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Online and in-class TESOL TEFL Certification

Archive for 'Articles'

What should I pack for my TEFL?

Top 10 things to pack for your TEFL course

A frequently-asked question by those about to embark on a residential TEFL or TESOL course abroad is what they should put in their suitcases. Here is a checklist of things (in no particular order) that may come in handy at some stage of your TEFL adventure.

1)      A laptop, Netbook, tablet or small-size portable computer – Even though your TEFL school is likely to be equipped with personal computers accessible to trainees, such access will not be unlimited. An intensive residential TEFL course involves a good deal of written work (e.g. lesson plans, essays, worksheets and extra materials for your lessons…) and there may be times when computers are not available. Being able to continue work in your room after class or over the weekend will make you more independent, which in turn can only have a positive effect on your studies.

2)      Plug adapters – These will come in handy when travelling to a country which uses different electrical sockets to the ones in use in your own country. The internet is full of useful information on the type of adapter you need for each country. Check also if you will need an electrical or voltage converter for your appliances.

3)      Pictures and objects that remind you of home – They will help you overcome those moments when you feel homesick. Besides, you can find a more practical application for them and use them to personalize your lessons; students are generally very interested in learning about their teachers’ personal lives, their home countries and their cultures.  Personal objects will help engage your students and add a more humanistic dimension to your teaching, which again, can have a very positive impact on your performance as a training teacher.
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The Mother Tongue in the Classroom (2)

In this second article our Head of Teacher Training, Vince Ferrer, reflects on the use of the mother tongue to promote noticing and how translation may be a classroom aid to scaffold learner language.

With the emergence of research into the role of form-focused instruction, teacher-researchers have begun to acknowledge the mother tongue as a legitimate tool with the potential to facilitate learning mainly in accuracy-based tasks. This article reports on the findings from a comparative study of teachers’, teacher educators’ and students’ perceptions carried out in Spain. The participants give their views on the desirability of, at times, providing learners with the English translation of what they are trying and finding difficult to say as a way of scaffolding or aiding their output. Results suggest that such scaffolding may be conducive to noticing on the part of the learners of the gap existing between their current inner grammar and the target grammar.


 The mother tongue in Second Language Acquisition has taken different swings depending on which theoretical framework was in vogue at any one particular time. While direct methods in the first half of the twentieth century saw no place whatsoever for the first language (L1) in the classroom, the grammar-translation method used the mother tongue so extensively and at the expense of target language (L2) practice that, even today, translation is in many
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Best TEFL courses – What to look for.

The Top 15 things you need to know before booking your TEFL program.

What are the best TEFL courses?
Which one of the plethora of TEFL programs currently on the market should I enroll on?

These are very frequently-asked questions in online forums by anyone who is new to the world of TEFL and wants to get certified to make a living teaching English abroad or in their own country.

A career in TEFL is a very big step and thus your choice of program can largely determine the quality of the options available to you once you have graduated as a TEFL teacher.

If you would like to both feel prepared and confident to teach English as a Foreign Language and be in possession an internationally-recognized qualification that will open doors to the best TEFL jobs here are some important details you should consider when ‘shopping around’ for a TEFL course:

1.       Is the course externally accredited?

There are literally hundreds of schools offering TEFL courses these days. Some are legitimate and some are not. Some offer courses leading to internationally-accredited TEFL qualifications and some just sell you a piece of paper saying you are certified to teach English.
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The Mother Tongue in the Classroom (1)

In the first of two articles, Vince Ferrer, our head of Teacher Training, reflects on the merits of ESL / ESOL teachers knowing their learners’ first language and putting it to good use in the classroom.


The role of the mother tongue in instructed second language acquisition/learning has been the subject of much debate and controversy. This article reports on a piece of research carried out with learners of English as a foreign language and presents a comparative study of students’, teachers’ and teacher educators’ perceptions regarding the adequacy of cross-linguistic grammatical comparisons in the monolingual classroom. Results suggest that a judicious and systematic use of cross-linguistic referencing may present the teacher with opportunities for equipping the learners with explicit knowledge of the target language systems. This in turn may help students to notice the gap between the state of their inner grammars and the target language and ultimately aid acquisition. 


Throughout much of the history of research into second language acquisition (SLA), the role of learners’ first language (L1) has been a hotly debated issue. Prodromou (2000) refers to the mother tongue as a ‘skeleton in the closet’, while Gabrielatos (2001) calls it a ‘bone of contention’. Such views are but a mere reflection of the different methodological shifts in English Language Teaching, which have brought about new and different outlooks on the role of the mother tongue.

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With the wide range of course options available on the TEFL / TESOL market it is no surprise many find it difficult to choose the best path to follow. In this article, we attempt to answer some typically-asked questions regarding online TEFL / TESOL Certificate courses.

1.       Can I learn how to teach English as a Foreign Language if I take an Online TEFL Course?

Yes, you definitely can. But let’s be clear about one thing: unless you already possess good experience as an English Language Teacher, a TEFL / TESOL Certificate course (be it online or in-class) won’t turn you into a great teacher overnight. Learning how to teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) takes time and experience. What an initial TEFL / TESOL certification program will do for you is lay the foundations on which to build good solid practice. Thus, at the completion of your course you will be aware of teaching techniques and methodological approaches, of classroom management strategies, of how to plan lessons and activities in an orthodox way so as to maximize learning…  In short, you will have a repertoire of proven teaching techniques that those who have not received formal training tend to lack. But, again, this is just the beginning – only after hours and hours of practice and experimenting will you acquire a strong command of it all.

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