TEFL - teaching English as a foreign language - Germany

Recommended schools and courses and other advice

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Hi all!

Sorry to bring up something which has been discussed before, but a search didn't really come up with all the information I was looking for.

A friend of mine is probably coming over to Germany (another one hit by the love-bug!) and is thinking about doing some sort of TEFL before she comes. I know nothing about this, so thought I'd ask you lot!

I'd really appreciate any one with any experience of the following to add their bit to this thread.

1. What's the (real, practical) difference between CELTA and CertTESOL, other than one is

awarded by Cambridge and the other by Trinity?

2. Where did you get your TEFL qualification? Which schools would you recommend?

(Particularly if anyone has any experience of schools in London or Stuttgart)

3. What about online courses? Does anyone recommend them?

4. Has anyone done the extra Young Learners course (after doing a TEFL)? Any opinions?

5. Anything else at all that you might consider useful when considering a TEFL course!

Many thanks!
Now I cant remember exactly what you asked! I dont know the answer to the first question although I did a TEFL course online and I thought it was good although I dint really get any practical experience. I did get a job though!!! I think you have to be quite well organised to do it alone. I know some of the english language schools do the CELTA course but Im not sure which ones. You would get more practical experience by doing it at a language school but it might cost quite a bit more.
Thats all I can help you with im afraid!
Hi emily,

My teaching days are quite a way back in the past but for what it's worth...

After I graduated, I did the intensive 1-month RSA Prep. Cert. TEFL course at GEOS English Academy in Hove. It was a small-ish and unassuming place, but with very experienced and extremely helpful teaching staff. The days were spent learning the theory of teaching techniques and English grammar. Evening classes started at about 5 p.m. and a couple of us who'd prepared lessons had to teach genuine foreign students, with the other TEFL students and the tutor observing and evaluating (very nerve-wracking at first, but you soon got used to it). After the class, we discussed the highlighs and lowlights of the lesson and what could be learnt from it. In the evenings, I was often up till the wee small hours preparing more lessons or completing assignments. All in all, a very exhausting but extremely valuable course.

To answer your questions more specifically:

i) I'm not sure that schools are that bothered about what your teaching qualification is exactly. So long as you can provide evidence that you've successfully completed a recognised course, that should be enough to get your foot in the door and after that it's just a matter of gaining experience.

ii) See above.

iii) No experience of them but as shala00 says, I imagine it would require a great deal of self-discipline, and I'd definitely prefer the hands-on approach of a language school with the support of its teaching staff and the classroom practice.

iv) Again, no experience of that but I guess specialising after the basic teaching qualification could be a good idea.

v) Many people think that because they can speak English (of a sort!), they can teach English. Maybe they can, but the knowledge and confidence you get from a TEFL course is invaluable, and it will soon weed you out if you're not up to scratch.

Good luck to your friend.
biffa bacon
Hi Emily

I had been here for a year without work, (i caught the love bug too ) before I did an online course with i-to-i. The course lasted about a month and it was enough to get me in the door at a large language school. The WHOLE course was done online and cost about 150 quid if my memory serves me right. The school then trained me for a further 2 weeks and I was ready (in their eyes at least) to teach.

A year later I now do bits and bobs for 3 schools in the Stuttgart area and I'm turning work away all the time. There is loads of work around down here but it's all about getting that bit of luck to get you in the door. Most of the work is 'on site' teaching in companies and some of the schools can get quite desperate to fulfil contracts at times.

If your friend puts her CV around to all the companies that operate in this area I see no reason why one of them won't give her a chance. Then it's just a case of networking and building up your hours. She'll be sick of the phone ringing with more offers after a few months

Little Bear
Hi Emily,

I also did the CELTA in London a couple of years ago and went and worked abroad for a year. I am doing something totally different now though as I didn't want to do it as a long term career.
basically, CELTA is the Cambridge version - TEFL is from Trinity.
Online courses in my opinion are a no - you definitely need the support of Tutors and class mates and this adds to the environment. Also, you need to teach lessons to foreign students who register at the school, so you really do need to go to one.
Only downside that I can remember is that some countries like Germany and France and Spain don't always have openings to people who have just qualified as they like to have people with experience. It seems that most newly qualified teachers can get work very easily in places such as Italy, Japan and Poland. It would be worth your friend asking the school what links they have to language schools abroad before she applies.

