Finding a TEFL course you can trust can be challenging but here are some tips that should help you distinguish a quality course from a disreputable one.
The TEFL course should be Accredited
A good course should be accredited by an independent and academically rigorous organisation.
TEFL Accreditation essentially means that an organisation higher than the school you attend approves, regulates, inspects and ensures that a high standard of training is maintained. It is your quality assurance guarantee. Many academies say they are accredited but if you check the fine print you’ll often they monitor their own standards.
Our accreditation body is IATQuO. IATQuO was started by one of the most well known people in the TEFL industry. Dr Moller is a retired British Council Officer, a current full time Chief Examiner for Trinity College and the 2003 Chair of Examiners for the London Tests of English.
IATQuO stands for the International Accreditation of TESOL Qualifying Organsations. IATQuO it is deeply respected for its ethics as an independent body and its scrutiny of quality. IATQuO recently gave TtMadrid a score of 24 out of a possible 25. This is considered exceptional and we work had everyday to try and make our score even better. Our TEFL certificate is recognised internationally and our graduates have worked and are working all around the world. Click on the following links to find out more about accreditation and IATQuO.
- The International Accreditation of TEASOL Qualifying Organisations (IATQuO)
- Our accrediting body page
Dr Moller, or one of his representatives, comes to Spain to visit our school at the end of every single course we run. They spend time with our trainees getting feedback on the course, they check the quality of our materials and resources and ensure that our assessment is fair and in accordance with industry standards. In addition to this Dr Moller himself visits our school at least three times a year to spend a period of no less than three days assessing the entire school. He checks every single handout and lesson we give, he observes us teaching to ensure the quality of the tuition is of the highest standards and he comprehensively interviews everyone on our course. At the end of this rigorous process he writes a very detailed report on the schools performance. Our last score out of 25 was 22. This is considered an exceptional mark and one we are incredibly proud of. Saying that, we’re not resting on our laurels, our aim will always be to get a perfect score.
Membership does not equal Accreditation
There are a lot of academies that say they are accredited. However, when you do the research you’ll sometimes discover that they are just members of international organisations. To get into these organisations all they have to do is pay a yearly membership which is sometimes as little as $20 a year. As you can imagine – $20 doesn’t go far if you want someone to independently and thoroughly monitor the quality of your course. Doing an unaccredited course will compromise your ability to get work.
Ask the Right Questions
It is important to speak on the phone to a course administrator – my school calls interested candidates at a prearranged time in order to have an extensive conversation about the course as well as living and working in Spain. Below is a list of questions we recommend asking the school you contact – their response will be very revealing:
- Does an independent body come to the school to moderate every single course? How else can you be reassured that the course you’re doing is in accordance with industry standards?
- Would you be able to put me in touch with some of your graduates in order to get their feedback on your course? All our graduates are happy to be put in touch with you. Our graduates are our greatest asset and can provide honest and unbiased answers to your questions.
- What is the maximum number of students you will allow on a course? Our maximum is 18
- How many trainers and support staff do you employ? We employ 5, Laura, Valentina, Monica, Stephen and Natasha. Helen is the TEFL Course Manager and Karmen the School Manager. There are lots of us and we are all here for you!
- Do you provide ongoing support and advice after the course finishes? As a graduate of our school you will be a member of a large family and will receive help and support as long as you want and need it. Our graduates are always come to the school to prepare their lesson, photocopy our resources or just have a chat. Our school is vibrant with activity – there is never a dull moment at TtMadrid.
- Do you help me find work and support me until I have a teaching schedule I’m happy with? Yes. We have worked hard to build excellent relationships with teaching academies in Spain who prefer to employ our graduates. Click on the tefl course expectations link to read the testimonials of two respected teaching academies in Madrid.
- Do you do specialist courses in Young Learners and Business? We do business English units and Young Learners units as a standard part of our course. We need you to be prepared as possible for the local market. If you are not sure whether teaching young learners is your thing, you can visit a local school that we work with to get a sense of what YL would be like. By having both skills you can start teaching both adults and children when you graduate thus not narrowing your TEFL employment options. We also offer 3 Advanced TEFL certificates that are offered twice a year throughout the year (Young Learners, Business, NLP & Accelerated Learning).
- What relationship do you have with the teaching academies that will employ me? We have an excellent relationship with the academies that will employ you. We are very honest about your performance on our course. We want to see that you are prepared to work hard and make steady progress. Our reputation has been built on the quality of our graduates. It is why we can guarantee work. The academies hire our teachers because they know that a pass on our course is a guarantee of excellence in teaching methodology and innovative lesson planning. We expect a lot from our graduates because they are our greatest ambassadors; we pride ourselves with the care and effort we put into training them.
Other points to consider when choosing your TEFL Course, whether it be here in Spain, or anywhere else in the world
Observed Teaching Feedback
Don’t do a TEFL unless you get to observe experienced teachers and teach at least six classes of varying levels in front of a teacher trainer who gives written and verbal feedback at the end of your class. We’ve had lots of people come and see us after completing a TEFL which didn’t include the necessary elements. Their main concern when they start teaching is that they feel under prepared and lacking in confidence. In our opinion nothing can replace doing real teaching practice on a TEFL course.
Read, research, then read and research some more
There is enough information out there on the internet nowadays for you to do all the research you need and find a TEFL course that is of the highest quality. Check out their Facebook group, is it active and ongoing? Do they show ‘real photos on the Instagram account, rather than of a glossy show school that in reality doesn’t exist? Check out TEFL review sites such as www.teflcourserview.com.
Try and Visit the TEFL School in Person
If you can, and we know it’s not always possible, try and visit the school you are thinking about going to in person. It’s a great way to get an idea of what you can expect and how you will be treated. At our school we invite you to come in for a chat, you are welcome to sit in on one of our lessons and are encouraged to talk to the graduates and trainees who are in the school at the time of your visit. We’ve heard many stories about people visiting TEFL schools only to be made to feel unwelcome and uncared for. If you’re going to spend an intensive month somewhere you should at least feel comfortable being there. If you can’t visit in person, them it is essential you talk to someone from the TEFL school before you start so they can answer all your questions and you can get a real feel
Graduates prepping for their classes
for who they are. With technology these days, you can do a virtual visit. Ask the TEFL manager to show you around the school with their laptop so at least you can see the school a little bit and see what is going on.
Name: Jim Moore
Where are you from? England
Quote: “TtMadrid is great! Everyone in my class developed into a unique and gifted teacher, thanks to the great support we’ve received from the staff. I’d recommend this program to anybody looking to become a teacher or improve on the experience they already had.”