Spending 559 pounds on an online TEFL course from TEFLINK?

Then you are an idiot, because for a month they are offering it for the much more realistic price of 59 Euros on GroupOn – and that “original” price of 559 pounds is quite possibly only there so that they can offer the ridiculous discount of 92% on said site, meaning if they’ve actually taken that much off people for an online course it is just preying on their stupidity/ lack of knowledge of the industry. Something similar must be true of their 42-page grammar guide that was apparently originally priced at nearly a pound a page at 39 pounds 99 – which would make the much more professionally-produced new Oxford English Grammar Course’s 316 pages worth at least 300 quid!

Also,  you might want to reconsider having anything to do with this organisation at all because their website has all the signs of dodginess:

Name changes/ Can’t remember who they are

The top left of the “Why TEFLINK page” says “Why TEFL Cambridge”, a question which poses the question “Why don’t you even know your own name?”

Lies

“Once completed, our TEFLINK course fully prepares you to confidently complete the University of Cambridge ESOL Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) examination, an internationally recognised, prestigious and impressive qualification. It is your passport to a highly-respected and successful career in English Language Teaching.” (I’ve never seen a school specifically asking for the TKT – which you can take after reading a book on your own anyway – and you’d be much better off doing a four week TEFL course with observed teaching practice with anyone at all. Alternatively, maybe you could just avoid all cowboys by doing a Cambridge CELTA – which TEFLINK would surely approve of as they mention Cambridge so prominently and often on their site)

“the ultimate TEFL qualifications – the Master 140 hour TEFL Course Certificate.” (not sure what that s is doing at the end of “qualification”, but more importantly all purely online TEFL certs are at the very bottom of the pile when it comes to qualifications)

Ridiculous marketing/ Also probably lies

“wise professors” (Do they exist outside Harry Potter?) “esteemed professors” (By who, and is there any chance at all they are actual university professors?)

“internationally celebrated TEFLINK qualification” (DoS looking through CVs – “He’s got a TEFLINK qualification with no observed teaching practice! Hooray, crack open the champagne!” Also, I’d never heard the name in my life before – unsurprising if they just changed their name from TEFL Cambridge)

“We are the leading provider of TEFL training within Europe”/”We are the market leader; one of the foremost providers of TEFL training in Europe.”  (Quite apart from the contradictions, based on what statistics, and how could they even know?)

“state of the art methodology” (“We want you to use low teacher talking time, something developed by the CIA and still highly confidential. If you tell CELTA qualified teachers about this, we may have to kill you”)

“a fully accredited international organisation” (but no details on that accreditation, despite a whole page on the topic)

Have just emailed them to ask for explanations of some of the above.

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29 Responses to Spending 559 pounds on an online TEFL course from TEFLINK?

  1. Alex Case says:

    They’ve written back, but amazingly not answered a single one of my questions:

    “On 29/08/2012 02:25, Alexander Case wrote:

    Dear Sir or Madam

    I had a few questions about the information on your website.

    The top left of the “Why TEFLINK page” says “Why TEFL Cambridge”. Is this an old name of yours? If so, how well recognised can your TEFLINK name be by employers?

    “Once completed, our TEFLINK course fully prepares you to confidently complete the University of Cambridge ESOL Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) examination, an internationally recognised, prestigious and impressive qualification. It is your passport to a highly-respected and successful career in English Language Teaching.” Most TEFL job ads seem to ask for the Cambridge CELTA. Will I be able to apply for these jobs with your cert/ a TKT?

    “a fully accredited international organisation.” Your accreditation page only mentions Cambridge. Are you accredited by Cambridge?

    Also, are the professors actually professors?

    Thanks

    All the best

    Alex”

    “Hi Alexander

    Thank you for your enquiry into our excellent TEFLINK courses.

    TEFLINK courses are geared mainly for use in non-English speaking countries and can be used all over the world. If you are seeking work in South East Asia, South America or Africa you will find a TEFL qualification hugely beneficial.

    By completing the 140 hour Master TEFL Course you will not only gain a TEFLINK certificate but in addition you are fully prepared to sit the Cambridge ESOL Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) that will give you a further teaching qualification. This is an internationally recognised qualification and exams are offered worldwide.

