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TEFL FAQS

What is Cactus TEFL?

Cactus TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is an admissions and advice service for quality teacher training courses worldwide. We work with the majority of well-known course providers to offer CELTA, Trinity CertTESOL, equivalent and online courses in over 90 locations across 36 countries. There is no extra charge for our service: our prices will always match, or better, those of our training centres. The difference is that we offer added extras to make the process much easier for you: we give you the means to compare courses and prices, you can apply quickly and easily via our online application process and you can trust us to help you choose the right course with expert, impartial advice every step of the way.

TEFL Course Options

  1. CELTA and TESOL

    The Cambridge CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL are the two key qualifications recognised by the British Council and reputable English language schools worldwide. They can be taken as full-time or part-time courses.

    CELTA

    • Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults
    • Min 120 hours over a min 4 weeks
    • At least 6 hours' teaching practice in front of real students
    • Accredited by the Cambridge University examining board

    CertTESOL

    • Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
    • Min 130 hours over a min 4 weeks
    • Includes a component that teaches you a new language
    • At least 6 hours’ teaching practice in front of real students
    • Accredited by Trinity College London
  2. What do you do on a CELTA or TESOL course?

    The overall aim of these courses is for you to become a confident, competent teacher of English. To start with, you will need a good understanding of English grammar. See the Cactus online English Language Awareness course for help with this.

    Through a series of lesson observations, input sessions on aspects of language, learning materials, classroom management and activities, level awareness and teaching in different contexts, you gradually build up your skills. These are assessed throughout the course via your performance in your teaching practice (TP), which takes place regularly. Your first TP can often come on the second day of the course! The key to success is to absorb the new information you are given, synthesize and reproduce it during the practice lessons. Much of your time outside class is spent preparing lessons, where help and support are frequently available.

  3. Full-time or part-time?
    Full-time TEFL course Part-time TEFL course
    Duration 4 weeks intensive 12 - 20 weeks
    Timetable 9am - 5/6pm, Monday to Friday Lesson preparation & assignments at home Evening and weekend classes Lesson preparation & assignments at home
  4. Why do CELTA and TESOL courses vary so much in price?

    Prices vary substantially from school to school, according to:

    • The location of the centre
    • The facilities available to trainees
    • The level of prestige associated with the school.

    Each centre sets its own prices and all are moderated closely to ensure that they conform to the standards laid down by their respective external examining bodies. For most trainees the decision about where to do the course usually comes down to factors such as price and how convenient the location and course dates are for you.

  5. Online and Blended TEFL courses

    Online courses are a flexible and convenient way to study as you can do them in your own time and at your own pace. While it is possible to study in depth about TEFL online and by correspondence, you do not get any teaching practice. Online courses are therefore good if you already have teaching experience or if you want to teach English on a more temporary or informal basis.

    At Cactus we have designed our own online TEFL courses, which combine our years of experience in TEFL with that of prominent figures within the TEFL industry. The English Language Awareness Course prepares teachers with the grammar they need to teach English, and is the perfect companion to the English Language Methodology course which demonstrates how to teach English*. These two courses are perfect preparation for any TEFL course or if you simply want a 'taste' of TEFL, to work out whether TEFL is for you.

    In select locations there is the option to take a Blended CELTA Course (13 weeks part-time), which combines online CELTA training with valuable face-to-face teaching practice. This is a great option if you don’t have time to access the full face-to-face course, as online CELTA materials will be accessible any time that suits you. You do need to be located in the same place as the course for your face-to-face classes.

    *If you book your TEFL course through Cactus you will receive a FREE English Language Methodology course and a discounted English Language Awareness course (£50 reduced from £95).

  6. Will a weekend or 1-week course give me a certificate in teaching?

    Short courses are good for a basic introduction to TEFL. If you are looking to teach on an informal, voluntary or temporary basis, these courses are usually sufficient.

    If you are looking at teaching as a way to finance your new life abroad, you will need the Cambridge CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL, which are the main qualifications employers across the world will recognise and require. We also offer equivalent courses for overseas teachers.

