An interview with Bruce Veldhuisen of TEFL International

This interview was conducted by email over the last week or so, with me submitting the main outline and then asking a few follow up questions when the main answers came back. My questions are in bold, and the follow up questions and answers are in italics.

1. A brief history of your career
This was covered in a recent interview in the BKK Post but here it is again:

I began life in a completely different field—selling industrial equipment and negotiating Joint Ventures in China.  When the company I worked for had a problem with our customer in China, I was sent to Hong Kong to resolve it.
When the company went under, I was somewhat abandoned in Hong Kong.

The job market back home was not that good (and my field was very specialized) so I thought I would look for a job in Hong Kong.  A friend suggested I teach English to earn some money to pay the rent.

Before long I was teaching full time and loving it!  I then started opening small schools around Hong Kong.  But after several years I was burned out.  Married by then with a small child, we decided to move to Thailand.  Soon afterwards I decided to pen up a TESOL course.  The main purpose was to find and train qualified teachers for the schools in Hong Kong!  But after some initial success I decided to expand.

2.    A brief history of TEFL International, the secret of its success and the principles behind it

Started out as a Trinity course.  After some differences of opinion with the CE of Trinity at the time, we became independent on 1 Jan 2000.  As a small, newly independent school, I decided that the only way we could credibly tell our students that our course was internationally recognized was to be truly international.  Thus, the rapid expansion.

3.    A list of some of the things that TEFL International does now
·         TESOL Courses
·         Volunteer Programs
·         Guaranteed Jobs programs
·         Teacher Training for local teachers (usually through the Thai Ministry of Education)
·         Teach/learn language programs
·         Teach/Intern programs

4. Can you give some details of TI’s charity/non-profit status and structure

First of all, we do not need to be a non-profit.  We could avoid all taxes by moving our base to some offshore tax shelter.  And it’s not like I enjoy having all of our accounts (including my salary) available to the public.  But we work with universities and universities feel better working with a non profit than a for profit.  Plus, we do a lot of things that non profits do like real volunteer work and assistance for the less fortunate.

I do not know a lot about US tax laws (which are extremely complex).  But every year we have to hire a special accountant to do our taxes and submit them to the IRS to ensure we continue to meet US non-profit status.

Does that mean that each part of TI is a charity or part of the same charity, or that some parts are profit making enterprises and only the “parent” and therefore the fees they pay to it are under non-profit rules (the latter is how International House , for instance, works)?

The centers that are independently owned (like Phuket) are not non profits and we note that on the bottom of each site page of our website (www.teflintl.com)

Do you think some people who hear you do volunteer programs and that you are non-profit might be surprised that you are not a purely charitable organization like Save the Children?

Some people may be surprised.  But we do mention the difference on the website and I think most people see the difference in what we do—providing a product vs “pure” charity work.

5.    TI’s partners- agents, franchises? etc.

We have two major agents that recruit a majority of our students; ITTC and TEFL Course International.  Along with our internal recruiting that accounts for 95 percent of our students.  We also have a few smaller agents out there that contribute a handful of students per month.

Partners?  We have a lot.  How do you define a partner?

Franchises:  We have never “sold” a franchise.  The closest we have ever come to that is allowing schools to join as partners.  We have allowed some schools to join us if they are looking for an international organization and are willing to follow our rules.  Anyway, all income goes through our US account—not sure why there is this thing about franchises and the non profit.  Cambridge ESOL, who administers the CELTA, is also a non profit and they are ALL franchises!

If it’s any consolation, the British Council and International House get just as much stick for being non-profit organizations that have parts of their work that look like and/ or compete with private companies.

Can you see how some people might see a non-profit having agents as strange? (I’m guessing Oxfam and the UNHCR don’t work through agents, although with the heavy sell charity guys with clipboards in London I could be wrong…)

The fact is we get no grant money and no government subsidies.  If we sat around waiting for money to drop down from heaven we would have been out of business long ago.  So we must act as a profit-making company that simply does not earn a profit.

6.    Your own position and day to day duties in TI

My only job is to look for the future.  The day-to-day takes care of itself with Dave on the Academic side of things and our admin team taking care of the rest.  My job is to find things that keep us different and always changing.

7.    Any other organizations, businesses or people you personally have a role in or close relationship with, and any connections to TI

I still own 50 percent of my old schools in Hong Kong but I have no real responsibilities there.

I am working on running a car restoration business (more for fun than anything else) but it is going slowly…

8.    Same two questions as above for who you would define as the other two top people in TI and/ or who you would define as the top people in a couple of countries

Dave Hopkins is our Academic Director.

Mike Fitzgerald wears a number of hats but one of them is ensuring that all schools comply with validation rules.

Fritzie Doronio is head of admin and handles the day-to-day communications—both internal and external.

My wife, Siriluck, who handles all the legalities of working in Thailand.  The REASON why we are one of the only three courses in Thailand approved to run the course by the MOE.

Of course, every center has a Lead Trainer and Course Administrator.

It might be just being in Japan that makes me ask this, but what I’m trying to get at is- Are there any companies that TI pays money to that are owned by people who also work for TI, e.g. is anyone a landlord of a property that TI pays rent to?

US law prohibits me from being a subcontractor and “benefitting” from the non profit.  Is that what you are getting at?

It was, and you have answered the question very clearly, thanks.

9.  TI and the Internet

-How you use it

Mostly to advertise.  The internet was and remains the key to our success.  We began just as it became THE method of finding work as a teacher.

-How your critics use it

In my opinion, the few (and it really is FEW) unhappy campers out there use it to do anything, ethically or unethically, to destroy our credibility.

-Whether and how both could be improved

I have always said to our critics, if we are not being fair and accurate in our advertising, bring up the specifics and we can change it.  The only thing that has ever really come from that offer is our policy of posting “course + guaranteed job” programs in the Jobs Available section of some major websites.  A few people think this is unethical.  We disagree.

How the internet could be improved?  Webmasters, Bloggers, do not allow unsubstantiated rumor and outright lies to be posted on your site.  Even if you admit it is unsubstantiated, the next site will quote yours as “evidence” that the claims are true.  Pretty soon someone will say they must be true because they read the same thing on 5 different sites.  That is simply unfair, especially when the claims are personal in nature.  Do you really need hits that badly?

I don’t think many people do it just for hits. I think they feel powerless and are not in the position to be able to spend the time and money that journalistic standards of proof would demand- hardly surprising when the Guardian never does investigative reporting on TEFL and the EL Gazette is absolutely swamped with potential stories.

The position with TEFL International and several other organizations at the moment is that if you do a simple Google search very few if any of the hits will bring up sites where there is an independent point of view, whereas if you did the same with the name of a hotel or electronic product only one or two results would be directly connected to the hotel company or manufacturer. Don’t you think that is a slightly unhealthy position to be in that perhaps explains some of the hysterical reactions and “no smoke without fire” beliefs?

I can’t speak for the industry as a whole.  All I know is we attempt to be very transparent in the way we operate.  We are members in good standing with the Better Business Bureau with a link to their site right on our website.  If you contact them they will tell you we have had nine complaints in our entire history and all of them have been successfully resolved.  We even have all of our end-of-course feedback online, unedited.  As far as I know, we were the first and remain the only course that does this..

-Your take on the TEFLWatch story

TEFLWatch was a flawed idea from the beginning.  Their concept was that the teacher was always right and, therefore,  the schools were always wrong.  How can a site like that have any credibility?  There must be situations where the school is right and the teacher wrong, even if it is just 1 in 50.

