TEFL course ticket to seeing the world

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THE East London Language Institute has been running a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) course for the past year and has seen great success.

“This is our fourth course and the classes just keep getting bigger,” director of the East London Language Institute Susan Zwicky said.

For many school leavers, TEFL provides a suitable and exciting alternative to university or colleges. “Some just want a gap year to decide on their futures, and many decide to stay and teach. Universities are battling at the moment and this short-term contract allows youngsters time to make decisions about their future path of study and whether or not they wish to enter into the field of teaching. Some may even have the opportunity of studying in the country in which they teach,” one of the presenters at the East London Language Institute, Hilton Williams, said.

The TEFL course offered by the institute is an intensive five-week course covering productive and receptive language skills, as well as lesson planning, methodologies and even guidance in applying for posts.

“We place great emphasis on how to plan a lesson. Our students also spend many hours actually teaching before they qualify, which allows them to gain the confidence they often lack,” Zwicky said.

The course also utilises four different presenters, with varying abilities and strengths, in order to provide students with the best learning opportunity.

“We have a wonderful team of very experienced teachers,” Williams said.

Placement after completing the TEFL course is relatively easy as many countries are desperate for English mentoring.

“There is an enormous demand as most countries use English as the medium of research and business,” Zwicky explained.

There are also several programmes aimed at assisting young people to teach in various overseas countries.

“There are programmes, such as the China Programme, which are phenomenal for school leavers,” Williams added.

“The programme caters and mentors young people directly out of school, providing supervisors, accommodation, meals and sightseeing with a small monthly allowance. This allows young people to know that they will be safe and looked after.”

It is important, however to work through a reputable agent and do thorough research before accepting a position overseas. Government schools are far better options as they often only require 15 hours of conversational English teaching per week, which gives youngsters the opportunity to study through Unisa or similar universities while they earn money.

“They want you to stay and be productive, so most ensure the experience is positive and mutually beneficial,” Williams said.

“My teaching in Asia was the most exciting time of my life as I was respected and appreciated by my employer. It is a safe and lucrative opportunity for graduates and school leavers to earn money and see the world.

“The global opportunities are amazing and the response from others who have completed the TEFL course and are overseas, has been inspiring.”

GOING PLACES: A former student at the East London Language Institute, Poonam Harry-Nana, right, poses with her students in Xian, China

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