The school is dedicated to the promotion and expansion of English language learning world-wide, to raising standards in teaching and to improving the status of teachers within the profession. It provides a comprehensive choice of training courses catering for those without any experience who want to enter the profession and also for experienced teachers wishing to upgrade their qualifications. It has a very high success rate in these courses. This is due to the personal interest taken in each trainee. Trainers are dedicated to and experienced in teacher training and ensure that all trainees are highly motivated for all their assignments.
Please note: There is a TEFL Glossary at the end of this course profile, explaining the abundant acronyms.
Three part-time courses run at London Earls Court. They start in January, April and September. The courses last for 12 weeks and take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6.15 to 9.30pm, and on 6 Saturdays from 10am to 5pm. The courses are intended for those who prefer an extended period of study or who wish to continue earning while they follow a course.
Course content and structure
Input sessions covering:
- grammar structure and function of English
- presentation, practice and techniques of teaching
- teaching of pronunciation (phonology)
- error analysis and correction
- classroom resources and textbooks
- brief foreign language study
- teaching practice on groups of volunteer foreign students (2 levels)
- further input and workshops
- grammar research, some lesson preparation and written assignments
This is an ideal opportunity to gain a teaching qualification in a relatively short time, but without the severe pressure associated with a four week intensive course.
There is also the added advantage that you can continue to earn as you do it, and can support yourself afterwards while you look for the right job.
The Cambridge CELTA
The reference to Cambridge is due to the fact that it is assessed by University of Cambridge ESOL (essentially the ‘exam board’). It is one of the leading qualifications in the TEFL industry, and the vast majority of those seeking a “TEFL course” finish by taking a Cambridge CELTA course.
These are designed for native and non-native speakers of English who have little or no experience of teaching. It is the most widely-recognised initial qualification in teaching English as a foreign / second language and is the minimum qualification required to work at a British Council accredited school in the U.K. and in many established schools overseas.
Cambridge CELTA – Summary Description
The syllabus and assessment criteria are laid down by Cambridge and based entirely on the needs of trainee participation. You are required to observe classes given by qualified and experienced teachers (usually daytime classes). Trainees will also spend time doing guided lesson planning, supervised teaching practice and feedback. You will also need to spend a significant amount of additional time on lesson preparation, written assignments, and course consolidation (outside class hours, and up to 3-4 hours per day). There may also be written assignments to be completed during the course.
Assessment is continuous and based on the trainee’s teaching practice, written assignments, and overall professional development.
Cambridge CELTA - Course Entry Requirements
- All applicants must have a very high level of both oral and written competence in English, being able to use the language in a way which is clear, coherent, and essentially free of mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
- All applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, or at least qualifications which would enable him/her to enter University. For example, A-Levels.
- All applicants need to demonstrate an awareness of language
- All applicants must be at least 20 years old at the start of the course
If you are not sure of your eligibility, please contact us to discuss your circumstances.
Cambridge CELTA Course Contents
(taken from University of Cambridge ESOL syllabus).
Certificate course programmes are designed by individual centres using the syllabus and course objectives. To meet the course requirements candidates are required to attend the whole course and to:
- Practise teach in a class of the relevant age group, for a total of six hours;
- Observe experienced teachers teaching classes for a total of eight hours
- Maintain and submit a portfolio of all course work including all written assignments and materials related to teaching practice
Specifically, the Certificate course programme is designed to enable candidates to:
1. Develop an awareness of language and a knowledge of the description of English and apply these in their professional practice;
2. Develop an initial understanding of the contexts within which adults learn
English, their motivations and the roles of the teacher and the learner;
3. Develop familiarity with the principles and practice of effective teaching to Adult learners of English;
4. Develop basic skills for teaching adults in the language classroom;
5. Develop familiarity with appropriate resources and materials for use with adult learners of English for teaching, testing and for reference.
