Those who wish to teach English to non-native speakers, whether at home or abroad, will likely need to complete Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) training. Rather than regarding TEFL teacher training as a temporary roadblock en route to one’s goal, however, it should be seen as an opportunity to strengthen one’s teaching skills, improve employability, and build a support network. One of the most important tips for TEFL teacher training is selecting an accredited course of appropriate length which offers adequate teaching practice and support services. Once a course is under way, students should take advantage of the opportunity to speak to experienced instructors about the realities of teaching English to non-native speakers.
Perhaps the most important tip for TEFL teacher training is simply choosing the right training course. Those who know which country they would like to teach in prior to beginning training should research that country’s requirements for the duration and accreditation status of teacher training courses. Even those who do not yet know where they want to teach or those who wish to work in a country with relaxed requirements should seek a course which is accredited by a nationally-recognized accreditation board, as this distinction will likely translate to a thorough training experience, and may later mean higher pay.
Another feature to look for in a TEFL teacher training course is generous teaching practice. Many educators agree that the best way to gain confidence as a teacher is through hands-on practice. Thus, in order to begin future jobs feeling prepared and self-assured, trainees should seek a course which offers significant classroom practice which is supervised by an experienced instructor. This instructor can help trainees improve their skills by critiquing their performance.
Additionally, trainees should seek a TEFL course which offers employment-related support services to participants. For instance, some programs may employ a career adviser who can help trainees find job opportunities in their location of choice. Course staff may also offer advice and assistance about practical issues, such as getting authorization to work in a foreign country.
Once a TEFL teacher training course has begun, trainees should take advantage of the opportunity to speak to experienced instructors about the realities of teaching English to non-native speakers. For instance, instructors may be able to provide advice about which type of lesson plans tend to be the most effective for a specific culture, age group, or learner type. They may also be able to address concerns about finding housing in a foreign country, or might be able to offer tips about understanding and obeying the subtleties of a particular culture.