    There is no one world governing body over TEFL course accreditation. There are several accrediting bodies and many TEFL training providers all across the world. What country are you interested in working in, does your employer state which accreditation from which accrediting body they are looking for? If you’d like to share your plans for Teaching English as a Foreign Language then I can guide you on whether this course will be right for your needs.

    TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and TESOL is Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, they are two acronyms but they mean the same and whether your certificate says TEFL or TESOL you can apply for any ESL job that you meet the requirements of. TESOL is more widely used in North and South America and TEFL is more commonly used in Europe and Asia.

    If you have any further queries, don’t hesitate to contact info@tefllink.com.

    Kind regards

    Tefl Admin”

  2. Zdenek Rotrekl says:

    I have been trying to sell my products and services for yeard and I have to say that I am not really successful. Now I learned why.
    I do not call my courses excellent and I answer the questions people ask.
    I will change!!

  3. Alex Case says:

    Nice comment, made me chuckle.

    Their replies are getting very slightly better:
    “The top left of the “Why TEFLINK page” says “Why TEFL Cambridge”. Is this an old name of yours? If so, how well recognised can your TEFLINK name be by employers?

    Thank you for bringing this content error to our attention it has been updated. With employers please remember that they often look at the number of TEFL training hours you have rather than a specfic company name, however with over 2000 students currently studying our course and planning to travel abroad the TEFLINK name is widely recognised.

    “Once completed, our TEFLINK course fully prepares you to confidently complete the University of Cambridge ESOL Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) examination, an internationally recognised, prestigious and impressive qualification. It is your passport to a highly-respected and successful career in English Language Teaching.” Most TEFL job ads seem to ask for the Cambridge CELTA. Will I be able to apply for these jobs with your cert/ a TKT?

    As previously menionted this qualfication is mainly used for students who want to travel abroad, you’ll find alot of jobs that do not require a CELTA qualification (examples: http://www.tefl.net/esl-jobs/esl-jobs.pl/read/18224, http://www.tefl.net/esl-jobs/esl-jobs.pl/read/18168, there are many more listed on this and other ESL jobs sites). If you want to teach in the UK or Ireland then alot of employers will look for the CELTA course, however this is not in all cases. Summer schools will often take on trainees with a 120 hour or more TEFL qualficiation.

    “a fully accredited international organisation.” Your accreditation page only mentions Cambridge. Are you accredited by Cambridge?

    We are not accredited by Cambridge, our course however will prepare you to take the internationally recognised TKT Cambridge exams if you so wish. These exams will certainly give you a competitive edge if you are thinking of working in non-English speaking countries in Europe.

    Also, are the professors actually professors?

    all our academic support team are CELTA or higher qualified and have many years teaching experience.”

    Here’s my reply:
    “Thanks, just to check that what I’ve understood from your answers is correct

    – Unlike what it suggests on your site, TKT will not help me get a job

    – The TEFLINK name is comparatively new and therefore as yet virtually unknown

    – You are not actually accredited by anyone

    – None of your professors are professors

    Would that be a fair summary?

    All the best

    Alex”

  4. Alex Case says:

    I don’t blame the person in question, but they clearly have no knowledge about the industry and are just answering from a script. Here is the latest:

    “HI Alexander,

    Thanks for your email

    I’m not sure that your summary is a fair assessment, let me give you some more information. Yes the TKT will help get a job, in fact a lot of teachers working in primary, secondary and EF schools in Europe take these exams specifically to improve their job prospects, to find out more please go to:http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/tkt/index.html. Our courses have been put together by our partner school who has over 35 years experience in teaching TEFL. There is no one governing body within the TEFL industry, with our course you will receive our TEFLINK certificate stating that you’ve completed and passed the course, our 140 hour Master course is more than enough to apply for positions abroad. The TKT exams if you so wish to complete them will give you a Cambridge accredited result. If you can let us know where you are hoping to teach, what your goals are within the EF industry we can certainly make recommendations on which could would suitable for you. The professor is in keeping with the whole ‘college’ theme on the site, if this has been misunderstood our apologies. All our academic course tutors are fully qualified to answer any questions about the course material and have many years experience in the EF industry.”

