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 courses 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:
"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:
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!!
- 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
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.