Alternately I was offered a position at berlitz when I first got here. I don't think they are even bothered about having a CELTA or TEFL as they do their own Berlitz training, so if your friend approaches them first, it may be she hasn't got to do the studies before she comes.

Hope that helps
Little Bear
I don't think they are even bothered about having a CELTA or TEFL as they do their own Berlitz training
I landed at inlingua in Koblenz and it was the same there. I could have got the job without any prior training, but my TEFL certificate enabled me to miss the crappy inlingua training in the first couple of weeks, and it gave me a much more solid foundation to work on. An imbecile can teach using the inlingua method, but you always need to supplement lessons with grammar work of your own and inlingua don't teach you how to teach, they just teach you what to teach.
Little Bear
yes i agree with reggie - only thing is that if you are a bit pushed for time and money and know that you are not going to be a teacher for the rest of your life then you may as well go that route. I do agree the intensive TEFL/CELTA training stands you in good stead though!
Your friend would do well to call a few language schools in her target area and find out what their requirements are as it probably depends a bit on how desperate they are for teachers.

Some schools pay a bit more if you have a TEFL but nothing like enough to recover the course costs. The CELTA (formerly RSA) and TESOL are the most highly regarded because they include assessed teaching practice.

For someone who has no teaching experience of any sort then training does make a big difference. For someone who has taught or trained in other environments this will not be such an issue.
I am sure that biffa bacon is ín a better situation to advise as (s)he is actually teaching in Stuttgart but I have a friend here in Frankfurt who teaches English and he told me that when he was looking for work last year, language schools were typically looking for the CELTA (over the Trinity TESOL) and experience of teaching business English.

International House do cheapish CELTAs in Eastern Europe (Poland, Budapest, Prague). I think with accommodation and everything, they are about €1000. I know someone offers CELTA courses in Berlin and Munich but they are quite expensive

Reggie is right about teaching practice. I am qualified to teach pre-school and I also have done my Montessori training by distance learning. What I learnt on my distance course was great and helped me so much with my job, but it didn't help me with classroom management or lesson plans or anything else that I gained from teaching practice. I wouldn't want to go into a classroom to teach without any practical training.

I teach English one on one to children at the weekend sometimes for extra cash and I have never had any probs finding new students. There are some great online resources for lesson plans for kids. Teaching English this way to kids might be a good way for her to make cash and get references.

Hope this helped
there are some great online resources for lesson plans for kids
Could you possibly post links to these ? I have been asked to teach in a Kindergarten and so far the only materials I have are my kids' books and toys.
Hi Rebecca,

A good start is http://www.eslkidstuff.com and is the one I most often use. I also find http://www.enchantedlearning.com a good site for art and craft ideas for pre-schoolers.

The majority of the kids in my class start school with no English, and I have found that songs are the best way for them to gain confidence in using English.

Good Luck
Thanks, I will have a look. Anything less energetic than 'Head, shoulders, knees and toes' will be much appreciated.
Lots of information to be passing on to my friend.
Thanks everyone!

@ Little Bear: could you tell me the name of the school you did your CELTA at in London? Thanks!
OK, so I am thinking of doing an english teaching qualification, and came across this:
Global English online course

I particularly like the extra bit about teaching children, as that is something I am very interested in. The online aspect is also appealing, as I am working at the moment and like the idea of being able to be flexible about when I learn. I can be pretty disciplined when I want to, so think I could deal with that.

I have just been looking around the internet, and am getting pretty confused by all the abbreviations! This course would offer me a TESOL qualification. Is that well-accepted in practise? The way I understand it, TEFL is pretty much the general term, and CELTA and TESOL are the actual qualifications - am I right? Whilst doing my own research, I know we have a number of english teachers on here, and so I thought I'd ask what they think of the course, and of the qualification...
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