But, for me, my involvement with TEFLWatch began when I shouldn’t have gotten involved in a business deal with a person that I now believe cheated me in many ways. When the whole thing fell apart, this person and his associates used TEFLWatch as a weapon against me.  For nearly a year, a small group of individuals, none of whom were actually our course graduates, used multiple usernames to attack me, the company, our courses, and even my family.

There were a few legitimate complaints aired.  But the legitimate complaints could be counted on one hand, and our staff had done their best to resolve these complaints while still meeting our international and professional standards.  The rest were over 100 pages of baseless, unsubstantiated attacks.

Just when I thought the misinformation and attacks were bad, they took a turn for the worse.  The owner and chief moderator of the website made wild and personally damaging accusations.  He claimed that I got him fired from his job and that he fled the country in fear.  This was so over the top I was stunned.  I had no idea who he was, where he lived or where he worked but suddenly I was being publicly accused of getting the guy fired.  And people posting on the website seemed to believe him.

I was just getting to the point where I felt like something had to be done when everything about TEFL International disappeared from the site.  Conspiracy theories were everywhere.  But according to the owner, he said he had been holding me to a higher standard than anyone could possibly attain and realized that the dispute was a commercial one, not one involving teachers and lack of pay.

I think a site like TEFLWatch is great but I think it needs to be fair and well moderated—a way of resolving disputes not just airing (sometimes baseless) accusations would be a vast improvement. Mike FitzGerald mentioned one of his trainees in China recently used a site called ESLjudge, which took the teacher complaint to the school for a response, and then submitted it to three impartial legal arbitrators. I think a site like that has more credibility and helps teachers better than unsubstantiated angry personal attacks disguised as public truth on something like TEFLWatch.

11. TI and other teacher training organisations and qualifications

- How they compare, e.g. In syllabus, being checked by outside bodies, attitudes to changes in teaching theory, practicality, qualifications of trainers, being accepted by schools

We were a Trinity course and retain the same basic course outline, although we have added to it as our Academic Director has been training teachers for over 35 years on five continents. Our course moderation is better though.  We realized our clients had to pay more by flying UK moderators across the planet every month. So we set up a qualifying process that does an even better job at quality course control. Things like posting feedback publicly, or having experienced moderators that know a location’s region. As you may know, teaching 70 primary kids in kindergarten is different from working on an English camp in Spain. TI’s regional moderators know this.

Good trainers are hard to find, but we stipulate that TEFL Int’l trainers have over five years in the industry and post-certificate qualifications. Although school acceptance could be easier, because most schools just assume that any good certificate must be Trinity or CELTA. However, since we now train more teachers annually than Trinity and have been in the business for over a decade on almost every continent, our certificates are very internationally-recognized. We have people in the company that are hired only to maintain the standards of our certificates and communicate with schools for our grads.

I would say we are even better than Trinity and CELTA in many ways. For example, our PELT courses allow working teachers to get qualified to the same standards with one week on-site training and using their existing teaching to meet all our criteria. This is something CELTA and Trinity don’t do and yet there are many teachers that can’t give up a whole month. Our Special Asian programs allow four-month practicum teaching which gives even more hands-on and observed teaching. The only criteria we don’t have that the other two have, is our Board of Academic Advisors doesn’t meet on a regular basis. But you can well understand the logistical difficulties with 25 global locations having a regional moderator visiting in week four, and the differences in time zones and course timetables. But we have a BOAA coordinator that updates moderators on anything important.

Obviously CELTA is the big name out there but I think our expansion has allowed us to become widely known, given our grads fair opportunity to get jobs around the world, and take the teacher training industry to new innovations that are definite improvements.

-Others you would recommend, e.g. ones you accept when employing teachers

I think ANY training is better than no training and ANY course that has 120 hours + 6 hours of Observed Teaching Practice is a legitimate TESOL certificate course.  Some are obviously better than others, though. Keep in mind we don’t often hire teachers. We are a teacher training institute, not language schools like EF English First or International House. We do help place teachers though, and I’d have to say I’d recommend our certificates.

-Ones you wouldn’t

Some online courses and courses without observed teaching practice. However, we have developed an on-line course that allows on-site observed teaching practice.

- The future for the TEFLCert industry, e.g. the chances of exam boards working together to set and ensure standards

If you talk to CELTA / Trinity, you’ll find they have dominated the industry and set the standards for the last 40 years, and feel they should continue to be at the helm. No one agrees more than I that the industry needs a framework to abide by. Our mission is to “help the world communicate better”, which requires good teachers and solid standards. But what makes me angry is when everyone questions improvements to the industry because they think only two organizations should be able to make the rules and framework. That’s not how the future of other industries work, or learning in general, right?

- Online training

Valuable to a point.  But do you start driving after reading the drivers manual? Learning via internet is growing in popularity. But teacher training is still that – physical training. So any good on-line course will provide consistent and experienced guidance throughout, and yet allow the trainee to get hands-on practice. TI realizes this importance and so created www.bestteflcourse.com to provide this type of on-line training.

11.  Thailand
- Who would suit working and/ or living in Thailand

Someone who can literally say “sabai sabai” and not get stressed out by the sometimes arbitrary way things work here. Our head office and first course is in Thailand, so we have over a decade of the infrastructure needed to help someone learn the Thai way of being relaxed. We help lots of trainees that come here with a more western attitude to adapt to the stress of living in a different culture. That’s one reason we have such an excellent relationship with the MOE and have been able to expand to north and south Thailand.

- The difficulties of doing business in Thailand

The bureaucracy and the “long timers” who tend to be the biggest wingers you have ever met in your life! (see ajarn.com discussion forum!).  I mean really, if you hate it so much, why have you been here 10 years?
12. Misc
- The advantages and disadvantages of being an organisation with a recognizable face

When I started TEFL International I never thought I would become so well known.  I suppose one positive is that people know who ultimately can make a decision.  Another positive is all the good you can do with a recognizable face in education. One reason I feel I am a very well-rounded person is because I left the States and lived abroad. This taught me a lot about tolerance, charity and integrity. I’ve seen these traits develop again and again with my staff and my clients. When TI became so big, I didn’t continue to pursue expansion for monetary gain, but because I knew I was making a difference in so many people’s lives: Americans that may not get another chance to see other communities, or children that could use more native speakers. In reality, it is this charitable outlook that drives me, not monopolizing an industry like many of the bloggers out there make me out to be.

The negatives are all the personal attacks—not only on myself but on my family and staff .  Being called names, and having people I don’t know assume these names have facts behind them because “it’s on the internet”.

- Some examples of times you have had legitimate complaints or criticism and have made changes

It happens all the time.  We read the end-of-course feedback.  If a trainer or location is getting more than a bit of negative feedback they are told and asked to improve.  In fact, because the center also sees the feedback, they don’t have to be told to make changes, but rather can see in what area they are weak. For example, we saw a few complaints regarding our course location in France last year. Mauzac, the location, was an absolutely beautiful and peaceful region which we advertised as a rural experience. Some trainees loved the location (mainly older grads), but we noticed in the on-line feedback that many found a lack of nightlife available. So, we moved the location a few months ago. Of course, when you make big changes like that internet posters will assume there must be something very wrong with your courses. Nonsense, it’s quality improvements based on client feedback. We only get better thanks to our clients. Generally the feedback is quite good. You can see it at: LINK BROKEN

We also give refunds and discounts if we screw up.  Two examples would be France where we had to give discounts to an entire course when the trainer was behaving inappropriately.  Some people wanted full refunds and airfare reimbursement.  I responded that I would have considered a full refund if they had walked out on the course half way through.  But they took the full course and got their certs so we gave them $300 discount, and most were happy with that. Of course, we immediately fired the trainer too.

