What does an online TEFL course involve?

What does an online TEFL course involve? Well, it depends on the course, but in this post I’ll focus on what ESLinsider’s advanced course involves.

The advanced course is “advanced” as according to research it uses the best methods to learn online. Some of these methods include the use of instructional videos and other visuals, feedback, writing, bite-sized learning, repetition, audio, etc.

Course syllabus

Here is a look at some of the topics in the advanced course.

  • Introduction (30 teachers share their experiences on video in Asia)
  • “Engrish” entrance exam (let’s make sure you speak English and not “Engrish”)
  • Teaching methods (7 different methods of teaching explored)
  • The teacher as a public speaker (How to captivate your students)
  • Learning styles (the old concept of learning styles & what to take from it)
  • Lesson planning (Learn 2 different preparation methods)
  • Presenting language (Learn how to introduce language to your students)
  • Teaching reading
  • Teaching speaking
  • Teaching writing
  • Teaching listening
  • Teaching pronunciation & phonics (Learn pronunciation tips for kids-adults)
  • Midterm
  • Grammar
  • Using games & activities (for enhanced learning & engagement)
  • Teaching with songs (How to use music to teach)
  • Dealing with problems in the classroom (Solutions to common problems)
  • Classroom management (How to handle the most difficult students)
  • Classroom management tips
  • Writing your resume (How to outshine the competition even without experience)
  • Finding jobs (Where to look, how to avoid scams and crappy employers)
  • Culture shock
  • Final exam
  • TEFL certification

Inside each level or topic you will find a variety of content that includes video, text, images and audio followed by questions and occasional assignments.

To proceed to the next level you need to maintain a grade of 80% or higher.

Entrance exam

This quiz is pretty short and easy if you are a native speaker. I also tried to make the course as entertaining as possible. Learning should be fun or interesting because if it’s not then you wont learn!

The same can be said for your future students.

Lesson planning assignments

This course uses images from common student books. You will be most likely using books that are similar to this when you get abroad. This course includes 4 lesson planning assignments with feedback so you can correct any errors that you may make.

Here’s one assignment focused on teaching vocabulary. Before you do the assignment you will receive instruction on how to do so. The feedback adds a little reinforcement.

Small chunks of reading

If you looked at the research above you will see that many people don’t actually read much online. So unlike some other courses that may be entirely text or require reading large amounts of text before taking quizzes, ESLinsider delivers content in small bits as to not overwhelm you.

And frequently there are instructional videos which make learning more enjoyable, faster and easier.

The videos are then followed by questions such as true or false or multiple choice. And if needed you can go back to the video and watch it again.

Learn more about the latest research on online TEFL or learn more about ESLinsider’s advanced TEFL course.

When Is The Best Time To Take An Online TEFL Course?

When is the best time to take an online TEFL course? This is a question that I don’t actually see people ask often or consider. Most people take courses whether they are online or onsite BEFORE they start.

But is this actually the best time?

Well, it improves your resume as it gives you a qualification, but as far as the training goes I don’t think it is for a couple of reasons.

The first reason why is because you haven’t started teaching yet and you have nothing to work with or compare it to. At this point teaching is still an abstract concept.

The second reason why is that there’s going to be a gap in between the time when you complete the course and when you start your job. So that is not going to help your memory of the course material.

If the online TEFL course wasn’t any good then that’s also not going to help your memory.

On average it will probably be at least a couple of months in between when you finish the course and start working.

How long do courses allow access to the courses?

Well, it depends on the course. Most online courses allow less than 6 months. Here are a couple of examples.

So when is the best time to take an online TEFL course?

Now contrary to popular belief which is you take a course before you start teaching I would say that if you are going to take a course just one time then I would take it after you start.

Why?

Because you will have context. The material will seem less abstract to you. It will probably be more helpful too because you will remember more of it.

But don’t I need the certification to get a job?

You can get a job with an online TEFL certificate, but you can also get a job without any TEFL course.

But won’t my job be difficult if I don’t know what to do on the first day?

Sure, but I think it’s going to be a bit difficult either way. Ideally you should take a course before you start and then after again for review. Research shows that repetition and spaced intervals between studying leads to better memory and retention.

I don’t think your first week or so will be that easy regardless so yes, taking it before should help, but I think it will be much more helpful if you start after you start your job for the reasons mentioned above.

So now you know more about the best time. But what is the best online TEFL course?

Is an online TEFL course enough? What do you mean by enough?

Is an online TEFL course enough? What do you mean by enough? Do you mean can you get a job with an online TEFL? Or do you mean is it good enough for the training?

In my experience teaching in Asia: China, Korea, and Taiwan I would say that most schools there will accept online TEFL courses, however it does depend on the school.

The schools that don’t accept online courses are often more prestigious or in places like Europe or the middle east. Most first time teachers do not get into these schools anyways unless they have experience.

So despite what you might have heard having an in-class course is not going to make a big or any difference in your chances of getting a job or making more money. Having TEFL experience matters more.

The course is just a start.