  5. martin says:

    Hi Alex these Teflink course offers are currently all over the web. My Mother has even emailed me info about this ‘ bargain offer ‘ . Can I just clarify something you helpfully posted above ? …

    ” I’ve never seen a school specifically asking for the TKT – which you can take after reading a book on your own anyway – and you’d be much better off doing a four week TEFL course with observed teaching practice with anyone at all. Alternatively, maybe you could just avoid all cowboys by doing a Cambridge CELTA – which TEFLINK would surely approve of as they mention Cambridge so prominently and often on their site ” .

    Are you advising basically this Teflink course isn’t really worth doing no matter how cheaply its offered ? I don’t know much about TEFL to be honest but i’ve never heard of TEFLINK . I must admit that what you say seems to make more sense but I just need to be sure before I go back to my Mother and say thanks but no thanks.

    Cheers ,

    Martin Creaney

  6. hhhh says:

    Does anyone know what on earth he means by:

    “The professor is in keeping with the whole ‘college’ theme on the site, if this has been misunderstood our apologies. All our academic course tutors are fully qualified to answer any questions about the course material and have many years experience in the EF industry.”’

    Thanks

  7. Alex Case says:

    Hi hhhh

    It’s completely meaningless. In English “professor” is a word with a very clear and specific definition that does not match the people working for them, therefore it is simply a mistranslation or a lie. There is no such thing as the “EF industry”.

  8. Alex Case says:

    Hi Martin

    I don’t think you have to know much about TEFL to smell a rat here. Would you buy a car that was advertised as “92% off”, was made by someone no one has ever heard of, was advertised with a bunch of lies and supported by staff who know nothing about the industry or the product?

    To be qualified to teach English as a foreign language you need to take a course with observed and graded teaching practice such as the Cambridge CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL. It will obviously cost a lot more (as all decent training does), but if TEFLINK are honest about their longest course taking 140 hours then you could complete a proper TEFL certificate in the same amount of time.

  9. Greg says:

    Thanks for the info Alex. Just got a Groupon email this morning about it being on offer. Thought it was too good to be true

  10. Chris says:

    Thanks for all your work on this Alex. Just a couple of thoughts. The title ‘Professor’, while having a clear meaning within the UK university sector, is a much more generic term elsewhere (most US university lecturers of any grade are called professors for example). Speaking as someone who has been responsible for (UK) University course design myself over many years, I would personally be wary of signing up for any educational programme which was not prepared to advertise clearly and openly who its ‘wise’ and ‘esteemed’ teaching staff/course designers were. But this by no means makes the TKT itself a worthless qualification (even though I accept that CELTA is at a higher level) and I think one needs to be careful to separate out a critique of this organisation with that of the TKT. I would suggest readers of this discussion to take a look at http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/tkt/index.html#tab1

  11. alexcase says:

    Will try and deal with this question soon. In the meantime, may I also offer my own analysis of the TKT?
    http://www.tefl.net/tefl-courses/faq-cambridge-tkt.htm

  12. Sheena says:

    Hi Alex. Reckon you’ve saved me £49. I’ve swithered about a TEFL qualifiaction since I gve up teaching a few years back (English B.Ed). Now I’ve moved to Edinburgh, I think there’s a market for teaching non-native speakers here. However, I know it’s a specialised field. Any advice?

  13. alexcase says:

    You need to do a course with at least six hours of observed and graded teaching practice, meaning a face to face or blended one. For the UK, you can’t beat the brand recognition of Cambridge CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL.

  14. Lucifer says:

    While it’s true that the TEFLINK website looks pretty dodgy and many employers (especially in Europe and North America) require their prospective teachers to have completed a course that includes teaching practice, many employers in Eastern Europe, Asia, and South America simply look for ‘any’ ESL-related certification, sometimes one that is supposed to be over 120 study hours or whatever. For example if you wanted to do ESL in China, a purely online course would be accepted by most employers.

    On top of that, the course content offered by TEFLINK is actually quite decent if you consider the ‘sale’ price – I don’t know if they just rip it off from someone or whatever, and you won’t find any amazing revelations never seen before in it, but you’d probably struggle getting materials that would include all the teaching tips and grammar drills that this course has in it at the same price.

    It’s kind of obvious that their ‘normal’ price is pretty scammy, considering it’s a purely online course. :p but if you don’t want to (and don’t need to) shell out a thousand pounds or more on a proper CELTA course, this isn’t half bad.