A second example was one of the few legitimate complaints that came up on TEFLWatch.  A couple arrived in France and had a bad experience.  The normal meeting point (an internet café) was closed and the taxi driver got lost.  When they finally arrived they could not get any food.  Jet lagged, frustrated and unhappy, they decided to leave the course.  The rest of the people stayed and they had a good experience, but I decided that, under the circumstances, we would offer this couple a refund of their fees.  And they still complained.

Many thanks for Bruce for taking the time to answer his critics- if it had been me I would’ve just let them get on with it! I’ll give you one week to comment, and then will make a final decision on whether to take Bruce off the TEFLtastic Blacklist of Shame Guardian Watch 3.

UPDATE

Links to later interviews covering points raised in the comments section etc:

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

And click on the TEFL International category below for numerous other posts on TI.

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43 Responses to An interview with Bruce Veldhuisen of TEFL International

  1. Bruce says:

    Thank you for allowing me to air my side of things, Alex. When you have been the target of an organized attack like I have, you tend to become less willing to just “let it lie”.

    Are we perfect? Certainly not. But are we deserving of some kind of “Shame” award? Then all courses are guilty.

  2. LDMA says:

    Whingers? You cheeky sod Bruce! lol…

  3. TW says:

    Ah, Brucey, Brucey, Brucey. Why the lies?

    You said that you didn’t know who I was or any information about me. That is an utter lie. I have an message from LDMA, the administrator of Ajarn Forum where he says that you contacted him to get more information about me. He said that you knew my name and where I worked and were looking to get the police to arrest me. You even admitted this to people you have met since then.

    I also have an email from you where you admit to contacting my school…and the email was dated within a day or two of my leaving Thailand.

    I had a bonafide fear. Since you had thrown police charges against several people who disagreed with you…..(FYI to other readers, defamation, even if it’s true, is against Thai law, but luckily the police have thrown out all of his complaints)….I felt that I had to take prudent measures to protect me and my family.

    I didn’t say the dispute on the site was only a commercial dispute. There are teachers who haven’t gotten their pay yet. There are teachers who you still owe money too. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be resolved the way it was. I have an email saying that you would pay one of the most vocal teachers the pay that you owe him once the existing posts were taken down. 6 months on, “Happy” is still waiting for his pay.

    Finally, I think it should be noted that ESLJudge is a site connected with Bruce and TEFL International.

    Alex, I am curious if you are willing to have an interview with me over the TI debacle? There are at least two side to every story. My opinions were based on hearing both sides to the story. Bruce’s business practices are truly atrocious.

  4. Bruce says:

    Greg, he told me AFTER you made the accusations. It was only AFTER you claimed I got you fired that I desperately begged LDMA to tell me who you were and where you were. He told me your name. It wasn’t very helpful but he did as much as he felt he could. Someone else told me… “contact ECC EDITED.” That is an absolute fact. And it was a few days after you made your public claim that I finally knew the name EDITED and that you were in EDITED.

    I would swear before God that this is true. I also have witnesses, like LDMA and my staff in EDITED.

    http://teflblacklist.blogspot.com/2007/11/tefl-international.html Please tell me if any of this looks familiar.

    There are some things we will always disagree on, we know that. And unfortunately, because TW is still quoted on several websites and some of your old posts you made are still out there (that really are filled with lies, at least in my opinion) I am still stuck defending myself.

    As for your accusations that there are “teachers” out there that have not been paid, you know perfectly well that I have publicly offered to pay EDITED (and he is the only one) everything he feels he is owed IF he will submit to binding arbitration and then, after it is proven by a third party that he is in the wrong, he will publicly admit it. So why does he refuse this very generous offer? He gets the money either way. We both know I owe him nothing and you have publicly admitted this as well. Making this accusation now shows how disingenuous you are. Sad, really. I know you can be better than that.

    Sorry if I am a “tall poppy”. If you have anything of substance, and we both know you don’t, I suggest you immediately take it to the BBB. if you feel I have done anything illegal, do the obvious thing and go to the police. When a few guys cheated me that’s what I did and things will be resolved in the courts. It has nothing to do with punishing people who do not agree with me. Its about breaking laws–things like fraud–stealing money–not libel.

    In the end I can only feel frustrated. Like Alex said in his other post, logic just seems to anger the wild accusers.

  5. Fike2308 says:

    “Finally, I think it should be noted that ESLJudge is a site connected with Bruce and TEFL International. ”

    I knew it!

  6. Alex Case says:

    Bruce

    As hopefully came across in my other post, my idea was that people’s anger should be met first of all with understanding, not the attitude of “look at these f**kwits that I have to deal with” (“frustration” in your actual words) that sometimes comes through despite your best attempts at politeness and calm

  7. Alex Case says:

    I would like to see any evidence anyone has about ESLJudge, or at the very least their reasons for believing what they do, as I’ve been wondering about it for a while.

  8. freedom fighter says:

    Yet again Bruce is the victim. People calling him names etc etc. You make us sick Bruce. What about your many childish claims of “beastiality” against those who stood up to you? Name calling is what YOU do Bruce, so give it a rest and start acting like a mature CEO.

    I’m curious that you think that everyone is lying about you and that you are the one telling the truth. Was it a lie to say you were resigning from the Tefl Industry? Were you lying when you said you were accredited by an independent authority – IATQUO (the company you set up)? How about the association with the University of Washington? There are lots more Brucey.

    You say subcontracting is illegal for TI yet you farm your grads out to Innovative Solutions who make a finders fee. Innovative Solutions is part of TI… no, it IS TI, just a different name. Are you lying about subcontracting?

    Tell everyone how your post grad feedback works. Tell everyone that they post their feedback way BEFORE they get their certificate. No-one wants to badmouth a company when they are waiting on their certificate, in fact they don’t get that certificate until after they have completed a contract for TI through Innovative Solutions. You’re not lying about TI being unique in doing this, no-one else has to gall to try it.

    I have so much more to say but wonder if even this will be allowed to remain post.

    Freedom Fighter.

  9. TW says:

    About ESLJudge.com, here is Bruce’s answer to my accusation posted here:

    YEP! I helped the guy set it up and it is WORKING. It HELPS teachers with disputes.

    I think Bruce will quickly admit on here, as well, that he helped to set up ESLJudge.com.

    And Bruce, why did you publicly post that you had taken screenshots of posts made on TW to take to the police to file defamation charges? I am sure we can find those posts someplace.

  10. vince says:

    He keeps crowing about the 6 hours observed teaching practice, but doesn’t mention that, for one of those hours, there is no actual qualified observer. You are being video taped and you observe YOURSELF later. (Don’t worry, you’re qualified!) Also, it’s not really SIX hours. The classes are only 50 minutes long, and by the time you arrive and get set up and the students are settled, you’re talking 40 minutes.

    So maybe, just maybe, this is a corruption of the requirement that there be an experienced observer in the room WITH the trainee for six full hours of class time. This is an example of what happens when you compare a certain person’s high sounding standards to what actually goes on. About 5 hours of actual teaching and less than 4 hours with a trained observer in the room is the reality of it.

    I have had personal experience with TEFL Int. It is a vastly overpriced course at best and at worst an absolute travesty.

