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With all the acronyms of TESOL, TEFL, EFL, ESL, CELTA etc flying about, making a decision can be very confusing when trying to choose a course. So here are some basic guidelines to consider when making a decision:

  1. Generally speaking, most institutes will require you to have a 120hr course with a practical component.
  2. Shorter courses, like a 50hr theory course or online courses, we usually only recommend to people who either already have teaching experience and/or qualifications in teaching.
  3. TEFL and TESOL are acronyms which are sometimes used differently depending on which company you’re looking at. They basically mean the same thing: TEFL – teaching English as a foreign language, and TESOL – teaching English to speakers of other languages. So what you need to look at is the hours of the course and if there is a practical component.
  4. If you have to choose between an online course and an in-class course, always go for an in-class. Teaching is a practical, hands-on field – make sure you have as much experience in-class as you can give yourself. However, it must be noted that with the changing of the times Online courses are getting more recognition among international schools as well as online teaching institutes. Should you be unable to attend an in-class course, online options are available. 

There are numerous types of TEFL/TESOL courses available, so choosing a course can be very confusing. In general, employers will accept most types of 4-week, 120 hour TEFL/TESOL certificates. However, some employers and schools are selective, the preference being for the UCLES CELTA or the Trinity CertTESOL.

The CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults) is awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). The CertTESOL (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is awarded by Trinity College London.

Some international chain schools like Berlitz require teachers to train in their own particular teaching methods and will not recognize any TEFL qualifications. Other chains like EF English First do accept TESOL certificates from established Institutions


Choosing a good TEFL/TESOL, Distance / Online TEFL course is one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself. With the advent of the internet and email, a host of organizations and individuals have set themselves up as trainers or training centres, some even offering a 1 day Teacher training course for a quick payment, in some cases the trainers are not qualified and are misleading prospective students.


There are a number of questions you should ask when evaluating a training course:

  • Is the course offered by a reputable organisation with a good language teaching track record, i.e.
    Is the TESOL training centre linked to a Language school or centre? Going with an established Institution, who has been in the training field for more than 10 years is highly recommended.
  • Does the course include observed and assessed teaching practice? This is a vital component of any teaching/training course.
  • Is the course content based on a modern, widely used teaching methodology?
    The Course designer should have a Masters degree, possibly also in TESOL, CELTA, and a teaching degree such as P.G.C.E. or H.D.E. They should also have experience as a TESOL/CELTA teacher and trainer and taught in EFL classrooms here and internationally.
  • Do the trainers on the course have recognised qualifications ( Degree, P.G.C.E. or HDE, plus a CELTA) and sufficient local and international language teaching and teacher training experience?
  • The degrees and qualifications should be clearly listed on the website.

If the Institution offers further training courses such as Teaching Business English (TBE) the qualifications as above would apply plus a qualification such as a London Chamber of Commerce and Industry certificate or similar. For the Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYLT) course the above qualifications would apply once again plus a TEYLT certificate.


It has come to our attention that there is much misinformation, fraud, incorrect statements, false representation (the using of false names) in the TESOL industry in and around Cape Town. There are some “Institutions” / persons offering TESOL courses around Cape Town who are less than honest with prospective students.

While there is no Accreditation Board for TEFL/TESOL, here, unfortunately, many unscrupulous people are out there, setting themselves up as a ‘Training Institution”, sometimes falsifying their credentials and qualifications.



Difference between TEFL & TESOL?

There is no fundamental difference in methodology. Completely foreign contexts (where people learning English are exposed to absolutely no English outside the classroom) are becoming increasingly rare. TESOL is a catch-all term for foreign and second/additional language contexts. 

We use the term TESOL for our comprehensive course because the trend in the field is increasingly tending to the use of TESOL rather than TEFL. Longer courses of 100+ hours are also becoming increasingly common. 



Acceptance on our course is not automatic. We do require that all applicants have English first language proficiency and tertiary education or work experience. Accent and use of English is very important if you wish to compete in an international TEFL environment.

At least 18 years of age

Matriculated, preferably with some tertiary education or work experience

An interview (face-to-face or telephonically) and pre-course task may be required

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TESOL SOUTH AFRICA - 56 / 66 Main Rd, Claremont, Cape Town   +27 (0) 21 674-4118

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