Are online TEFL courses any good? Well, that is going to depend on the course as all online courses are not created equally. What you take away from a course or what you learn is going to depend on the course and you.

Is an online TEFL course for you?

  • Are you a self-directed learner?
  • Are you self disciplined?
  • Are you independent or introverted?
  • Do you want to control the pace?
  • Are you planning to teach abroad for just 1-2 years?

If your answers are mostly yes to those questions then an online TEFL course may be better for you compared to an onsite TEFL course.

Now let’s talk about the training.

Here’s why most online TEFL courses are not good enough

How do online TEFL courses work? Well, it depends on the course, but for a lower quality one you read passages and then take quizzes or answer multiple choice questions. Now you can learn by reading, but if you have no visual element to it you’re going to have an awefully hard time remembering what you are studying.

Studies show that people tend to only read 20-28% of a page. So if you only read that much then how much do you think you will remember?

If you don’t remember what you studied in a course then how well do you think you will teach?

You need a visual to learn how to teach. For me the best way to learn how to teach was by watching other teachers. Now you can do that in a classroom or you can do it online with video.

A higher quality course is going to use a lot of instructional videos because studies show that people learn better with video compared to text.

It’s also more interesting.

You may have read that online courses are useless or worthless, but the people who say those things typically fall into a few groups:

  • Traditional learners
  • CELTA snobs
  • They took a cheap/low quality Groupon TEFL course
  • They never took an online course and are just repeating what others say

If you read r/tefl on Reddit you will soon find out that many people there are pro-CELTA. CELTA is supposed to be a good course, but it’s not for everyone especially those who are not in it for the long run, don’t teach adults, don’t want to cram, or pay $2000.

On the other end of the spectrum on Reddit are those that recommend taking the cheapest online TEFL you can get so you can “check the box”.

These people are only focused on appearances and getting the job, but getting a job is just the beginning.

A cheap course is cheap for a reason. You tend to get what you pay for. As mentioned above you probably won’t get instructional videos, feedback or a quality course.

Going with a low quality/cheap course will likely continue the circle of people saying online courses are worthless. So yeah they are worthless if you take the wrong course just to get a job (“check the box”) and you don’t learn.

I think the biggest factor for a successful experience with an online course is to have a visual. You should watch other teachers teach the same or similar students as you are going to teach. If you teach kids then you need to watch other teachers teach kids.

If you teach adults then some stuff will transfer to kids, but not all and vice versa.

Here is an advanced course that is especially focused on teaching kids (5-14) in Asia.

Art shows

This is a resume of my art shows. It needs an update^^. It’s a little dated, but I wanted to put it somewhere before it vanishes.

I worked as an artist creating various pieces and projects for display in gallery exhibitions, juried exhibitions, magazine and newspaper publications.

You can see some of my art work here.

Solo Exhibitions

April 2001: “Exposure of Process”, Box Gallery, Sante Fe, NM
December 1998: Old Main Art Museum, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

Group Exhibitions

March 2004: Catamount Arts, St. Johnsbury, VT January 2001: Plan B Evolving Arts, Sante Fe, NM
September 2000: Art One Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ. June 2000: Art One Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ.
August 1999: Patricia Cameron Gallery, Seattle, WA. July 1999: Lead Gallery, Seattle, WA.
December 1998: Art One Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ.
August 1998: Art One Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ. June 1998: Art One Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ.
Juried Exhibition:
April 2005: Stock 20 Gallery, Taichung, Taiwan, R.O.C
March 1998: 1st place award, Beasley Gallery, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

Publications

March 2001: “The Reporter”, Sante Fe, NM
April 2001: “The Reporter”, Sante Fe, NM
April 2001: “THE”, Sante Fe, NM

Magazine?

June 2003: “Direct Art”, volume 8, New York, NY

Why doesn’t ESLinsider have any 3rd party reviews?

Are you searching for reviews of ESLinsider’s TEFL courses? Wondering why there aren’t any on 3rd party sites? O.k. that’s fair enough. Someone asked me this recently, so I thought I would share a bit why at the moment there aren’t.

If you are searching for reviews on ESLinsider then I’ll assume that you are also checking out other companies too and you have probably been to some review sites like:

  • gobroad.com
  • teflcoursereview.com
  • gooverseas.com

Those are affiliate sites. They make money by referral links and advertising. You have to create an account there before people can leave reviews on your course.

I did initially create an account with either the goabroad or the gooverseas site (can’t remember which one) a few years ago, but changed my mind and had it deleted for a few different reasons.

No, it wasn’t because of a bad review as I only had the account for like a week or two. But one reason was if I wanted a better position on their site and to be found there then I had to pay money.

Plus I was thinking, would it be better if I had reviews on another site or my own site?

So I decided to put the review software on my own site instead.

There are lots of affiliates in TEFL…

And chances are that you have come across them unknowingly. What that means is that a lot of the reviews that you may have read were written by someone who makes money by referring people to courses.

Once you click on their referral link which could be on sites like above or on blogs or a place like Quora you will be taken to another site and if you make a purchase on that site then the affiliate will make some money.