  15. Flossie Pinnell says:

    I bought TEFLINK 140 hour course through Discount Vouchers for around £50. I followed all instructions, however their terminology was ambiguous and instead of simply registering for the course and postponing the start until the New Year I found I had unwittingly launched the course, and when I did try to start it it had expired. I complained and they reset my start date.

    As I started studying I began to wonder whether anyone else had done this course. Each page had a “print page” link, but it wouldn’t print properly on either of my printers. The worst cases were the tests, as I wanted to print off both the tests and eventually the correct answers. The tests resembled forms with options on tiles to be dragged and dropped into the appropriate places, but they only printed as a list. In order to print the course I had to keep taking screen images, cropping them and then pasting them into Word to print them in some semblance of what I saw on the TEFLINK screen. Needless to say

    As each unit was completed I was able to view the answers to all the tests in the unit. In some cases my answers appeared to be wrong. A list of my wrong answers and the correct answers appeared at the foot of the test, however the list clearly demonstrated that both sets of answers were identical!

    Each time I reported the problem to Teflink who referred it to their IT team. I can’t believe I was the first to report them, unless I was the first to do the course. It does look as if this outfit have bought a tefl course and hastily published it on line without adequate testing. After some tweaking the course may work properly.

    I wasn’t doing the course to gain a qualification, in fact I am already a qualified IT Trainer, but since retiring to France I meet many French people who want to improve their English skills and I was more interested in putting together a syllabus. Teflink just suggest you follow coursebooks, (without recommending any) and offer no advice on where to start teaching English to anyone who has never had a lesson before.

    I eventually decided the course was too great a waste of my time to justify persevering, and wrote to tell Teflink of my decision. They have not replied.

    If someone were really trying to obtain an international qualification in order to gain employment, would they really expect to pay £50 for it in a sale? I don’t know Teflink’s reputation, history or corporate background, but when I read their ad on Discount Vouchers and looked at their web page I did suspect them to be cowboys and wasn’t surprised to find that the product had flaws.

  16. DobBylan says:

    I agree with Flossie here.
    I’m due to leave the UK for South Korea, to teach English, in a few months.
    Having already went through the motions to find work, I decided to use this TEFLINK offer, just to boost my credentials a little.
    I completed the course in literally no time at all, with a pretty decent ”grade”.
    Although, I wish to declare, that the site is indeed, flawed.
    It’s poorly laid out, many of the questions and answers have came up wrong; this came to my attention when arranging very simple sentences together and receiving no mark… i was slightly aghast at this and decided to email the ”admin” to give them a heads up on the faults with their course.
    I got really wishy-washy responses back, firstly saying if I wanted to re-sit anything, it would cost me (?), and then saying that “they were looking into it”. Had nothing back yet…

    Also, it’s worth noting that once you pass, they try and charge you for any kind of proof of completion or sending your certificate to you (it’s 8 quid to wait 3 weeks and a tenner to have it sent in 5 days!).
    I’m unsure yet if this ”qualification” will help me with regards to my new career move, so I wouldn’t advise anyone to avoid the ”knockdown offer” just yet.
    Watch this space.

  17. Edel says:

    I actually just did this course, and I thought it was really good, thorough and challenging. The reason I picked it was because
    a) the price and
    b) I’m already a school teacher, so I doubted it would matter to employers whether my TEFL course was online or not, as I already have 4 years experience as an actual teacher.
    On those grounds, I’m really happy with it. I also think that a lot of places will employ you with a qualification like this. I think you’re better off spending 50 quid on this than almost 600 on a different course, to be honest with you.

  18. Rob says:

    “an actual teacher” – this is a pet peeve of mine.

  19. alexcase says:

    Just dealt with the question of whether a qualified school teacher needs a proper TEFL certificate like the CELTA or not here:
    http://www.tefl.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=5855&p=13849#p13849

  20. gabrielleq8 says:

    I am in the middle of the course and have found some of it quite useful. I already teach and took my CELTA about 10 years ago. I sometimes find myself doing the same thing again and again so this has been quite refreshing. My real complaint is that the TEFLINK server seems to be very unstable. A crowd of us at the school where I teach have taken it and two of us have had to have time added because they have lost work that we have completed. The last few days I have really struggled to work for more than a couple of hours without server problems. Although I am in the Middle East, my internet provider is sound so I can only believe it when my computer says, ‘server not found’!!
    I would say to anyone who is serious about teaching English as a foreign or second language, go and do a course where you actually have teaching practice and can carry out some observations.

