Qualifications for Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
Qualifications for TEFL teachers
Qualification requirements vary considerably, from country to country and among employers within the same country. For many institutions it is possible to teach without a degree or teaching certificate. Some institutions will consider it necessary to be a native speaker with an MA TESOL. A university degree in English language and literature can also be of value, as indeed can any specialist degree. Other institutions consider a proof of English proficiency, a University degree and a basic teaching qualification to be more than sufficient. The level of academic qualification need not be the most important qualification however as many schools will be more interested in your interpersonal skills. For trainers wishing to enter the academic field publications can be as important as qualifications, especially if they relate to English use in your field. Where there is a high demand for teachers and no statutory requirements, employers may accept otherwise unqualified candidates. Each country is different, and acceptance depends on demand for English teachers and the teacher’s previous teaching and life experiences.
As a general rule schools will tend to prefer qualifications that involve a significant amount of assessed teaching: it is often said that “Learning to teach without classroom practice is like learning to drive without ever encountering traffic”. Shorter courses, or online often lack assessed teaching practice. Course makers having recognized this and have begun introducing combined TEFL courses which have an element of assessed teaching. Private language schools are likely to require at least a certificate based on successful completion of a course consisting of a minimum of 100 hours, usually including about 6 hours of observed teaching practice.Some educational facilities are now offering two or three well defined certificates instead of one general certificate. For example ILT (Introduction to Language Teaching) – 40 hours, PLT (Practice of Language Training) – 30 hours, and Literacy – 30 hours.
Age/gender requirements might also be encountered. In some countries outside Europe and America, for example the Middle East, schools might hire men over women or vice versa. And they might hire only teachers in a certain age range; usually between 20 and 40 years of age. Anyone under 19 may be able to teach TEFL, but usually only in a volunteer situation, such as a refugee camp.
Internet-based TEFL courses can vary in quality, but most are accepted worldwide and particularly in Asia where the largest jobs markets exist in China, Korea and Japan.