    You look at the website and it is all warm and fuzzy, but believe me it is all twisted words. I took the course a few years ago. The promised job placement assistance never materialized. Of all the touted extras like the “Survival Thai” language lessons, Thai cooking lessons, etc., only the “Corporate EnglishTeaching Seminar” (which consisted of about an hour rant followed by questions) surfaced after MANY complaints by the paying trainees.

    Instead there were drunken fights and pot smoking on the premises and the all night Karaoke joints across the street blasted music until 4 in the morning. Believe me, they won’t tell you anything about this and will certainly deny all if you ask.

    Let me bore you with some more details about the touted “life-time job placement assistance”. After taking the course, I saw TEFL Int. had an ad on ajarn.com… “Our course has been approved by Nike Corporation and we have jobs working for them and other corporations that need English instructors for their employees. Top salaries and benefits. Etc. etc.” Two other alumni and myself emailed the given address and identified ourselves as grads and asked about these jobs. We were COMPLETELY IGNORED by TEFL Int. and the message was clear: “We already have your money so PISS OFF.” The Nike jobs were only for luring new sheep to the slaughter.

    The operator of this web of lies and confusion is a megalomaniac who doesn’t know truth from fiction. I was back in the area (Ban Phe) a while ago, and I stopped in to check it out. I pretended to be “interested in taking the course”. (wink wink) Of course no one recognized me, even though some of the staff members were there when I was. Believe me, you are only another mark to con money out of in their eyes. Anyway…

    NOT A THING HAS CHANGED!!! From the four broken down computers for, get this, SIXTEEN OR MORE students to the holes in the table cloths and seedy surroundings. NOTHING HAS CHANGED! Not even a coat of paint!

    If you do the math on what they charge per student and multiply times 10 or so courses a year, you see that this is a MULTI-MILLION BAHT operation, however, we were taken to our teaching practice in the backs of rusted out, broken down, open pickup trucks… 20 kilometers or more in the heat and dust, where, on arrival, we were expected to jump out daisy fresh and start our teaching practice.

    One truck HAD NO REVERSE and the course participants had to help push it backwards to turn it around and go home. The other one, the driver worked the clutch with a CROWBAR through a HOLE IN THE FLOOR. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!!! The brakes on both trucks squealed loudly and I am sure they were long past the need for new pads and maintenance.

    That is what you’ll get for your US$1,600 ++ tuition. It will end up costing you at least US$2000 by the time the month is up.

    The owner is crooked and no one will convince me otherwise. He mealy mouths and twists words like OJ’s defense team.

    Another example: there were two classes of 16 students attending this one-month course. 32 people jammed into this tiny building which would be crowded with half that many. Indeed, it was only the greed of the owner who, after having received a large number of requests for the same month, decided to have a ‘’double class’’. REDICULOUS!

    One of the two groups of 16 (not mine, thank heavens) had to do their “observed teaching practice” only TEN DAYS into the course! Many objected saying, quite rightly, that they were unprepared to step in front of a class since they had not finished the course. Everyone had thought that they would complete the course on how to teach BEFORE they would be put in front of real students.

    “Oh, it’s OK.” Says Bruce. “The requirement only says you have to have six hours of observed teaching practice, it doesn’t say WHEN you should have them.” Of course it doesn’t say “when” because only a total ass would think that sending half trained people to “teach” in front of unsuspecting students was “OK”. How could the so-called observers evaluate these trainees? Wouldn’t they improve and have different insights if they were allowed to complete the course before being evaluated?

    The point of the whole thing is to FIRST learn the methods and practices of proper classroom demeanor FOR 120 HOURS and THEN try them out in front of real students and an EXPERIENCED OBSERVER who critiques you and helps you PERFECT WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED? My God man, that’s only common sense! Well, common sense and a lot of other things fly out the window when money is involved at TEFL Int.

    Oh yeah, the owner’s wife, two instructor trainees, and an office girl were a part of our so-called “experienced observer” team. Clearly they were under staffed and were dragging people in from everywhere to try and cover it up.

    So Bruce can go on all he wants about how wunnerful his course is; but, from what I’ve seen, it’s a crock.

    vince

  11. Alex Case says:

    I must say, this is all very depressing. Can’t we all agree to be nice, or at least just to ignore each other?

  12. derek hj says:

    Ales, sorry mate, but this ain’t doing your blog any good at all. Nobody cares about this bunch of weird people paying each other in baht and driving around in old pickup trucks. Imagine someone new to TEFL reading all this drivel – what kind of perception are they going to have?!

  13. Topper says:

    Alex, I never gave permission for my name to be used on this site. Personally I think its unethical to allow someone to post someones name in this manner. Could you please show me where I’ve agreed to allow personal information to be posted on this forum without my permission?

    TW,

    Let me help you summarize your comments:

    1. You fled Thailand in fear of Bruce.
    2. You’ve accused Topper/Bob Postak of being a shill.
    3. You’ve accused Topper/Bob Postak of taking money from Bruce.
    4. You’ve accused someone of being a pedophile.
    5. You’ve never had a TeakDoor account.
    6. Topper/Bob Postak is taking money from some Islamic school.
    7. People are sending threating emails about your family.
    8. Richard and I are working for Bruce.
    9. You’re still on the thing where you think LDMA gave Bruce your personal information.
    10. Who cares!

    Too funny Greg!!!! Just too funny. And you wonder why people point and laugh at you today!

    You’ve never admitted the whole Bruce/TI thing on TEFLWatch was only a plot to drive up interest in your site and thus revenue.

    You never have cared about Bruce or the teachers, just driving up traffic to your site. And now that your precious little site is gone, you still crave the limelight by making such outlandish claims.

    If you could have proved one of your claims, your website would probably still be open and you would have some sense of respectiblity. But alas, too many people caught on that you would say absolutely anything to garner attention.

    But thats just my opinion, I might be wrong!

  14. LDMA says:

    Oh boy, Alex…quite a can of worms you’ve re-opened up here matey!

  15. LDMA says:

    Just for the record.

    I did meet Bruce for a couple of beers when he came to visit Songkhla one time, and I felt at the time, that given that he was being slagged off so much by a bunch of anonymous people online, that giving him the name of TW’s owner balanced things out a bit. Since TW was no longer a strategic partner with Ajarn since Greg had severed ties with us 6 months previously I felt no obligation to protect his identity, although I didn’t do so out of any animosity to Greg. It just needed balancing out.

    I know nothing about phoned threats or anything else. He got a name and a vague area of Thailand that I thought he might be in. That’s all the info I gave him, and indeed knew.

    I also advised Greg to sort things out with him, as I was (and am still ) sick of this subject being thrashed out on Ajarn Forum. It was time for both parties to stop hiding and sort things out like gentlemen.

    That was my only involvement in this whole sorry mess, and will no longer have anything to do with any disputes arising from this matter.

    I personally have no beef with Bruce, and anecdotal evidence suggests that his course is as good as anyone elses.

  16. TW says:

    Topper aka EDITED, you made the following ten statements:

    1. You fled Thailand in fear of Bruce.

    Yes, I did. Fear is subjective. Do I have to prove that I had fear of Bruce? Or can you accept my word that I had fear of him.

    2. You’ve accused Topper/Bob Postak of being a shill.

    I think many people have accused you of being a shill.

    3. You’ve accused Topper/Bob Postak of taking money from Bruce.

    I didn’t accuse, just commented that you have been accused of it and well there seems to be some things that back it up.

    4. You’ve accused someone of being a pedophile.

    Yes I have. Do I need I prove that I have accused someone of it.

