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How important is a TEFL qualification for teaching English abroad?

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) are often seen as important qualifications for UK teachers working overseas. How important are they in Spain and are they worth the study and expense?

Qualified teachers looking for work in Spain are best advised to look for work in a British/International school. These schools will value the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) from the United Kingdom and the work expected will be familiar to teachers used to working as a class teacher in the United Kingdom.

If you are not a qualified teacher then the work market is a little more uncertain. Some independent schools, including British and International schools, may well consider unqualified teachers and in addition may have teaching assistant positions available.

So, what are the advantages of being TEFL qualified?

A TEFL qualification improves your employability and may well improve your salary.

If you are a qualified teacher and you are looking to teach the  National Curriculum or an International curriculum abroad then a TEFL qualification will not be as important as your teaching qualification and experience. However, if you are looking to schools that have a high proportion of students for whom English is not their home language then you are going to need to demonstrate knowledge and confidence in how these students learn English. Working in Spain I quickly realised that Spanish students have a theoretical knowledge of their own language that is significantly above the knowledge possessed by English students of their own language. Helping these students move forward in their learning then requires a strong understanding of grammar. If you don’t know your past participles from your gerunds or struggle to identify a predicate then perhaps a course to boost you grammar knowledge might be extremely useful.

Teacher who are not qualified and are looking for work as a language teacher or looking to work as assistants in international schools would certainly benefit from a TEFL qualification.

Anything you can do to add to your CV and demonstrate that you have prepared for the work for which you are applying can only be a positive. A high quality TEFL qualification teaches valuable strategies to help students with meaningful learning. It should give a strong grounding in the rules governing the English language whilst also providing ideas or materials to help in classroom. TEFL courses range in length from 20 hour introductory courses through to 140 hour intensive courses providing all the tuition and materials you would ever need to teach English as a second language. The important point is to ensure that your TEFL qualification comes from a reliable provider. There are a huge number of providers and many of them offer qualifications that sound on paper equal and yet in practice may not be recognised.

Are you considering a TEFL qualification? Would you like to complete your study and gain you qualification using professionally developed online resources?


i-to-i

i-to-i are an internationally recognised provider of TEFL qualifications and are currently offering a 50€ discount on some of their top selling products. They offer a free taster to help you decide which course is right for you and also offer a free consultation with an advisor. Their aim is to ensure that you have a worthwhile training experience and that your TEFL qualification equips you effectively for teaching English.  Click below for a list of courses that i-to-i can offer online.


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Filed under Teaching English to Spanish speakers

Preparing to move abroad – learning a language

Are you preparing for a move to live and work in a different country? If your move takes you to a country where a different language is spoken then it may well be worth preparing before you leave. Any effort you can put in before you move may well make those first few days and weeks in your new home easier.

When we were considering moving to Spain one of the most useful pieces of advice I received was “learn the language”. Statistically, people who make an effort to learn the language when they relocate abroad are more likely to have a positive experience and more likely to remain in their host country.

In 2008 when we were looking to move abroad we registered with a local evening class and spent two hours of each week studying. This was successful for us as it gave us a structure and an incentive. Once I started becoming more confident with the basics then I invested in a CD language course and a number of books. All of these were helpful, but mainly because I already had a weekly class that kept my interest and made the language learning a regular part of my week. The investment in a language learning course before moving really does help. It is tempting to think that when you move it will be easy to learn the language but if you are intending working in your host country then your first few months are likely to be spent adapting to a new job. You may not, at least initially, have time and energy left for study at the end of your working day.

Transparent Spanish Complete Edition

Transparent Spanish Complete Edition

Moving to a different country and a different culture can be quite isolating. Learning the language is an important part of enjoying social interactions in the same way as you do in your home country. Simple aspects of day to day life like asking where a product is in a shop or passing the time of day with a neighbour are all impossible if language is a barrier.

We always offer lessons to our new teachers which are entirely voluntary but extremely popular. Those teachers who have made an effort to begin their language learning before moving do adapt to life here in Spain much more quickly.

The second language aspect of moving abroad to teach is understanding how to help pupils who almost certainly do not have English as their home language. The main difference that you may find in working with a high proportion of pupils with English as an additional language (EAL pupils) is that you become aware of the need for a technical knowledge of English. Children will have questions and without a confident technical knowledge of English then providing the right answers and support is impossible. One way to improve your knowledge of English is to enroll on a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course. This may not be essential for the teaching job you are taking abroad. However, the improvement to your own knowledge of English grammar will make you better equipped to support EAL pupils.


i-to-i

i-to-i professional TEFL certificate – 140 hours

Anything you can do to improve your own language knowledge, whether that be the language spoken in your host country or your knowledge of English, will make adaptation to living abroad easier.

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