That’s fine if that’s what you want to do, but most people aren’t going to write a totally honest review if they are getting paid to do it and in many cases these people recommending these courses haven’t even taken the course.

Are paid reviews genuine?

Do a search in Google for these keywords:

  • tefl affiliates

And you will find a lot of companies – pages and pages of TEFL course companies that do this.

If you want to learn more about this then I recommend that you check out this article on TEFL affiliates.

Anyways…

ESLinsider doesn’t have an affiliate program. Maybe I could make more money doing that, but I just don’t like it.

I have read that many of the reviews written online are fake and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are plenty of fake reviews in the TEFL course world.

Fake reviews

  • Yelp estimates 25% of it’s reviews are fake. Source
  • This source suggests Amazon has 200+ million fake reviews.
  • Some companies may offer discounts to customers who write reviews. Source
  • Some companies hire PR firms or someone on Fiverr to write fake reviews that are either positive or negative. Source
  • Companies may manipulate their customers to write reviews. (see below)

I read a story on Reddit a few years ago (which I can’t seem to find now) about a girl who had to write a review of the TEFL company before they gave her a certificate.

So as you can see some TEFL reviews may be fake or manipulated in some way.

ESLinsider is small, but genuine

It’s not a large company or anything like that. It’s been up and online steady since 2011. It didn’t actually start as a course. It started with how-to videos and an ebook. There was no course until 2013. It offers online training and resources for teachers especially focused on teaching kids in Asia.

All the reviews that are written on my site are written by people who have taken courses there. I also kept some testimonials (2012-2016) which started long before I set up the reviews on my site in 2016.

As of right now there are 18 (5 star) reviews on ESLinsider and one with just a rating. She left a 4 star rating, but no written review. I did ask if she would add it as I don’t mind constructive criticism, but she didn’t. I ask people if they can leave a review when they finish the course, however they aren’t obligated to.

There I do say that I may delete a review if they don’t use their name and email used in the course. But I only say that to prevent possible trolls or evil competitors from writing a malicious fake review.

If you are interested I could possibly ask to offer you further contact with one of these reviewers. I’d imagine they would say that’s o.k.

Do you trust 3rd party reviews more?

Because who knows maybe the reviews on my site are fake. Right?

I have only had that reviews component on my site for maybe a year and a half or so. And I am learning that people may find 3rd party reviews more trustful, so as of recently I have mentioned that teachers could also leave a review on Youtube as videos seem more credible, but apparently there are even fake video reviews.


Read reviews of ESLinsider’s online TEFL courses or ask me a question.

Starting something new is difficult

It’s hard to start something new.

It’s hard to get there and getting there is the battle. Actually it’s not that the place you want to go to is worse, but the difficult part is getting there or making it through “The Dip” as Seth Godin says.

It happens everyday and there are a lot of ways that it manifests itself.

In my experience it’s hard to:

  • to work out.
  • to get to jiu-jitsu class.
  • to start a new project (video, art, article, etc.)
  • to change your habits.
  • to get ready for work.
  • to move.
  • to change.
  • to start anything new.

But really in so many cases it’s just starting. It’s not the actually thing. The hard part is just transitioning from where you are now to where you want to go.

And so much of it is in your head.

For the last 8 days or so I have been working on this video. And it started with inertia. There was a sort of dread and this ughh feeling cause I knew the first part of creating it would be boring.

But at some point you get over the hump and it becomes more fun.

I also mention at the end of the video getting out of your comfort zone. I show a picture that I got from Wikipedia. It shows 3 circles within one another.

  1. At the center you have your comfort zone
  2. Surrounding your comfort zone is the optimal performance zone
  3. And then surrounding that is the danger zone

The Crosswalk

Here’s the latest creative video that I made. I first did a little beatboxing, recorded it, looped it with my computer and then scratched over it with my turntables.

I also used a little sound sample from the crosswalk ticker and some footage around the neighborhood.

Lately I have been watching a lot of Jordan Peterson’s stuff. He is really interesting. I signed up for one of his courses online called self and future authoring.

Some of the questions that are asked in the future authoring course I added to the video. Something to think about.

Why men make more money

Here are some interesting comments on why men make more money!

This is an interview with Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson who is a clinical psychologist at the University of Toronto and a former professor at Harvard.

I have been watching a lot of Jordan Petersons videos lately. Very interesting!

And this reminded me of some funny jokes by Bill Burr also regarding why men make more money.

The video quality of this is poor, but the sound is good. It’s funny!

2 Ways To Stimulate Autophagy & Why You Want To Do That

Autophagy is how a cell naturally clears away dead or unhealthy cells in your body. You can do that 2 ways and both of those ways require stressing the cell.

Way number 1 – exercise

If you exercise you can stimulate autophagy.

Way number 2 – fast or deplete your body of nutrients

Fasting and caloric restriction has been shown to increase autophagy.

Why you want to do that

Autophagy clears away the dead and unhealthy cells in your body. The older you get the more of these cells you get in your body.

So autophagy promotes health and healing in your body by clearing away dead and unhealthy cells.

If you are not doing these things then you are essentially speeding up your own destruction.

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Speed healing

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