    5. You’ve never had a TeakDoor account.

    I do not have a Teak Door account. Without creating an account, there is no way I can log into that site and see many of the posts made against me.

    6. Topper/Bob Postak is taking money from some Islamic school.

    We had the testimony of someone on TW who posted that they saw you stopping by on several occasions getting envelopes of money. I guess it is your word against his.

    7. People are sending threating emails about your family.

    I have already reported the emails.

    8. Richard and I are working for Bruce.

    Are you working for Bruce? Bruce admitted in an email to me that he has personally talked to you on several occasions concerning the TW, but he expects us to take his word that it was nothing to having you go on your tirades. Maybe Bruce can set things straight for all of us as to the real reasons behind his phone calls with you.

    9. You’re still on the thing where you think LDMA gave Bruce your personal information.

    Did you read LDMA’s comment?

    10. Who cares!

    Obviously you do.

    For LDMA:
    I did thank you at the time and I will publicly thank you again for giving me a heads up. I think it wasn’t good that you gave out my personal information, but the fact that you did give me a heads up and let me have enough time to get out of Thailand was very helpful indeed.

  17. Dang says:

    Everyone needs to read teakdoor. Greg does not have a username there? Was that because he got banned for calling people pedophiles and everyones wife a whore? The guy is a JOKE. The reason his site is down is because his own mods began telling people what a liar he was.

  18. Caliman says:

    Maybe I can clear something up here.

    Not a lot, because I just know a bit. but what i do know seems valuable here.

    I spoke to Geg the day he was leaving for the US. He knows I was on a TEFL International program called STP but more on that later. Greg had said a lot of negaitve things about Bruce to me. me, I like Bruce and think he is a nice guy. Greg strikes me as a religious freak. not a bad guy but one I would never spend much time with–always pushing religion.

    Bruce called me in nakorn and i told him who Greg Woods was and where he worked. That was at least three days after greg had left. So Bruce certainly didn;t lose the guys job. he quit. And I find it queer that he never mentioned this fear of bruce at the time. Given his obvious hatred of the guy I would think he would want to tell me all about it, just like he told me all about every ohter of his perceived faults of Bruce.

    Greg also quoted me about my experience in the STP and claimed that I hated it. I spoke to Greg for 1 hour about the program and 55 minutes were about the positives. i spent 5 minutes telling him that when the van picked us up at the airport there was no room for everyone, and that was mainly because some people had packed so much you would have thought they were bringing everything they owned to thailand. His description of my feelings were very slanted by his hatred. I had, overall, a great time.

    For what its worth, I see some lies in these claims [EDITED]

  19. Alex Case says:

    Derek- you are so right, but not sure how to escape what I’ve started….

    This thread is not about TEFLWatch. Any more mention of anything not directly related to TEFL International will be deleted. Please also note that on WordPress the only way I can stop someone’s messages coming up automatically is by deleting all their previous messages. This means that (1) some comments will only be edited or deleted up to 24 hours later, because I have a life and only check my blog once a day, and (2) if anyone really steps over the line and I can’t trust them to comment any more without being checked by me each time, due to these technical reasons I will really have no choice but to delete all their previous comments

  20. Bruce says:

    I am only going to respond to Vince because I believe he is the only one with a legitimate complaint.

    Vince, I know exactly the course you participated in–it must have been Nov/Dec 2002. That was the month where the karaoke bars moved out to surround us. We complained to the police every day and, finally, not long after your course they moved out or moved inside where the noise did not disturb us.

    As a solution to the internet problem at our school we quit offering it! There are a few cafes near us now so it saves us the headaches.

    We do try new things on occasion, like video observations. We found it to be very helpful to some trainees and not helpful to others so we discontinued it.

    At no time has my wife ever been an official observer for a trainee. Never happened. We have employed recent grads to help with observations before. They are provided with training beforehand and given the checklist.

    In some TEFL courses you are expected to begin teaching on day ONE. We insist that you complete your Methodologies inputs first. There is no reason why TP cannot successfully begin at the end of week 1 and, in fact, some groups have said they prefer it as it “spreads things out” more instead of making the last week of the course so difficult.

    Sorry you did not enjoy the course. We try to make everyone happy but sometimes we are less than perfect and sometimes there is no pleasing someone. Overall, our end of course feedback remains quite good and is available, unedited, online. Unfortunately, Vince did not have an opportunity to participate as we have only had inline feedback for 2 years.

  21. Alex Case says:

    Having been a teacher trainer, I can comment on some of Vince’s comments (the rest of the comments on here I have not a clue about…)

    Watching a video of yourself is a very good way of reflecting on your own teaching, but if it was a CELTA it would be in addition to observed teaching practice, not instead of

    6 hours of observed teaching practice should indeed not be 6 x 50 minute lessons, but actually 6 hours. I don’t think the course can be blamed for wasting 10 minutes at the beginning of the lesson though!

    All courses get trainees into the classroom as soon as possible, as the input the trainers give you after makes more sense and seems more relevant once you have experience of what they are talking about

  22. Alex Case says:

    Topper- good point about the names, and I think I have now edited everytime that someone used anyone’s full name or other details that could give away their real identity. Please let me know if I have missed any.

  23. Freedom Fighter says:

    “I am only going to respond to Vince because I believe he is the only one with a legitimate complaint”.

    Because it’s the only legitimate complaint or because it’s the only one you can palm off?

    Try answering my questions without making bestiality claims or resorting to threats. Can you do that? I’m betting you either ignore them or do your usual trick of claiming you’ve already answered them.

    People can see what is typed and can judge for themselves who’s avoiding difficult questions; let’s see what you type.

    FYI, I am in no way connected to the TEFL Industry, I just watched how you shafted a friend, who worked hard for you and thought I’d help him fight back. The thing is Bruce, the more I uncovered about you the more I realized what type of person you are. I loath conmen and bullies… so does US law.

    FF.

  24. Bruce says:

    FreedomFighter, I have been through this with you for over a year. Every time I answer your questions, usually proving that they were completely baseless accusations, you just change the subject or ignore my answer. Sometimes you even refuse to acknowledge that I had answered (see teakdood.com).

    Here is my deal to you–send your questions to Alex. he has no association with me and is on the fence. He can then deem what questions are legitimate, ask me and I will respond.

    Then we are done, forever. Deal?

  25. Alex Case says:

    What Bruce has written is actually something I suggested to him this morning. He is going to do an interview Part Two, in which I will ask him to answer questions such as those people have posed above.

    If there are any questions you would like me to ask him, please email them to me in the next two or three days (see the Contact Me link on the main blog page). Please write everything you want to know as a question (not a statement of a fact as you know it), and please try to do so in as nice and even-sounding a way as you can. I have saved the three most recently submitted comments to be used in this way.

    As you will see from my recent posts, I’m not too confident about the truth coming out of the internet or even of us speaking the same language as each other, but as the TEFL forum genre has obviously failed in both of those I thought another approach might be worth a try.

  26. Mike says:

    I have recently posted on Alex’s interesting opinion piece (“culture clash”), regarding misinforming the public on internet forums by angry posters with a personal agenda. An example is Fike 2308 above – see the last post on Dave’s Cafe here for his “legitmate complaints”:

    http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=62460

    Vince above, is another example of how angry people can post misinformation which readers may accept without questioning the validity of the opinions. Let me show how Vince’s remarks are untruthful to the public by addressing his “legitmate complaints”.