    Ooh, server’s back on! Got to go!

  21. Julia Brennan says:

    I’m in the middle of doing the TEFLINK 140 hour course and have no previous teaching qualification. I think it’s quite a good course at the Groupon price but would not be happy to have paid the “full” price. What I am finding frustrating are the tests. While I can find my marks, I can’t find any info that tells me what questions I got wrong. Some of the questions are very ambigious so I would be fascinated to know what they consider the correct answer. I am using this course as a starter and if I think I could get a job at age 60+ then I will consider doing a proper classroom based course. I got so frustrated with my marks that I decided to see what reviews I could find about the course and happened upon this one. Really interesting to read people’s comments. Should that be ‘people’s’ or ‘peoples’?!

  22. Sally Dinnily says:

    I have been doing a bit of research on TEFLINK – TEFLcambridge and found out that both sites are owned by TEFLexpress. Why would a company have 3 websites selling the same rubbish. All of the sites are full of ambiguous quotes. It is fairly obvious to most people that these people are scam merchants. They claim then that the parent company is Languagelink who have hundreds of schools around the globe! Research on them showed that they don’t have any schools.

    My advice don’t touch these cowboys with a barge pole.

  23. alexcase says:

    From what people have said about the quality of the course, I think scam is going a bit far. It’s probably best to think of them as an online TEFL version of one of those clearance shops that claims to be closing down 12 months a year. Though I might buy socks from one of those shops, I would never buy education from a company that was messing around with such tricks, but I can understand why some people would.

  24. Ana Jonessy says:

    Hi Alex,
    I was just Googling if TEFLINK is a legit online TEFL course and stumbled upon your comment about it, and it is also on Groupon that I came across it – http://www.groupon.my/deals/sarawak/TEFL-Links-Limited/717177056

    An observed TEFL certificate course (5 to 6 classes in a 3 months duration) here costs MYR5,800. I don’t make nearly enough to pay for the fee so I am looking for alternatives online but so far I haven’t found any that doesn’t echo TEFLINK’s dodgy explanation. Sigh.

  25. Zar says:

    Whilst i completely agree TEFLINK clearly isn’t a sensible option for anybody looking for a reliable qualification in teaching English (and quite frankly it would be crazy to pay £560 for an academically unrecognized ‘qualification’) the material on the 140 hour course itself does seem quite reliable and sound.

    I am a student studying English Language at university and will be taking a module in TEFL in my final year, and found for the price its at on groupon this volume of information for £49 is a very good deal, considering the price of other academic sources and text books that end up costing hundreds of pounds to accompany uni courses.

    As mentioned in a previous comment, this information may have been ripped off or taken from other sources, however it is still valuable information none-the-less and whilst I will not use TEFLINK as a qualification, it does seem worth £49 as a tool to accompany anybody looking for a headstart or extra revision for credible/official courses as an alternative to spending more money on books.

  26. songul says:

    Glad i found your blog- i was about to buy a Groupon voucher deal in Australia for $69 which i think its about £40 not sure.

    Will continue searching for a reliable tefl course…tha ks for the heads up

  27. tumi says:

    Hi
    i just started with a 140 hour TEFLINK course and also stumbled on this site when i was googling possible jobs can someone please help Im so scared ive could have just involved myself in a scarm

  28. Edel says:

    Listen, I did this course about two years ago and it helped me get a job in a secondary school in Ireland. That said, I am already a teacher and have a teaching qualification and so, I was just adding this as I don’t have English as one of my subjects. I’ll never regret doing this course no matter how much people complain about it here. I think it’s a great start and I imagine there are definitely places you can get employment using just this.

  29. Jordan says:

    “I imagine there are definitely places you can get employment using just this”
    I was thinking the same thing Edel. I’ll be applying to schools in SE Asia and I’ve read on plenty of sites that it’s still possible to land a job without a TEFL cert. or even a degree sometimes. I’m sure that this cert isn’t the best, however if it can land me a job or allow me to get my foot in the door, I’ll obtain better certs. in the future.

    If I remember I’ll contribute my opinion after I finish this online course. My biggest concern after reading the site’s information on the course was that I wasn’t going to get a cert unless I went to a testing center far away from my home. Luckily I came here and found that I get one by finishing the course (completely online). Cheers.

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