TEFL - Online English Language Awareness Course

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Course Information and Advice

Want to know more about ELA? Here are some of our frequently asked questions answers.

Who is this course good for?

This course is for all would-be TEFL teachers. It helps you to build your awareness of the English language ahead of your TEFL/TESOL course. This helps to take some of the pressure off you during the course, so that you can spend more time on developing your teaching skills and abilities. The course is also good for trained teachers who want more help with grammar.

What will I learn on the ELA course?

Over 30 interactive units, the course takes you through all the basic points of the English language that a teacher should know. By the end of the course, you should have a strong awareness of the English grammar system, a proper working knowledge of most of the terms used to describe Englishand an awareness of how English is taught in the classroom. All this means that when you start teaching, or start your TEFL course, you won't be struggling with the basic concepts - instead you'll be able to concentrate on teaching English to your students.

How long will it take me?

You can spend as much or as little time on the course as you like, and you can jump back and forth through the units. Ideally you should aim to spend at least 30 hours on the course, and there is enough material for up to 70 hours, depending on how you work.

Is it worth taking an ELA course?

Yes. Many schools are asking if would-be teachers have taken the ELA course, while training course providers also recognise it as good training in grammar.

When is the best time to take the ELA course?

If you are about to apply for an intensive 4-week course, such as the Trinity Cert TESOL or the Cambridge CELTA, then you could take the course:

  • To help you apply, before you complete the application form
  • To help you prepare, once you've been accepted for an interview
  • As part of your pre-course tasks, to ensure you start your TEFL course with all the basics of the English language in place
  • If you have already done a TEFL course but feel you want to strengthen and improve your Language Awareness, ELA is ideal.

Isn't it the same as buying a grammar book?

No. For lots of reasons. First, the course is designed as an online course. That means it is adapted to this form of learning, and integrates images, sound files, and video clips to bring the course to life. Second, it guides you through the basics in such a way that you build your knowledge as you go, and you interact fully with the course. Thirdly, it reduces the overwhelming amount of grammar information available in books to a manageable, essential guide, covering the most important points you need first.

Do I need to have broadband to do the course?

A dial up connection will work but you may have problems viewing the videos in real time

Can I download any of the information?

Yes. The course includes downloadable PDF files

Will I have access to the course after my time is up? If not, how can I keep a record of my work to refer to later?

No, your access ends at the end of your subscription. You can always resubscribe for another 45 days at a reduced fee if you would like more time.

Do I have to wait for a tutor to mark my work before I move on to the next section?

No, you can move on whenever you like. Work is not marked by a tutor, it is self correcting and you can repeat exercises as many times as you like until you get them all right. You can ask for help from the tutor at any point by using one of the forums.

Will I get a grade at the end of the course?

No, but note that a grading function exists on the site for your own personal use. However, ELA is designed so that if you make mistakes you can correct them until you get it right. The course is not about passing or failing but about learning!

Do I get a certificate?

Yes. After the expiry date of your subscription you can download a certificate from a PDF link.

Part 1: Cactus Online English Language Awareness Course

This first part of the course introduces you to how language works. In 30 units, you'll learn about the key items of grammar, the main aspects of vocabulary and you'll also study the basics of pronunciation. As well as completing 'lessons' with explanations and exercises, you also watch video clips from a real classrooms to see the theory in action. Throughout, you can use the online forum to ask a tutor questions and to network with other trainee teachers.


  • - Introduce yourself
  • - Get help with ELA
  • - Cactus TEFL Glossary
  • 1. Defining Language
  • 2. Nouns
  • 3. Verbs
  • 4. Adjectives
  • 5. Adverbs
  • 6. Articles
  • 7. Prepositions
  • 8. Parts of a Sentence
  • 9. Present simple
  • 10. Past simple
  • 11. The present continuous
  • 12. The past continuous
  • 13. The present perfect (simple and continuous)
  • 14. The past perfect (simple and continuous)
  • 15. The future
  • 16. Review of the tenses
  • 17. Modal Verbs
  • 18. -ing forms and infinitives
  • 19. Pronouns
  • 20.Quantifiers
  • 21. Comparatives and superlatives
  • 22. Conditionals
  • 23. Reported speech
  • 24. Relative pronouns and relative clauses
  • 25. Passives
  • 26. Functions
  • 27. Pronunciation (1) Phonemes
  • 28. Pronunciation (2) Word stress and sentence stress
  • 29. Punctuation & Spelling
  • 30. Final review and self assessment

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