Chalkboard is i-to-i's TEFL community.
It is currently still in testing phase which could mean you find the odd bug!
Q: What is i-to-i Chalkboard? A: It's the online community of TEFL specialists
So you're thinking about getting TEFL certified, but will an online course really cut the mustard, or is it not worth the paper it's written on? Read on to find out!
There's a lot of debate around online TEFL courses. Are they as good as classroom TEFL courses? Do language schools accept them? And will they prepare you for a life of teaching English abroad? The truth is; they have their pros and their cons – just like classroom TEFL courses. For some people, they'll be ideal and for others, they'll be wrong. You'll have to weigh up the pros and cons and decide if an online TEFL course is right for you.
So do you want the good news or the bad news? Good, you say? Here we go then!
Fit your course around your life
Whether you're working your notice or running around planning your travels, you can fit an online TEFL course around you. Most can be spread over six months, which allows you to do a little every now and then until you've completed your course. Of course, if you've got a lot of time on your hands, you could complete the whole course in just over a week!
Study on the go
One of the best things about an online TEFL course is that you can do it from anywhere in the world – just as long as you've got an internet connection. So if you live out in the sticks or decide to teach after you've set off on your travels, you can still get certified.
A qualification that counts
It's an online course, but that doesn't make it any less respected. As long as your course is from a reputable provider who's accredited by an independent body, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a job. You'll get the same training and the same qualification, so you can apply for the same TEFL jobs and still be in with a fighting chance.
Online TEFL courses give you the opportunity to explore subjects at your own pace. Many often include links to supplementary resources meaning you can get a solid understanding of every area of TEFL. This is the ideal foundation on which to base your teaching and will be invaluable when you start your TEFL job.
Professional support from people who've done it
Never underestimate just how useful an online tutor can be. They're there to answer your questions, give you constructive feedback and motivate you. So even if you lock yourself away with your laptop, you'll never be alone.
A little extra cash in your pocket
That's right, online TEFL courses are usually cheaper than classroom TEFL courses. Plus, you'll save money on travel too. And you know what that means – you'll have that little bit extra to spend while you're out there teaching!
Self-motivation is a must
The important thing to remember about online TEFL courses is that if you aren't motivated, you just won't do it. There's nobody to remind you or push you to get it done, it's all on you. If you're the kind of person who procrastinates, this could mean trouble! On the other hand, if you can sit down and motivate yourself, you shouldn't have a problem.
Experience not included
An online TEFL course is great for developing the skills you need to teach English abroad and by the end of the course you'll be ready to start teaching. What it doesn't give you is the opportunity to practice those skills. Combining your online course with a classroom course can solve this problem or if you have some spare time and money, volunteer teaching can really add to your resume.
Friends come later
When you take a classroom TEFL course, you'll meet loads of new people, but when you do an online TEFL course, it's just you and your computer. Whether or not this is a problem depends on what you want from your course. If you're simply looking for a qualification to get out there and teach, then it really doesn't matter. But if you're after something more social, a classroom course is a better choice.