, Pattaya, Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai. The fee was very reasonable at about 45,000 Bht.
The course lasts for 6 weeks and comprises face-to-face training based on the Academy text books (not DVDs), and six hours of teaching practice with real Thai pupils, some in-house, and some, upon occasion, in companies or children's schools.
Training takes place Monday to Thursday, generally from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with an hour’s break for lunch. The amount of homework set is very reasonable and the long weekends are virtually free for relaxation.
The teaching practices take place in the late afternoon or early evening after the training sessions are over. Each trainee is given a teaching schedule for weeks three and four and is required to teach three 50-minute lessons per week to a class of either Thai children or adults. These lessons afford invaluable practice for the trainee teacher.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the course. The most stressful part of it was the lesson planning and teaching during the third and fourth weeks, but even then my stress level never became unbearably high.
On ‘Graduation Day’, when the certificates were presented, I felt a genuine sense of achievement and relief that I had eventually found the right course at Text-And-Talk Academy.
Geoffrey Hobbs, submitted 3rd October, 2006 (2549)
Geoffrey Hobbs is a former mathematics teacher from London now aged 64 and teaching and living ‘in retirement’ here in Thailand. email@example.com
Full course fee payments are made online by credit card. (Just click on ENROLL NOW! below.)
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