    Teaching Practice:
    (1) “Trainees are video-taped and watch themselves”. Not true, if there are more trainees then we have available observers, trainees take a turn being video-taped and are given feedback with an experienced trainer (who also sees the video) later in the same day.
    (2) “Not 6 hours because classes are 50 minutes”. Again, wrong, Classes here are 60 minutes and 6-8 TPs. I can send any of our monthly TP schedules on request. They are indeed 60 minute classes. An exception is our Special Thai Program, where the number of participants is so high we don’t have enough time or students. This program is 4 TPs of around 45 minutes per class for trainees to gain the basic of classroom teaching. This is because participants must do an additional 300-400 hours of TP on placement.
    (3) “Trainees start TP only 10 days into the course”. As Alex has mentioned, trainers differ on opinion as to when trainees should start TP. But the majority (including me) say the sooner the better. Because very good training has you putting into practice what you learn in class. This is best done in weekly intervals rather than in blocks at the end of a program.
    (4) “The owner’s wife and an office girl were used as observers”. What are you nuts with this statement? Please provide proof of this, because I’ve never seen it in my three years at the office here in Ban Phe. All TEFL International observers have been trained up to provide solid feedback

    Job Placement:
    (1) Vince questions our “Lifetime Job Placement Assistance. We do provide all of our graduates with lifetime job guidance. Any TEFL International graduate can write our admin center, give their name and certificate number and upon confirmation as a graduate will be directed to the course administrator at any of our 25 locations worldwide for job search assistance. Our centers have job notice boards and our grad alumni site has the school addresses of 50,000 employers worldwide. Even our non-admin staff help graduates. Last week I know of two managers here in Ban Phe that personally helped three grads find work: a short-term job in Issan, and contact info for Spain and Korea for two other graduates. Would you like their emails? The Nike job placement was a reality for our Oregon Institute of International Education Program, which was a co-op placement program we began a few years back. We DID have placements at Nike – I know, I worked on the program.

    Ban Phe, Thailand premises:
    (1) “Thee were no touted extras.” Please read the print on the website regarding the “extra activities”, Vince. PADI Scuba, Thai cooking classes, meditation classes and survival Thai are “optional”. We don’t run them on a regular basis because often there is no demand. This is reiterated on our trainee notice board with more information on these activities. It also says anyone that wishes these activities, simply needs to ask any of our admin staff and they will set up them up. On the course before last we ran the Thai cooking classes as that group wanted them. Trainees also get survival Thai in their foreign language classes on the course.
    (2) All courses include a free day out and boat trip to Ko Samet Island the first weekend, and a night market shopping trip in week one. All graduates also get a free graduation dinner, and with most we do a free welcome dinner.
    (3) “Drunken fights and pot-smoking on the premises.’ Another blatant lie. We have signs throughout the school that state alcohol is not allowed on-site , and those found with drugs on-site will be prosecuted. We have a security service that works 24 hours, 7 days a week. There has never been an illegal or dangerous incident at this center in the three years I have been present.
    (4) “There are only four broken computers”. I just did a count, Vince. We actually have 10 stable PCs and most of the staff have laptops they use. Two of those computers were just sent in to be updated with the most recent Windows application. Three of these computers are strictly for trainees only.
    (6) “The transport is rusted out, broken down pick up truck with no reverse. I’m not making this up!” Yes, Vince you are making this up like a lot of yoru rant. TEFL International Ban Phe owns a 16-seat, air-con 2005 Toyota Commuter minivan which is used for all clients. The owner often uses both of his vehicles to transport customers. As a back up, we also have a 16-seater seangteaw which is the common type of group transportation in Thailand.

    (5) “I stopped in to check it out. I pretended to be “interested in taking the course”. (wink wink) Of course no one recognized me.” Vince, how much ful of crap are you here? I was here ion the office when you walked in and walked around the center. I was sitting in the office by the stair well, remember? You walked in and didn’t even approach the administrative staff, nor myself. When you wrote earlier emails saying you weren’t helped on a visit here, and we had a staff meeting – no one could figure out why some strange guy walked into the school, walked around, didn’t really talk to anyone, and then walked out.

    Multi-million dollar operation, that will cost you $2,000 by the end:
    (1) First of all, our courses are some of the lowest on the planet if you do your research. Thailand is not an expensive country and you can ask our grads how much they spend after their course fees have been paid. But I’m sure it’s not as much as you postulate, considering food costs between $1-$2 a meal in Ban Phe.
    (2) Anyone who has been involved in teacher training programs at the financial level will tell you that after overhead has been deducted, you only make a profit on courses that have 8 trainees or more. Factor into the fact that TEFL International has many more great expenses such as international marketing, innovative websites for grads, center visits, trainer-in-training costs, etc. You can well imagine that it is not the high-life you well imagine. You can also take into account that TEFL Int’l puts money into non-profit events like free teacher conferences, community relations like “clean-the-beach” and even ESL Judge.

    Speaking of ESL Judge, yes, TEFL International has provided financial backing to help set up the site. So what? ESL Judge has helped a few teachers in Korea and China who were ripped off by their employers and had no where to turn. Professional arbitrators with years of experience and some legal backgrounds have been brought together to help these teachers – which I believe is what many of the websites you post on were originally supposed to do (and now are simply arenas for sour people to rant on). Write the person that moderates ESL Judge and ask her to show you what help the site has done, and what influence TEFL Int’l has – which is sponsorship.

    I really believe if you have a legitimate complaint it shoud be addressed to te organization to be solved. If you feel they have not done the utmost to resolve the complaint, then post or seek other channals (liek ESL Judge or legal proceedings). I have never seen a TEFL Internaitonal complaint that the company has done it’s best to resolve.

    However, I have seen a few angry and aggressive personalities post many times (sometimes under different names) to bash a company and program / product to get attention, revenge or as an attempt to be creative. Some of those postings are outrageous lies in an attempt to misinofrm. I reiterate: Readers – check your sources in what you read, and find evidence that backs up opinions on the internet.

    Please email me mikef@teflintl.com should anyone have questions regarding posted complaints.

  27. TW says:

    I think you should be interviewing several different people, instead of just asking him the questions and letting him respond.

    The problem has never been that Bruce hasn’t had a chance to answer questions. He has had plenty of time, but Bruce wants to control the answers. He doesn’t want anyone else to comment on the answers and he doesn’t want anyone else to have their say.

    So either allow yourself to be used as a shill or interview Freedom Fighter, Happy, Me, and others. Let others have an equal footing. It is the truth that you want to get at, right?

  28. Bruce says:

    I am happy to deal with the complaints of TW and Happy right here.

    Happy claims that I was his employer and that I did not pay him. I contend that I was never his employer (because I bought a business that did not employ him although I planned to buy a school which did, but the sale fell through).

    Sounds complicated? it is. And I was willing to discuss this issue with him but he claimed he was going to sue me (which I welcomed because at least then the issue would be resolved).

    Happy never did sue me. he made up a lot of excuses why he could not.

    So here is what I offered Happy several months ago. I offered to hire a lawyer for him, and together with my lawyer, find a third. These three lawyers would then decide who was right and who was wrong.

    I offered to pay Happy what he believed he was owed regardless of the outcome. However, if the lawyers decided I was right then he had to publicly admit he was wrong and apologize. Happy has never accepted my offer. I hope I am not the only one who feels this is a complee vindication of my position.