Course programmes focus on:
1. Language Awareness
- basic concepts and terminology used in ELT for describing form and meaning in language and language use
- basic concepts and terminology used for describing language skills and sub-skills
- language description and syllabus design for the teaching of general English to adults
- the practical significance of similarities and differences between languages
- reference materials for language awareness
2. The Learner, the teacher and the teaching/learning context
- the adult learner’s educational background and traditions
- the context for learning and teaching English at adult level
- different motivations for learning English as an adult
- different learning and teaching styles at adult level
3. Planning for effective teaching of adult learners of English
- The principles of planning for effective teaching of adult learners of English
- The practical realities of planning for effective teaching of adult learners of English
- The selection and evaluation of appropriate materials and resources for specific lessons
- The selection and evaluation of appropriate exercise types and tasks for specific lessons
- The evaluation of lesson preparation
4. Classroom management and teaching skills for teaching English to adults
- the effective organisation of the classroom
- classroom presence and control
- teacher and learner language
- the use of teaching material and resources
- practical skills for teaching at a range of levels
- the monitoring and evaluation of adult learners
- the evaluation of classroom management and teaching skills
5. Resources and materials for teaching English to adults
- commercially produced resources and materials for teaching English to adults
- non published resources and materials for teaching English to adults
- the selection and evaluation of resources and materials for use in teaching and testing adult learners of English, and for reference
- the adaptation of resources and materials for specific groups of adult learners of English
6. Professional development for teachers of English to adults
- self assessment: understanding weaknesses and developing strengths
- working in context: preparing to become a teacher, colleague and employee
professional development: support systems, publication, and courses for teaching English to adults
On completion of the course
After the course, you will be equipped with the basics you require to enter the world of TEFL. You will be able to apply for work in a range of schools, colleges, private training organisations and on a host of volunteer programmes worldwide. TEFL – the job - is widely viewed a gap year option. It is important to point out that this qualification is also the basic pre-requisite for you to become a professional in the field of TEFL. It’s somewhat like a driving licence though, it’s hard to obtain, and yet you still need more practice when you’ve completed it. This is why we are wary of lesser qualifications, as we don’t think they give you enough input, practice and observation to make them worthwhile.
At some point during the course, you will be briefed on some of the options available to you. Cactus also has a number of links to key organisations. It is helpful if you already have a country in mind when you are thinking about finding your first TEFL job. A book we highly recommend is Susan Griffith’s Teaching English Abroad, which provides excellent information on all the key TEFL locations around the world, with details of levels of qualifications and experience required. If you have the time and the money, and you’ve researched your chosen country and precise location well, the easiest way of securing work will be to go there, and start meeting some people. Traditionally the best times are September/October and possibly January for “overseas markets” i.e. non-native speaker countries, and April/May/June in England, US, Canada, Australia etc. when there is a huge influx of international students.
What happens when I get back?
When you finish your period of work abroad, you may actually find that after a few weeks at home, you may just want to jet off somewhere else! Failing that, you may like to go back to a previous line of work. TEFL qualifications like the Cambridge CELTA are viewed by employers as a solid, useful qualification which has taught you a number of key transferable skills – such as presentation of verbal and visual information, heightened language awareness, creativity, flexibility, the ability to organise and motivate others, create working relationships and communicate efficiently with people of other nationalities and cultures, and through your own experience, hopefully new or improved language skills.
TEFL is the name that everyone recognises, and TEFL is very much in the public conscience now. Friends and family will frequently speak of someone doing a TEFL course, or doing TEFL abroad, or being interested in TEFL, and this term meets with widespread understanding.
But TEFL, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, is really just the name of the industry. Once you enter that industry, you’ll start to hear other terms such as TESOL, ELT, CELTA, ESOL, TESL, ESP, and these also need some explanation.
TESOL and ESOL can also be a reference to the industry – (Teaching) English to Speakers of Other Languages as can ELT, which is the more updated name for TEFL, Meaning simply, English Language Teaching. This is a preferred term, as it is more general, and removes the reference to the industry as being about teaching English as a Foreign language. TEFL is in such general usage, that we continue to refer to it.
Teachers who have successfully completed our training courses are offered the opportunity of teaching for sister schools abroad in China, Russia or Vietnam, thereby gaining initial teaching experience in a supportive environment. We are also in contact with a number of international school chains and are happy to assist in providing more details.
The benefits of starting your teaching career with this school include: Full Academic Support, Return Travel, Accommodation, Holiday Pay, Opportunities for Professional Development, Membership of an International Network, New Cultural Experiences, Competitive Local Salary, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and 12 month renewable contracts, Medical Cover