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The True Value of a Face-to-Face TEFL Course

Cost is one of the biggest determiners when choosing a TEFL course. It’s understandable – getting TEFL certified is just a means to an end for many candidates and that end is usually to go overseas and make money. The reality is that online courses are cheaper than contact courses, which makes them a popular choice for most people. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the best choice. 

Clarifying Minimum Requirements for EFL Jobs 

Most EFL teaching positions abroad require a minimum of a degree in any field, mother tongue English proficiency and a 120-hour TEFL certificate – with or without teaching practice. Sounds great, right! A cheap R3 000 online TEFL will get you the same thing that a R16 000 contact course does. Or does it?

Learning Through Doing

TEFL is intended as a pre-service qualification. This means it’s aimed at people with no teaching experience. If the course design is good, it’s certainly possible to create an effective and meaningful online course, but it will still be theoretical in nature. Teaching is a practical skill that needs to be developed. As its name shows, it requires practice. It’s this practical component that is so valuable and requires contact.

For many newly qualified EFL teachers, their first practical experience is their first day on the job. While this works for some, it’s unnecessarily stressful. There is usually no one to observe your lessons objectively and guide you to improve – for many, observations mean potentially being fired or let go because students are unhappy with the lessons. This is particularly common in Asian countries where the demand for TEFL has led to a tolerance for online TEFL certifications.

Is the additional expense worth the teaching practice?

Absolutely! A contact TEFL course, like the full- and part-time options at Wits Language School, ensure that you receive guidance from experienced trainers and EFL teachers to prepare you fully for your first teaching job. Even a blended option that includes a minimum of 4 practical lessons will better equip you for your start in the EFL industry.

So, while an online TEFL course is undoubtedly cheaper, its value is seldom worth the cost. Any good school – those that treat their teachers well, support them and want them to succeed in the classroom – will require a minimum of a 120-hour TEFL certificate that includes at least 6 hours of observed teaching practice. These are the schools to apply for because they value their teachers and the learning they invest in with their TEFL. Choose an established, well-designed and comprehensive TEFL course to prepare you for what is a truly rewarding field – choose Wits Language School!