    TW claims, without any proof or justification, that I got him fired from his job and that he fled Thailand in fear. Right in this thread we have apparent evidence that this claim is completely untrue. I can also state that I never got him fired (in fact I never even contacted his school) and never attempted to have him arrested. There are ongoing legal proceedings against a former business associate of mine, but these issues have nothing to do with TW. And while TW may believe whatever he wishes to believe, he should have at least some evidence before he goes making wild accusations. unfortunately he seems to have a habit of making wild accusations on a regular basis against any number of people. The list is quite long. if they disagree with TW they must be either a pedophile, or threatening his children, or trying to get him thrown in jail.

    FreedomFighter just simply asks and asks and asks. He never acknowledges a question as being answered. It ends up being pointless.

    These three and what caused the closing of the TEFLWatch site–a moderator realized these attacks were unsubstantiated and circular. When he brogutht this up with TW he was kicked off–and began a campaign against TEFLWatch and its owner. Lots of people can confirm this is being true

  29. TW says:

    I love you, Bruce. I care about you. I have nothing but love for you and your family, Bruce. You know that to be the truth. You know that we are brothers. My actions to end the discussion about TEFLWatch was motivated by one thing, my love for you.

    You can’t please all of the people all of the time. When you run a worldwide business that is McTEFL for all intent and purposes, you are going to upset the educational purists. You’re also going to upset competitors. You need a thick skin for that.

    I know you talked about going on your mission and then getting into fist fights with locals. I know that you have been referred to as attack Mormon by your Army buddies. I know you hold strong opinions and then you really lash out when people don’t agree.

    Open the June issue of Liahona, if you are active, you’ll have a copy of it. If not, you can go online to get it. Here is what Elder M. Russell Ballard has said about sharing things online:

    As you participate in this conversation and utilize the tools of New Media, remember who you are—you are Latter-day Saints. Remember as the Proverb states that “a soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). And remember that “contention is of the devil.” There is no need to argue or contend with others regarding our beliefs. There is no need to become defensive or belligerent. Our position is solid; the Church is true.

    While this may be talking about sharing the Gospel online, I think that Elder Ballard would agree that it is appropriate for all discussion online. When the truth is on your side, there is no need to be defensive or belligerent.

    I am not going to respond to the things that you have said about me. I am not going to go on and on about how you tried to get me fired. I already accepted your apology for your actions. Remember? I remember we both apologized to each other for the actions we did to each other.

    I don’t have to worry about anything I have said or posted, Bruce. It’s the truth and no amount of posting or jumping up and down will change the truth. Truth is the truth no matter if 1 person believes it or everyone believes it. You know what I am talking about.

    You need to move forward, Bruce. You need to talk about how you have taken people’s valid concerns to heart and are making positive changes for the future.

    Wouldn’t it be much better to deal with someone like Freedom Fighter or Vince or Whoever by saying “We have listened to their concerns and have attempted to make things better. We are always focused on providing a quality experience for our students.” (Is this a soft word????)

    That seems a lot easier than visiting every website and calling people a liar. (Are these greivous words??)

    You have recently been on Ajarn trying to defend your religion. Maybe this is the time right here and right now where you can show to everyone that you are heeding the words of one of your prophets.

  30. vince says:

    Mike,

    I have posted a truthful account of what happened when I took the course. You may have a shiny new vehicle today but everything I wrote about the pick-ups we rode in is true.

    Have you been there during a “double class” session? It wasn’t what I signed up for. There were major probs and general discontent. Frequent arguments and one major fight. Just too many rats in the cage.

    Oh you have a SIGN saying no drinking? That will do it. Sure sure. Please stop calling me a liar. The events I have described are true. You are asking people to believe that there has NEVER been a beer drunk, a joint smoked, or a discouraging word at TEFL Int., Ban Pae, EVER? Now who sounds like the are living in a fantasy world? How would you know? You have only been there three years out of what? 12?

    I still have the paperwork showing my 5 observed TP lessons were only 50 minutes long. That’s 4 hours and a few minutes. Plus one 50 minute video tape. Maybe you do things differently now but that was my experience.

    When I took the course, other courses were half the price. The extras were a big reason why I chose TI. At the time, there were no disclaimers about them being optional. The phrase used was “Plus you get…”

    I never wrote any emails about my visit or not being helped.

    If Bruce says his wife never observed a lesson, OK, I believe it. She just came along for a ride in the country. Seriously.

    I know for sure one of the observers was a trainee just like us who had taken the same course a few months earlier and had stayed on to work in the office. Had done some private tutoring but no real classroom teaching.

    Just look at the logistics of it: there were only two qualified teacher trainers. Dave and Steve. Because it was a double session, one of them had to stay behind to teach. There was a guy named Doug who had been through the course earlier and had taught a couple years in Japan. I don’t think he was qualified. Who were the other two qualified observers? No one knew where they came from. Guys Bruce keeps on the payroll just to work 3 days a month? Really?

    I was just trying to point out that the course I took was not worth the aggravation. Everyone could see that money grubbing was the reason 32 people were crammed into the building, There was a lot of things that weren’t completely thought out, right down to not having enough cassette players on hand. About six of us complained long and loud all through month so I was not alone.

    Put all this together with finding out that the IATS???, the supposed organization that moderated our high dollar course, was the invention of TEFL Int’s owner and its sole client, well, you might say the bloom was off the rose.

    Gotta go,
    V.

  31. ball.ard pinkerton says:

    This is so interesting.

  32. Alex Case says:

    Mike

    Every time you mention my other post you prove my point, which is that you have not, or perhaps even cannot, understand what I was trying to say because we are speaking two different languages. Still, let me make one last try:

    - Just about every time you post a comment on a TEFL forum or a blog like this, you write something that has the effect for the kinds of people who read and write there of making them more antagonistic towards you and makes the image of yourself and your organisation worse. As the PR man, surely you know that getting the right message to the right people is the important thing, and even if the facts you use are right (quite often there is no way of us to know that one way or another) that is certainly not generally the effect of your messages.

    For one example, re-read your message above and tell me if one person reading this blog is going to be more impressed by your new transport than they are going to be perturbed that a top manager from the organisation is online arguing about such trivia. If you don’t believe me, you are seriously misjudging your audience.

  33. Alex Case says:

    TW

    I can see theoretically how interviewing many people would help, and I would certainly do that if I was going to write a real article for the EL Gazette, but

    - I have already put too much time and effort into this subject, and it is beginning to bore me (I’m sure you of all people understand my feelings on this)

    - As the one thing people seem to agree on is that you can’t learn the truth from what info is out there, a new approach is obviously needed.

    - As blogging is an unpaid hobby (if there is any income from the Google ads, it goes to the owner of TEFL.net), if I don’t follow my own ideas and interests, it doesn’t get done…

    So, that is the way it is going to be. I will put the questions to Bruce, he will answer, and then you can post any proof you have that his answers are wrong afterwards.

    Two more days, if anyone else wants to send me questions to ask him.

  34. Bruce says:

    Re Alex and Vince vs Mike, I have to agree with Vince, at least 60 percent and 90 percent with Alex.

    The course in question was troublesome. Most of it was due to those stupid karaoke bars that opened next to us. One thing likethat can raise the stress level of people participating to a point where things that might otherwise seem inconsequential suddenly become really important–everything starts to bug them.

    On that particular course I believe we did have the trainees observe the video themselves and, for whatever reason, it did not seem to help them much, so we abandoned it.

    Our SongTaew company got fired because they kept sending us crappy old vehicles.

    Vince, some of what you say is just wrong, like the Nike internship. It was an INTERNSHIP and the pay was not great. Why you would claim otherwise is beyond me. But I have no idea why you were ignored. I can tell you we do continue to correspond. Try it out today–email admin and ask for help getting a job in…. China, Costa Rica, etc.

