If you are anything like me, you would also be wondering what a TEFL certification actually means. When I embarked on my journey towards achieving my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education, I frequently crossed paths with the phrase ‘TEFL certification’. At the time of my studies, a bunch of people I knew where getting ready to travel abroad to go and teach English. Those which I had good contact with had mentioned the acronym TEFL. I never really looked into it much as I was too focused on my own qualification and though that a Bachelor’s degree definitely out weighed a ‘certification’ in teaching.

When I started working for IQBar I did not have a TEFL certification as it was not a requirement until recently. I had no idea what it entailed and I definitely did not know much about it at all. All I could tell you at that time was what the acronym TEFL stood for – Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Other than that I did not really focus too much of my attention on it.

When IQBar implemented the compulsory TEFL certification for everyone, I had a bit of a panic attack. I am a qualified teacher… Why should I need a TEFL certification? Well, for one, The Chinese legislation demands that all teachers need the TEFL certification; and two, I actually did a bit of research and found out why it is so beneficial to have on your record.

So what is TEFL exactly?

TEFL refers to Teaching English as a Foreign Language: “Programs in countries where English is not the primary language and is not a common language used by speakers of different languages.” This TEFL certification is an internationally recognized qualification which allows you to teach English abroad or online in various countries.

The great thing about TEFL, in contrast to mainstream teaching, is that you are able to teach all around the world. This is one of the main reasons so many people set out to obtain this qualification. It literally opens doors all across the worlds and if you are a keen traveller, this is definitely something beneficial to have in your back pocket! Being TEFL-qualified means that you can apply for jobs in any country you choose. This also means that there are copious amounts of different opportunities for TEFL teachers. You could choose to teach in a faraway village or a big city, teach children or adults, teach in a school or language schools as well as teach online – the possibilities are endless. The fact that this qualification allows for so many opportunities definitely made me want to go out and get TEFL certified!

So you may be asking, “Well what would I need to learn in a TEFL course?” And to be fair, I asked the same question. I definitely was not up for studying the same information I had done at university but to be honest, I really enjoyed the course and definitely learnt some valuable things during my time of completing it.

A TEFL course covers topics which include teaching language skills, grammar, lesson planning and classroom management. In a nut shell a TEFL course will teach you how to:

  • Teach English Language Skills. You will learn how to teach the five major elements of language learning: reading, writing, speaking, listening and pronunciation.
  • Simplify English Grammar. Simplify complex English grammar concepts for English Language learners.
  • Plan Lessons. It will teach you how to deliver effective lessons that meet objectives and aims in the classroom. (This is not required for IQBar but is definitely beneficial to have).
  • Manage a classroom. Manage a classroom and student behaviour to facilitate an organised and welcoming environment to the learners.
  • Identify different learning styles. You will learn how to adapt your lessons to meet each students needs with the classroom
  • Build effective learning materials. Be able to research, find and adapt different learning materials both text based and digitally, and use them effectively during lessons.

So as you can see the TEFL course and obtaining the qualification is such a big advantage, adding many beneficial points to your resume. I have not regretted my decision of setting out to become TEFL certified.

TEFL really opens up so many doors career-wise. Not only can you work as a teacher and be qualified to do so in many different countries but you can also write English Foreign Language materials, work in an EFL publishing house, be a social leader for EFL summer camps or become involved in management in an EFL school – these to only name a few. So even if you start out as a teacher, you may end up in a completely different position but still remaining in the field of education.

A last bit of advice is to make sure you are doing your course through a reputable company. Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding on a course:

1.             Is the course at least 120 hours?

2.             Are the tutors qualified?

3.             Is the course accredited (not all courses are accredited)?

4.             What are people saying in the reviews?

5.             Is the course price suspiciously low?

I hope this gives you more insight to what TEFL is and what the TEFL course entails. It is truly an amazing aspect to add to your teaching career as well as your resume. You definitely won’t be disappointed that you’ve taken the step to opening up so many different doors for yourself and your career. It is a great addition to your qualifications and it allows for many different opportunities to come flooding your way. So make sure to get involved in the world of TEFL.

Happy Teaching!

Written by Rose Barbosa, a South African based Buddy and Blogger at IQBar