Frequently asked questions
TEFL and TESOL FAQs
TEFL Barcelona, TEFL Spain FAQs
1. Are the courses accredited? How do they differ from Trinity/CELTA?
It is important to choose a TEFL course that is accredited by an external institution, for example, a university or an awarding organization recognised by the British Government. This sets these certificate courses apart from all others and makes the TEFL Certificates internationally recognised.
The courses we offer are internationally recognised and accredited by external institutions – Fort Hays State University and TQUK ( Training Qualifications UK ) – There are a number of internationally validated courses available including those accredited by IATQuO, The College of Teachers, SIT, Cambridge (CELTA), or Trinity. They are all 4 weeks long and very similar in terms of content.
The most important factors for trainees are that the teacher trainers are dedicated, qualified (Diploma in TESOL or equivalent) and have substantial experience in teaching and teacher training, and that the trainee teachers are given enough teaching practice (a minimum of 6 observed lessons and two one-to-one lessons).
Otherwise, the difference is mainly in price, corresponding to how expensive the accreditation is.
Cambridge ( CELTA) and Trinity are the most expensive, TQUK and Fort Hays State University, IATQuO and and other similar validating bodies, slightly less so. In terms of getting a job after the course, employers usually require teachers to have an internationally recognised certificate.
2. What is the difference between TEFL, TESOL, EFL and TESL?
Confusingly, the English language teaching world has an array of abbreviations and acronyms, many of which mean the same thing, and most of which have no official significance.
EFL stands for English as a Foreign Language and involves the acquisition of English by non-native speakers.
ESL stands for English as a Second Language and involves the acquisition of English by non-native speakers.
TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and involves teaching English to non-native speakers.
TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language and involves teaching English to non-native speakers. This acronym is often used when referring to teaching English within an English speaking country.
TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and involves teaching English to non-native speakers.
As all these terms are used to describe teaching English to non-native English speakers, usually little distinction is made between the terms.
3. How do I choose which course to take?
Unfortunately, not all TEFL courses advertised are of the same quality. For example, correspondence courses without a teaching practicum don’t properly prepare you for teaching abroad and many courses don’t meet the standards or the required in-class hours for international recognition. One of the most important factors is that the course is accredited and offers an internationally recognized certificate. Aside from that, many of our graduates chose our courses for the following reasons:
- The teacher trainers are all qualified profesional TEFL instructors with a minimum of 15 years of teaching and teacher training experience.
- We focus on a more friendly and personalized approach and keep our class sizes small to ensure that each trainee receives as much one on one time with trainers as possible and that everyone receives a quality experience.
4. Will I get a job teaching after the course?
The chances of finding a job after the course are excellent. During peak hiring times our trainees often receive job offers before they graduate! For many decades Spain has had a large TEFL job market. However, recently there has been a new boom in the demand for English tuition with an ever-growing number of language schools in the city and in satellite towns. We have many contacts that notify us periodically with job vacancies!
Tefl Barcelona will assist at all stages of the job search from putting a CV/resume together to interview techniques to arranging interviews. See our job guidance page for more information on our extensive service.
For more information on the life of a TEFL teacher, see our TEFL in Spain guide.
5. Will I need a visa?
You can travel, study, and work wherever you want in the EU countries if you are an EU citizen. And obtaining a residence/work permit is simply a mere formality.
Non-EU citizens can stay up to 3 months as tourists. In order to apply for a work permit you must be sponsored by your employer, so you can apply for a working visa once a job is secured with a school.
Alternatively, you can enrol in one of our student visa programmes by doing a Spanish course or a teacher development course. Please see our student visa section for more information.
6. When is the best time to take a TEFL course?
Generally, in Europe, the academic year runs from mid- September to the end of June. Teaching positions in Western Europe are most plentiful from September to October when the academic year begins. There is often a further recruitment drive from January to March as teachers fail to return from their Christmas holidays or schools open up new classes. These are the times of year when hiring is at its peak, however, currently, it is easy to find teaching positions any time of the year.
7. What are the requirements? How do I know if I’m suitable?
The course is open to adults, typically 18 years of age or above, who have a university degree or its equivalent, or who have university entrance qualifications plus work experience. However, at the discretion of the Course Director, we also welcome high school graduates, 18 years of age or above wishing to do a TEFL course as part of a gap year in their studies. We have a lot of trainees in their early twenties who are recent graduates and want to travel overseas but we also have people in their thirties and forties who either want a career change or who simply want to live overseas. In addition, we have trainees either approaching or in retirements that are looking for something useful to do with their free time.
As far as requirements are concerned, a high standard of both spoken and written English is necessary. This refers to your use of English, not necessarily your knowledge of grammatical terminology: you will cover language awareness on the course itself. As the four-week course is fairly intensive, you should be prepared to work to the best of your abilities and make as much of your time available for the course as possible.
8. Are there age limits?
While there is no upper age limit, you must be at least 18 years of age for your application to be considered. The majority of our trainees are in their 20’s and 30’s but we have successfully trained and found employment for graduates in their 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s and therefore welcome applications from all who are interested regardless of age.
9. Do I need to know another language?
In general, our communicative approach to teaching English requires that the teacher speaks only in English. The ability, therefore, to speak a foreign language is not a requirement for teaching English. However, some experience of learning and speaking a foreign language will help you understand language in general and how it is learned. If you are teaching in a foreign country, some knowledge of that country’s language and culture can also make your life easier and enrich your experience.
10. Can non-native speakers of English take the course?
Yes, applications are welcomed regardless of their first language. The only requirements are a proficient level of English, that is, a level near that of a native speaker and evidence of study at a higher education level or work experience. TEFL Barcelona has trained teachers from a number of different nationalities and backgrounds with great success.
11. Can I get college credit for the course?
Yes. If you are a current university student we would be happy provide whatever information about the course is necessary so that your university can determine if it meets credit requirements.
12. What do I gain at the end of a TEFL course?
Lesson planning is an important component of TEFL training. A good TEFL course will have at least 8 hours of English teaching practice ( 6 observed lessons and 2 one-to-one lessons ). By the end of a TEFL course you will feel confident to plan an effective lesson and be able to deliver it confidently to either a group of students or an individual student ( one-to-one class ).
From any TEFL course, you will gain an entry-level teaching qualification, for teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).
From an accredited and internationally recognised course, you will gain a TEFL certificate sought-after by language schools worldwide.
From the TEFL Barcelona and Madrid courses you will also gain
- experience teaching in a variety of situations and for a variety of students at different levels, including Young Learners and Business English.
- an increased confidence in front of the class and in teaching one-to-one.
- experience in planning your lessons.
- knowledge of the wealth of materials and methods you could use while teaching.
- knowledge of the local and international English teaching job market.
- CV writing, interview-training, networking and job-seeking skills.
- support from experienced tutors, even after you graduate and for as long you need it.
Get in touch
Where we are located
While our administrative office is in the cute Mediterranean municipality of Vilassar de Mar, all our courses are centrally located in the Eixample district of Barcelona. Once enrolled, along with your study schedule, we will provide you with your precise classroom locations.
You are of course welcome to make an appointment, would you like to visit the school and meet your future TEFL certificate trainers.
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