TESOL International Association set ridiculously low standards for short TEFL courses

God knows something needs to be done to raise the standards of the typical 120-hour-ish TEFL courses that dominate our industry, but TESOL (the larger American version of IATEFL) have quite possibly acheived the opposite with their current attempt. From now on, dodgy TEFL course providers will be able to claim that they meet some kind of minimum standards from a well-respected industry organisation while:

  • It is impossible to fail their courses
  • There is no observed teaching practice (let alone the graded observed teaching practice that is by far the most important part of any course)
  • Their trainers have no relevant teaching qualifications
  • There is no outside accreditation (let alone outside accreditation by a university or exam board like some organisations demand)
  • etc

Instead, TESOL set pointless and/ or incredibly vague “standards” such as:

  • Having a mission statement (but nothing at all on what the mission statement should say)
  • “The program’s goals and objectives guide the choice of instructional approaches and materials”
  • “Instructors understand the connections between theory and practice and value the role of culture in language teaching and learning”

Any attempt at a better description of standards than “Cambridge CELTA (or Trinity Cert TESOL) or equivalent” should be a good thing, but as I said above I honestly think TESOL have managed something even worse here. I’d love to think it was just well-meaning incompetence, but I have a terrible feeling it has more to do with the increasing commercialism of the organisation in some way.

This entry was posted in Online TEFL certificate, TEFL certificate, TEFL qualifications. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to TESOL International Association set ridiculously low standards for short TEFL courses

  1. Sammy says:

    How incredibly worthless and not worth the paper they’re printed on — assuming you get a piece of paper at the end of it?!

  2. punster30 says:

    “Any attempt at a better description of standards than “Cambridge CELTA (or Trinity Cert TESOL) or equivalent” should be a good thing”
    Just clarifying: are you saying that the standards for the CELTA or CertTESOL are low/poor/inadequate, or that any attempt to compete with them is a good thing?

  3. alexcase says:

    That comment was simply about the inadequacy of “or equivalent” as a description of basic standards in our industry. However, my general position on CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL is that their standards are already low enough, so it’s a shame that the standards of competing qualifications, which should be a good thing, are actually even lower.

  4. punster30 says:

    Ah, ok. CELTA and CertTESOL are Level 5 qualifications on on the National Qualifications Framework. Personally, I feel this is suitable for the industry, but that only suggests that the standards required to qualify are of a certain level – not that they are all relevant, important or well-defined!
    In some ways I think the low standards for entering our industry are a good thing. Employers can be selective if they want to, and decide to take on teachers who have shown a commitment to CPD beyond the entry level qualification. But at least having such a low entry level in the first place doesn’t deter people from entering the profession.

  5. Richard says:

    It might not deter people, but it will certainly guarantee that they won’t earn much- the lower the bar, the lower the pay.

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