Which TEFL Course is Right for You?

Posted by claudio on March 3, 2012 in Teaching in Thailand |

TEFL Courses in Thailand are available in abundance.  It seems each major city has some course providers with Bangkok and the well-known tourist destinations naturally ranking on top of the list. A google search for “TEFL Course Thailand” will result in thousands of search results. It’s often hard to choose the right one.

The TEFL course abundance becomes clear when you search on google


When you start digging through these search results, you’ll find a wide range of different course options, ranging from rather inexpensive online courses to full 120-hour classroom courses taking several weeks to complete.

Avoid taking an online TEFL course

Acquiring knowledge online has its clear advantages: you can study at your own time and in the comfort of your home. However, teaching is a skill and like any skill, you can’t really learn it by just reading about it, watching videos, and doing written exercises. Imagine trying to learn how to ride a bicycle by simply reading about it. If you want to develop a skill, you’ll have to practice it. A classroom-based course typically includes a number of evaluated practice lessons in a real world environment. The feedback you gain during those lessons will be invaluable and are guaranteed to prepare you well for your first day of teaching.

If you want to teach in Thailand, get certified in Thailand

Although your own home country may offer a number of high quality TEFL courses, there is a distinct advantage when you take your course in Thailand: you will learn about Thai culture and the specifics of teaching in a Thai classroom. You will also meet others who will start teaching in Thailand at about the same time as you do. Supporting each other with ideas and discussing your experiences is an important benefit, especially during the first few weeks of teaching.

A high Google rank or pretty website are no guarantees

Just because a TEFL course provider has figured out how to get a high ranking on Google doesn’t guarantee that their course is of the highest quality. Look beyond just the first page of search results. The same is true for a visually appealing website. Look beyond the sizzle. How much real information do you gain by reading a website? Do you get a feeling for how life will be as a teacher in Thailand, or are you just intrigued by the beautiful photos of the beaches you can visit during the course?

How long does the course last?

I recommend to take a full 120-hour TEFL course that will include at least 6 observed teaching lessons at a Thai school. When you look around, you will find many course providers offering 120-hour courses, but the duration of these courses vary greatly. If you see 3 weeks, this means that you’d be in the course 40 hours per week. This either will make for some very long days because you also need to spend time preparing your practice lessons or the preparation of those lessons will take up valuable classroom time. I believe 120-hour courses that stretch over 6 weeks are ideal. They leave enough room to prepare well for your practice lessons and digest the material you’ve been taught during the lecture phases.

How responsive is a course provider?

I recommend to create a shortlist of course providers you want to further explore. Then, send each of them a brief e-mail with a couple of questions like:

  • How many hours of observed teaching practice does your course offer?
  • What is the venue for the practice lessons? Will I be able to teach in real schools?
  • Can I talk with some of your past participants about their experience during and after the course?

The responsiveness and completeness of answers will tell you a lot about each institute. If you get thorough responses in a reasonable time frame, you most likely will get the same attention during and after the course.

Ask others about your chosen TEFL course

Before committing your hard earned money to a course provider, feel free to ask others about them. There are numerous places online where teachers in Thailand exchange ideas and opinions. A great place to start is the Newbie Zone on the Ajarn.com Forum. Before doing so, however, please read the guidelines for this type of question.

May the force be with you to find the right TEFL course because it will build the foundation of your new life as an English teacher in Thailand.

If you are a teacher who has taken a TEFL course in Thailand, please feel free to share your experiences (the good, the bad, and even the ugly) in the comments below.  It will help others either finding the right TEFL course for them, or avoid the wrong one. Thank you!

You may also be interested in my blog post My Preferred TEFL Courses in Thailand.


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