Starting Out in TESOL
If you are thinking of becoming a teacher of English to speakers of other languages, and you are looking for a course leading to a qualification that will help you get a job with a good employer, you may be interested to consider carefully the content of these pages and the 10 questions we pose.
You will see many training courses advertised for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) or Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) - courses which aim to prepare and qualify you for your first English teaching job. It is in your interest to choose a course which will offer you a high standard of training and recognised certification.
Such a course will enable you to gain employment with a reputable employer, will have wider recognition in the field, will enable you to earn more for your work, and will provide a good basis for future career moves. English Language Teaching (ELT) is a profession like other areas of teaching; a good training course is an essential starting point for maintaining high professional standards for high quality student learning.
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Choosing Your First English Language Teacher
1. Who provides the course?
The course may be provided by a university, a further education (FE) establishment, a private language school or other educational organisation or institution.
2. Is the course accredited by Ofqual or by an equivalent body?
Ofqual, (the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator), works with the QCA (the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority) and is responsible for overseeing the proper maintenance of consistent standards in external qualifications across most awarding bodies in England. There are similar regulatory bodies in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. If the course is not accredited by Ofqual (or an equivalent body), many reputable employers will not regard the qualification as a basis for employment. You should check with the course provider about course accreditation. Important Questions
3. Where is the qualification located in the English National Qualifications Framework or in other national or international frameworks?
These are official listings of all Ofqual accredited qualifications. They show potential teachers in training how their chosen qualification relates to other qualifications in the same field. For example, in England, initial qualifications for teachers of ESOL/EFL are usually situated at Level 4, and more advanced qualifications are usually situated at Level 7.
4. What is the name and status of the awarding body?
The awarding body - sometimes known as an examination board - is the organisation which sets the curriculum for the course, validates and monitors the course provider, and issues the final qualification (certificate, diploma, etc.). You should check whether the qualification offered and the awarding body are recognised by institutions in the area where you intend to teach.
5. Does the awarding body have clearly defined procedures for monitoring the course against rigorous criteria?
It is important that the awarding body has a strict and detailed validation procedure before confirming approval for the course provider to offer one or more of its qualifications. Following validation, or initial approval, the awarding body should monitors the course regularly against rigorous criteria, because otherwise high standards may not be maintained over subsequent deliveries of the course. This monitoring should include checking the course content, teaching/training standards, provision and supervision of teaching practice, and the standards of written and oral work during and at the end of the course.
TESOL offers exciting opportunities for people with suitable abilities and who are qualified. If you are looking for a qualification to enable you to teach English, these pages offer some basic guidance.
There are many courses and many qualifications in a field that has become a flourishing and diverse industry we offer our support in helping you navigate your way.
The Association for the Promotion of
Quality in TESOL Education
Please note that the type of course we are outlining in these guidelines, is an introduction to the profession. Click here to see more information about possible career structure.