    And, lets face it, you made your time in Ban Phe seem as terrible as possible. Other than one TP that was only on video, and the 50-minute classes (a very standard practice around the world) what else was wrong with your COURSE? I am in constant contact with some people on your course today and, despite the fact that there were a few imperfections they enjoyed their experience very much.

  35. Bruce says:

    I wanted a special reply just for TW.

    First of all, thank you for forgiving me. I am certain that I have done things in the past that have offended you and possibly harmed you. I am a human being and I make mistakes. However, I simply cannot accept your forgiveness for contacting your school and having you fired. Nor can I accept your forgiveness for trying to throw you in jail. These things never happened and so they are things that i cannot be forgiven for.

    I would be happy to go to NST tomorrow and get sworn statements from your former school administrators and Geordie. Is that really what it would take to get you to drop the wild accusations?

    I am happy to admit, publicly, that TEFL International is an organization run by people and that people do make mistakes, myself included. We are not perfect, nor will we ever be perfect. We do our best, we keep the vast majority of our customers satisfied, some are unhappy. Luckily that is a very small number (percentage wise).

    Now, on to Happy. I forgive the guy. And he needs my forgiveness. He has continually accused me of something that I never did. Looking back, I should have just paid the guy, even though I did not owe him a dime. But that doesn’t mean that I was wrong IN THAT CASE. I don’t believe I was, but I am happy to allow courts and lawyers decide. Unfortunately, Happy refuses to participate.

    So, TW, I have no idea what you expect of me. I cannot change the truth. I did not get you fired. I did not attempt to get you arrested. I did not (and do not) owe Happy any money. I cannot change that any more than I can go back in time and make the karaoke bars be quiet and the songtaew to make less smoke for Vince.

  36. Alex Case says:

    Because, as I mentioned I am planning to ask those questions myself to Bruce in interview part two. If you would feel better emailing me the questions directly, then please do so. Some irrelevant comments in support of Bruce have also not yet been approved.

  37. TW says:

    Bruce, I see that you are still carrying on. Are you not able to heed the words of your very own prophet?

    You have privately asked for forgiveness and I have forgiven you. I do not know why you insisted on bringing the issues up time and time again. I am sorry, but you are not able to take back apology or is that what you are asking for?

    I have never said that I am certain that you got me fired. But I do know the threats you made publicly on TW against me and others. I do know that you obtained information on my real name and where I worked. Within mere days of your obtaining this information, I felt compelled to leave my job.

    I accepted you at your word that it didn’t happen and I accepted your apologies for making me think it did.

    My point on these comments is why you felt the need to rehash things against me and TW several months on. I think everyone here knows that this was put all to rest last December. Why did you feel the need to bring this all up again?

    You do what you want to do in the way of sworn affidavits. The truth(and the Caravan) marches on and isn’t stopped just because you throw a lot of paper at it.

    Contention is of the devil. You are contending with everyone, but you seem to be unwilling to take up the sword and shield of the truth…and put your faith in it.

    I guess it is for you to keep contending. Maybe you think this is something that you can win because you know how to carry on and on and can bloviate with the best of them.

    I love you, Bro. Veldhuisen and I ask that you learn from your mistakes and move forward.

  38. Tdol says:

    Bruce,
    The ESLJudge.com site has been up for several months now, yet the ‘Who Are We’ page is still blank. Here you say that you helped finance it in some way, though to what degree we don’t know. This does make the site look a bit grubby to me, especially when you did not mention your financial connection in the interview when talking about its credibility.

  39. Larry Ryan says:

    I was on the course with Vince, but don’t know if we were in the same group (there were 2). I had a room in the back side and had no problems with noise, but remember there were a couple of people facing the front that had problems with niose, but only a few nights if I remember. I only remember 2 computers for internet access, but there may have been 4, it wasn’t a big deal at the time. If there was any pot smoking “on site” then it was kept very low key and I never got wind of it (sorry for the pun), but there were a couple of people there that looked like they partied somewhere. Booze wasn’t allowed, but there was a place 100 meters down the road on the beach that was opened late and it was a regular meeting place at night. Bruce’s wife never did an observation on my group nor did any office girls. We did do the video and had to do a self evaluation. If you’ve never done a self evaluation I highly recommend it. I used a copy of mine to get my first job. I have 3 or 4 vcds of me teaching in Taiwan and will make a new one this year. There was one guy who was getting his advanced TEFL cert and was attending our classes and was receiving training in observing trainees. This was explained to us and I thought everyone was cool with it at the time. If there was a serious “physical” fights I don’t remember, but anytime you put a lot of strangers together in a new situation there are bound to be some spats. I’m not the most social person in the worlds, but I made some really good friends their and have stayed in touch with a couple. I made some really good friends there. What I found more valuable than the teaching practice (5 observed plus the taped one) was that we were in groups of 4 or so and got to observe others in our group. I was really impressed with the people I watched (Maybe Vince was one) and I learned something from everyone I watched. I don’t remember the trucks being in a paticularly bad state of repair and never had to push one, but there were different groups in different trucks. There were things I liked and things I didn’t, but on the whole I got what I was told I would get and have been able to compete favorably for good jobs. I never used the employment help, but haven’t had any problems getting good paying work. At the time of the course, I felt that there were only 2 courses that would prepare me for work and would allow me to compete for the better jobs. The first was CELTA and the second was with TEFL International and both were in the same price range. There were others that were cheaper, but I didn’t consider them as serious courses. Everything boils down to perceptions. 2 people can share an experience and have very different memories and each is true to that person.

  40. vekter says:

    Bruce,did you say that TI had never sold Franchises

    http://www.sebi.gov.in/dp/everonn.pdf

    pages 85/86/87 of the document not the pdf numbers

    Now I know Bruce will have time to think of some very good reasons why he never mentioned these and may even say they were set up as a charity or maybe he forgot them, well he could, but I also have the franchise agreement he used which makes no mention of a charity!I was reliably informed that he opened 60 of these, maybe more

    Bruce has lived his life telling lies and I think now is the time I let the truth come out……this is the start!

  41. Bruce says:

    [EDITED]

    Regarding the person who I believe cheated me–that issue will be resolved in court. Several criminal cases remain in the hands of the police. People who are inaccurately claiming that my police reports were ignored by the police will find that they are very much mistaken.

    Vekter, If you have any evidence I strongly suggest you keep it handy. The wheels of justice move slowly in Thailand but the are moving.

    And for the 5,000th time, I continue to offer Happy the following:

    1. Full payment of all money he believes he is owed
    2. Payment of all legal fees for binding arbitration

    He gains everything. He loses nothing. All he needs to is publicly admit the findings and apologize if he was wrong.

    [EDITED- along with all the other posts below that were basically about TEFLWatch. All comments that include proof for and against what Bruce said in the interview will stay, if in edited form. All other comments will be deleted at my discretion. I think we can all agree that we don't want TEFLtastic to turn into another TEFLWatch, or at least that we don't want it to have its final fate, so this is my attempt to ensure that]

  42. Bored says:

    Lets make this a “winner take all” question. If Bruce can successfully answer the franchise question, and he seems to be in a difficult position, he “wins” and we all agree vekter and his group are just a couple of sad sacks with an axe to grind.

    If Bruce cannot answer, then Ti and he are permanently in the Hall of Shame!

    Everyone agree?

  43. Pingback: When I dipped my toes, pt.1 | Diary of a Newbie CELTA Trainer

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