Application Procedure

  1. How to Apply
    1. Download your application form from the Cactus TEFL website:
      Go to your chosen course page, select your start date and complete your personal details. This will create your own Cactus TEFL account where you can download and track your application(s). Try to apply at least 2-3 months in advance if possible, to allow yourself time to prepare and before courses become full.
    2. Pre-interview task:
      Required by some schools, this is a series of grammar questions that may be included as part of the application or later in the process.
    3. Submit your application:

      Upload your application to our website or send it to us by email. We review it to make sure everything is in order, and then forward it to the centre.

    4. Interview:

      The training centre will contact you to arrange an interview either in person (if you are in the same city) or via phone/Skype. The interview will last 30-60 minutes. At the end of the interview you should find out whether or not you have been accepted. Click here for more information on the interview and application process.

    5. Payment:

      Once you are accepted onto a course your first payment of a £250 deposit is due. The full course fee must then be paid at least 6 weeks before the start of the course in order to avoid losing your place. Full payment is due immediately if you are accepted onto a course less than 6 weeks before it starts.

  2. What are the requirements to get onto a CELTA or TESOL course?

    Native speakers of English:

    • The CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL are classified as level 5 qualifications within the National Qualification Framework
    • You do not necessarily need a degree to apply: some schools will require a degree, while others will consider your application if you have an equivalent qualification and/or teaching experience. This is at the discretion of the training centre.
    • Min 18 years of age / no upper age limit

    Non-native speakers of English:

    • You must be able to demonstrate your ability in English to a very high standard: ideally you should hold a qualification such as the Cambridge Advanced English (CAE), Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or IELTS level 7.
    • The school will test your level of English and provide an additional language task

    *Want to do a TEFL course but worried you don't know enough grammar? Sign up to the Cactus English Language Awareness course, which prepares teachers with the grammar they need to teach English. £95 for new customers or £50 if you book a 4-week course with us!*

  3. Do I need to speak the local language to apply for a TEFL course abroad?

    No. It is very much part of the TEFL ethos to stay in the target language - English - and find creative ways to get across meaning, through mime, drawing, visual aids or real objects, or using other students to explain to their peers in English.

    Your stay abroad is obviously about more than teaching English all day, however. You are going to want to get know the locals and be able to order a few beers and make elementary requests in shops. For this, knowledge of the local language - even if only the basics - will help you immerse into the new culture. Check out Cactus' evening language courses in the UK or language courses abroad to learn the basics or improve existing skills before you start.

After Your Course

  1. Does a good quality TEFL course guarantee me a job?

    Gaining your CELTA or CertTESOL does not guarantee you a job, but it does offer you the best possible chance of getting one. English language schools are located in towns and cities around the world and there will be a job out there for you. There is plenty of choice, and it often depends on personal preference, as some centres will guarantee you work after your course while others will leave you independent to find work at the school of your choice.

  2. Tips for finding work
    • Train in the location where you wish to work; this will give you good access to local job vacancies that arise
    • If you already have your teaching qualification, decide where you would like to work and do some internet research to check how many English language schools there are in your chosen destination; there are often more opportunities away from the big cities, where most people head
    • Consult the many TEFL recruitment sites that advertise TEFL jobs all over the world
    • Cactus TEFL offers additional post-course careers advice and support, as well as free access to our very own TEFL jobs board and job alerts. Here you will find potential employers from all over the world, gain an understanding of what it’s like to live and work abroad, and receive expert advice as to the right path for you upon course completion.

UK Office - Contact Details & Opening Hours:

Cactus Worldwide Ltd
Lorna House
103 Lorna Road
Hove
East Sussex
BN3 3EL
United Kingdom

Telephone (local rate): 0845 130 4775
Telephone (int'l): +44 (0)1273 35 90 10

Regular opening hours:

Monday-Thursday: 9am-7pm

Friday: 9am-5pm

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