Advice Column, Education, Fluent Panda, Parenting, Tween & Teen

TESOL – What is it and do you need it?

  • Fluent Panda
  • Category Advice Column, Education, Fluent Panda, Parenting, Tween & Teen

TESOL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is a teaching certificate that qualifies you for teaching English to speakers of foreign languages. It is a course that allows anyone, regardless of their previous qualifications or fields, to have the ability to teach students – with the main requirement being that you are a native English speaker. 

However, is this qualification worth it and what should you choose? 

Important TESOL information

Largely, the TESOL certification is very unregulated – with anyone able to advertise and offer TESOL courses without it being regulated or without them having an accredited TESOL course. This can lead to many people joining a course and receiving a certificate that is NOT internationally recognised. 

When choosing the TESOL course, try look out for the following:

  • Pricing. Does it seem too good to be true/much less than any other services provided? Proper accredited TESOL courses do not come cheap – most of the time certificates have to be sent from overseas to South Africa and externally moderated before being granted. 
  • Accreditations. Ask the service provider who they are accredited with if you can’t find any details and check if the company is an actual TESOL course accreditor. This is very important as most times this is what foreign employers will look for. A certificate that does not have any accreditation or standing will seem very unreliable to future employers regardless of how good the course was. 
  • Beware of pop-up courses or schools. You should only consider TESOL institutes that have had a good number of students who recommend the course and that has been around for some time. It is not to say that there are no new schools that are accredited, but always be sure they are correctly accredited!
  • Try choose the 140 hour course over the 120 hour course. The difference between the 2 is simply that the 120 hour course is JUST assignments and course materials. It does not include any teaching practice. The 140 hour course is the same content, but includes the extra 20 hours of teaching practice. This is generally better received by employers as they know you then have some sort of experience in a classroom vs. none.

What are the prerequisites to studying TESOL?

This varies from institution but most institutes require at least a matric certificate. You need to have completed high school studies in order do TESOL. The second pre-requisite is that you are a fluent / native English speaker. 

It should however be noted, that when applying for a job overseas, TESOL alone will not usually be their only pre-requisite. Most international schools in addition to TESOL also require completion of a tertiary education degree – at least an undergraduate degree but some also require up to honors level. Be sure to check with the program / country / place you are seeking employment at all the requirements they have.

Naturally, if you are planning on teaching, a teachers degree or qualification is favoured over others.  

Who should get a TESOL degree?

This is a difficult question to answer but in general it is best for people who are looking to immigrate to a foreign country. In this respect it is useful for matriculants or graduates who aren’t sure if they want to stay in South Africa, or for adults who are looking to relocate but are worried about finding employment overseas with their current qualification / job. 

If you are planning on staying in South Africa, TESOL will not be as useful a qualification and it will be very difficult (not impossible) to find a teaching job just on TESOL alone. This is the general rule with any English-speaking country. There will always be exceptions, but it is not the rule. This is because TESOL is to teach non-english speakers English – it won’t qualify you to teach any other subject locally or abroad. 

For people wanting to immigrate to non-English speaking countries, particularly European and Asian countries, then TESOL is an exceptional way to get your foot in the door of employment with many countries requiring TESOL as the main requirement for employment. 

Of course – it does always help if teaching is also a career path you are interested in pursuing. 

In general, the certificate itself never expires once passed – and as it is an internationally recognised qualification, if you have a young matriculant or graduate in your family, the course is worthwhile in helping them have foreign opportunities in addition to their qualifications. 

Why study TESOL with Fluent Panda?

If you’ve decided TESOL is for you, then the next step is to register – and Fluent Panda Language School offers one of the best TESOL courses for the following reasons:

    • Our TESOL courses are internationally accredited by the TESOL committee based in the United Kingdom. Certificates are internationally sent and assignments are externally moderated. This has led to many our students being granted jobs in foreign countries easily. 
    • We offer both the 120 hour and 140 hour course in order to complete your certification. 
    • Fluent Panda allows you the choice – you can choose to self study the course material and hand in assignments in your own time or have a teacher led class where the material will be taught to you
    • We are aware life is busy and not everyone is able to commit to a 120 hours or 140 in class in order to complete their course. This is why we offer self study options where students can learn the material in their own time with certification being granted upon completion and marking of assignments. 
    • In addition to this, Fluent Panda also has accredited courses in Business English for those requiring it for their employers or further self-development. 
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