Frequently Asked Questions

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1. Can anyone apply to do your course?
Our TEFL/TESOL courses are open to all native or fluent English speakers. There is no requirement to have any previous teaching experience or qualifications but Matric and further tertiary qualifications or work experience are highly recommended.

2. I have a strong accent, would this affect my chances of teaching overseas?
You will be competing with English first language speakers from around the world.

3. What are my chances of getting work overseas?
This is a complex question and many aspects come into play such as your current qualifications, your ability to teach, your personality, the country where you hope to teach, your experience and age, to a lesser extent. You are welcome to contact our office during the mornings and discuss this.

4. Do you place students overseas?
While we do not place students, this topic is covered extensively during the course, we invite speakers and agents to meet with the students and place the latest jobs available on our notice board.

5. What recognition do you have?
As the first institution to bring TEFL to S.A. we are well established in the TEFL Training field and have been offering courses since 1991. Although we were initially affiliated to the Irish TEFL Training Institute, we became independent as early as 1993. We issue our own certificates. Our Institute, TESOLSA, is a branch of the company The Cape Town School of English which is a training facility accredited by the Department of Higher Education. The collaboration of TESOLSA and The Cape Town School of English has been an integral part in the successful training of our students.

6. Do you offer your courses in other parts of the country?
Yes, we do advertise from time to time in other centres and if we have enough confirmed registrations we do offer our course there.

7. How can I gain some practical experience in teaching?
We assist you with the opportunity to do observation and practical teaching at our EFL school. If you are unable to do practical teaching at our centre, contact us for further guidelines.

8. Do I really need a TESOL / TEFL certificate to teach English abroad?
Yes. In the increasingly competitive international environment, it’s becoming the norm to require a 120 TESOL certificate rather than the TEFL. A degree or other qualifications would also give you more and better teaching opportunities and place you in a higher income bracket.

9. Am I too old/young to do the course?
We prefer not to accept students on our courses who have just finished school, students should gain some work experience or have some tertiary training. Many retired teachers and others wishing to make a stimulating and rewarding career change have taken the opportunity of TEFL teaching abroad, successfully. While we don’t have much of an age restriction to do our courses, countries often won’t hire a teacher if they are older than the retiring age of the country. This is due to the visa regulations as you will not be eligible for a work visa if you are above the retiring age of the country. These vary depending on where you want to go, so some research will be required on your part.

10. What’s the difference between TEFL and 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 120 hours are also becoming increasingly common.

11. Where can I teach with this certificate?
This certificate prepares you to teach abroad, in most countries but naturally the demand in non-English speaking countries, the demand would be greater. Popular teaching destinations include Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and others. European countries have strict visa regulations as well as preference employment for teachers with EU citizenship.

12. Does this certificate enable me to teach ESL / EFL in public/international schools?
There is a huge demand for English teachers worldwide and for those with a degree plus TEFL/TESOL, there may be opportunities in this field. The requirements may differ hugely and we recommend that students investigate their particular opportunities, depending on their qualifications. Some Public/International schools may require the teacher to have a P.G.C.E. or Teachers Diploma. Language schools, on the other hand, will employ teachers with a TEFL/TESOL or CELTA certificate, once again this does differ from one country to the next.

13. What are the differences between the regular courses and the Distance/Online courses?
Cost and convenience are the advantages of Online TEFL certificate programmes. These courses can be completed from a computer anywhere in the world and usually cost less than regular training courses.

As there is a mass of Distance / online TEFL courses on offer via the internet, we would caution students to make thorough enquiries before registering for such courses. Always go with an institute you feel you can trust.

14. What is the difference between ESL and EFL?
English as a Second Language (ESL) is English taught to non-native speakers who live in an English-speaking country, a Refugee living in South Africa for instance. English as a Foreign Language (EFL) is English taught to non-native speakers who live in a non-English-speaking country, such as a Brazilian learning English in Brazil.

15. Who should participate?
TEFL/TESOL training is aimed at those who wish to get a good grounding in modern language teaching methodology. The course provides those successful course participants with a certificate enabling them to work in South Africa and abroad.

The course aims to provide those new to this field with the skills and confidence to teach groups or individual language learners. Concepts and methodologies are covered to deal with ESL or EFL learners in any teaching or training situation. The course offers an in-depth look into the world of TEFL and language teaching. Although the focus is on teaching English, the concepts and activities taught during the course can easily be transferred to the teaching of languages other than English.

The TESOL is the right course for you if want to:

  • Engage the world of teaching English or other languages with fundamental skills.
  • Receive a certificate that will open the world to you.
  • Experience the world through TESOL
  • Experience other cultures and customs
  • Understand why English is English!

16. What is it like being a TEFL/TESOL teacher?
Teaching TEFL is quite different to many other occupations. It involves moving to another country which will probably be very unlike your own. You will need to use English in the workplace but communicate (at least partly) with people outside of the workplace in a foreign language. This can be quite stressful and adapting to this different way of life is referred to as ‘Culture Shock’, it is also one of the main causes of people abandoning TEFL as a career.

In many countries, TEFL/TESOL teachers are paid well, even teaching jobs in South Africa. This enables many people to lead a comfortable lifestyle while often saving funds as well. There are well paid TEFL jobs even by first world standards in places like the Middle East and Hong Kong. Taiwan and South Korea also offer very good salaries. Japan is also monetarily an attractive destination for TEFL teachers but the cost of living is high. Wages are lower in Thailand yet it is a very popular destination for TEFL teachers mainly because of the attractive lifestyle and reasonable cost of living.

Care should be taken by TEFL teachers when accepting employment from overseas, we recommend that teachers contact a reliable agency or do research via the internet. There are reports of abuses of teachers and broken contracts by employers. The danger of being exploited increases greatly when working in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and don’t know your rights. Almost anyone can open a language school which leaves the industry open to abuse by unethical employers. Before accepting employment research the school or search websites where you may make contact with teachers who have worked at the school. If possible visit the country and school before signing a contract.

TEFL can be an adventure or a life-long career, but either way, research, prepare and have fun!

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

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