TEFL: Getting started with section A

As you may have already read in our “TEFL: a new beginning” post we decided to start our RTW trip with an internship in China Teaching English as a Foreign Language a.k.a. TEFL. It wasn’t an easy step to make but we have now registered with i-to-i TEFL and have been granted access to our online platform where we can access the course materials.

What does the online learning platform include?

The online platform includes a number of useful sections such as:

  • the Information Centre;
  • your online courses TEFL A and TEFL B;
  • any specialist courses (we end up doing a Teaching English Online course);
  • your internship information (including details on the practical TEFL course);
  • your eResume.

You are also given a reminder of your course expiry date on the home page as well as links to useful advertisements such as apps and a course book you can purchase. When assignments are marked or courses have been completed then this is also the location where they will be displayed so that you can read the feedback from your tutors or view/download your certificates (note that a final completion certificate is sent to your home address on completion of all components).

What is TEFL A really like?

You need to complete nine sections that span a range of topics including: managing a classroom and planning a lesson; language and grammar essentials; as well as teaching grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

Many of sections begin with a video clip to watch and at least one activity to get you to reflect on what you already know – don’t worry though as you don’t need any previous teaching experience. It’s surprising how much you know about the sections before you even get started.

Throughout a section you read through the information but we like to make a few notes as we go along to keep us focused and it helps to have something to refer to during the progress checks/checkpoints. You also need to complete a series of in-task activities which we really liked as they help you to apply what you are learning as well as getting some immediate feedback. Such activities include true/false questions, filling in the gaps, multiple choice questions, drag and drop exercises and short answer questions. There are additional resources and webinar recordings too which give additional information on sections which you feel you need to spend more work on.

Each section ends with a progress check which is a multiple choice assessment of what you have just learnt. Following every two or three sections there is a tutor marked assessment getting you to apply your knowledge and understanding. Some of the assignments include writing lesson plans, dealing with common class based situations you may encounter and creating activities to engage and teach your students. We were really impressed by the speed at which the assignments were marked and the quality of feedback was great too.

What do we like most about the online TEFL course so far?

Being online it is available wherever you have a good internet connection which is great if like us you are a bit of a digital nomad with no permanent base. It takes the complete beginner and teaches you everything you need to know which we thought was unnecessary considering we were already teachers but is turning out to be essential particularly in the grammar sections where we have a lot to learn. We have not previously come across the tenses as a subject in their own right – do you know the difference between past continuous, the present perfect and the present continuous to describe the future tense? We didn’t and it was confusing at first all right. I’d like to say we are completely confident on our grammar now but that would be lying. The course highlights that you are not expected to be experts straight away though – good job!!

Continue to follow our TEFL journey by visiting this website from time to time to read our new posts. You can also watch our video updates by subscribing to either our YouTube Channel or if you would like more information on TEFL courses in general then view the i-to-i TEFL YouTube Channel.

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