Monday, February 2, 2009

My favourite learn-to-teach-EFL-in-a weekend teacher-training abominations

Cunningly continuing the thread of crap TEFL courses, which I kicked off with i-to-i and their pathetic online and weekend offerings last week, I'd now like to offer you this - a half-forgotten article that I wrote for a certain Tefl Trade journal some time back, but which, for some inexplicable reason, they chose not to run. Can you believe that?!

Anyway, here it is now, rescued from the Recycle Bin of my trusty gas-powered laptop – Sandy's personal guide to those completely useless 'how-to-TEFL-in-a-weekend' teacher-training cou
rses that nobody will recognise or accept...

...in fact, there was a good article about these trashy courses in The Online Guardian a few years back, with a very useful summary. So I'll start with a rather lengthy quote...

Beyond these substantial qualifications come a plethora of shorter, lighter courses that suffice to introduce the subject of Tefl, though they may masquerade as "certificates in Tefl". These can be anything from a weekend to one or two weeks, or if online from around 40 hours of study time.
[...]
The short online and weekend Tefl courses start at around 200 quid, but pro-rata are actually more expensive than the 120 to 130-hour courses, which average at about 800 quid, although can be available for much less. There isn't any real comparison between a brief insight and a thorough, four-week intensive course, nor in the level of recognition these courses offer and the ability each one gives you to actually do the job in hand.

So there you have it – there's no real comparison between the knowledge gained, the skills offered, and the recognition achieved. You could find an analogy, albeit rather a weak one, in the difference between a trained nurse and a bod with a First Aid certificate. I mean, you wouldn't really want to be in the care of the latter full-time in a hospital, although you'd be very grateful for his presence if you fell off your bike (pissed again!) and injured yourself. But little more than that.

However, the course providers tend to take a max bullshit, heavy-on-the-hype approach towards their useless products. What do you think of this comment, suitably vacuous of course, from the following site:

http://www.gapyear.com/itoi/online_tefl.html

"What we can give you are the tools and the confidence to take your talents abroad."

Unfortunately, the 'tools' amount to nothing more than a rusty old hammer and a handful of short nails; not to mention the obligatory 'chocolate chisel' - good for nothing! As for the 'confidence' it mentions, it would be more honest to call it 'bravado', or even 'bare-faced cheek' I reckon. And of course, behind the facade, it turns out to be our old mate i-to-i again - shameless bastards!!

The worst offender should be this one, though:

http://www.teflweekend.org/index.html

The site looks like a con-job for a timeshare outfit, and even features spoof 'accreditation' or 'validation' logos - such as IATEFL! I'm sure these organisations are not aware of it. The brazen con-men even have the cheek to include a link to the TESOL code of ethics!!

Worse still, the outfit initially appear to offer their weekend courses at a wide range of university campus locations in the US (and beyond), but if you probe a little further you'll see that are really limited to Chicago only.

As for their syllabus, look at this for day one - modals, classroom management, the history of the English language ... AND there's still time for a spot of teaching practice and feedback!!

Sample Day
  • Ice breakers, prep and/or review
  • Classroom management
  • Intro to grammar, modals, and more
  • TEFL at work
  • Elicitation techniques that work
  • Whiteboard & classroom materials made easy
  • History and function of the English language
  • Practice teaching preparation
  • Multiple practice teaching & feedback sessions
Sample Night... We go out and celebrate at pubs, clubs, & local favorites! [http://www.teflweekend.org/page4.html]

The 'Sample Night' could be right up my street, though!

So, anyway, there you go – Sandy's quick guide to the worst of the Crap Tefl Course offenders. Or maybe I've missed one? In fact, if there's anybody out there who has come across an online or weekend TEFL course that could possibly be worse, please let me know.

Equally, if anybody has actually found a job based on their possession of one of these crappy certificates, please let me know. Somehow, though, I don't think I'll be inundated with messages of support for the likes of Teflweekend and gapyear.com.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The obscenity of a category zero non-spark mocking those he should venerate, it is too much to bear. I have a creature here from the shadow land twixt hubris and nemesis, shall I unleash him?

Friends of Windsor said...

Go ahead, Paul. We could all do with a bit more entertainment round these parts. Is it your forthcoming appointment with the beak that's getting you down, eh?!

Shaun Ryder said...

So, the world's divided between 'sparks' an' 'non-sparks'. Iss a fookin' revolution of the mind.

Anonymous said...

Paul Lowe's going to get his 'creature' out!Somebody call the police immediately!Pervert on the loose,methinks...The Phantom Willy-waver of Old Windsor Town!
[cue the type of piano music played to accompany the appearance of the 'baddie' in a silent movie]
Heh-heh...Paul Lowe's 'comment' really had to have someone take the piss out of it!
William Fredrickson.

Anonymous said...

Either that or he's got the same cock-lurgy i once had,as he describes what he has in such Gothic terms:
'coming from the shadow land twixt nemesis and hubris.'
I once had a venereal rash that could have been described in such terms.Perhaps Paul Lowe sat on a lavvy seat in Camden and contracted leprosy of the genitals.Paul Lowe could be going round every Gents'lavvy in South-West England,contaminating the seats to infect the unwary...
William Frederickson.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Such choice language you employ, Sweet William, and what a wide range of seedy images your language throws up. Well, it makes me want to throw up, anyway!

Anonymous said...

That's why they call me 'Sweet William' and why my willie looks like a photograph of a log infested with oyster fungus!Stay away from women who look like Amy Shitehouse and 10% proof lager when you argue with the missus!

William Frederickson