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Author Topic: LTI TEFL  (Read 3835 times)

limubai2000

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LTI TEFL
« on: December 11, 2007, 03:59:28 AM »
LTI TEFL International

I attended the 1 month version of this course from Oct 22 to Nov 16 and completed my TEFL certificate.

Firstly I want to say for those that don't know - THAT THESE GUYS ARE NOT FUNNELING PEOPLE TO RECRUITERS. In fact they don't recommend working with recruiters. They are also honest about bigger chain schools and pay scales. If anything they tend to recommend the bigger schools that pay good. But they don't pressure you into taking any jobs whatsoever.

Now that's out of the way... I'll give my review in chunks as I remember the course.

  First up each day you will have the instructor named Jimmy. He primarily teaches phonology and grammar but you will also get a bit of teaching methodology.  As he is Chinese you will get his impressions of the difficulties Chinese people face in learning English. He will teach you from 8 or 9 to 11 or 12.
  For the first 3 days of the course Jimmy will teach you Chinese in Chinese.  This will make you feel like one of your future English students will feel.  You will get frustrated or a headache like me. The Chinese is useful for your first few weeks in China though.  He goes through the phonological alphabet which I promptly forgot and I'm relearning it from my roommates.  Try to remember the section on bargaining at the market, I found it quite useful! Some of your first assignments in the course revolve around these Chinese lessons, not the Chinese itself but how it was to be a foreign language student taught in that foreign language.
  The last 3 weeks of the course Jimmy teaches phonology and grammar. He hit the grammar particularly heavy and I will admit it gets quite boring for us native speakers but you will find you need the refresher.  I made the comment to Jimmy that "this stuff is natural for us I don't need to learn it again" and Jimmy's reply was "yes but how will you explain it to your students". He is 100% right and I found this out in my 2nd day teaching my 13yr olds!  Jimmy is a great teacher.  He goes off on story tangents about teaching or Chinese culture which breaks the class up and keep it interesting enough even for us native speakers who are good at grammar (like us writers!).
  Jimmy does assign some phonology homework and it was not hard but does take up some time even with a good dictionary.
 
  Second you will be taught by Greg an American whose traveled the length of the world teaching English. (OK not the WHOLE length but a good chunk of it!)  He will be teaching you methodology, activities, TEFL philosophy, theory, and teaching exercises. Even though his section only runs about 1 hour he can pack a lot in there in between his great stories about teaching. Greg is a great teacher, actually I'll go farther and say I think he's a natural teacher and I found him the best of the 2 by far.  He also talks about jobs, contract and pay scales. He goes over most of the major school chains; Dell, English First, and a few others and most of the schools based in Beijing. He also teaches you how to prepare lessons plans and goes through examples of each.  TEFL philosophy is that the students speak ALL English in every class and the students speak 80% and the teacher speaks only 20% (this is unattainable I know but you should strive for it by our philosophy).

  Then you get a lunch break.
 
  The last part of each day is practical teaching.  From the second day of the course until the final day you will do practical teaching for 40 minutes to 1 hour with about 4 to 8 students each day.  This was immensely useful for people like me who had no prior teaching experience.  The second day Greg provides you with a 30 minute lesson to teach and you just do it.  From the third day on you must prepare you own lesson plans for each class. 
  I was extremely nervous before and during my first lesson, yes even us kung fu folks get nervous sometimes.  I remember my hands trembling slightly on the first day.  For my second lesson I was only slightly nervous and a few deep breaths fixed that before I got up to teach. After that I was good to go and in fact now I enjoy getting up in front of my classes and teaching. 
  During your practice teaching you will be monitored by Jimmy or another instructor named Chris.  The other TEFL students in your class will also be watching you. After all the TEFL students have taught your monitor will go over how you did pointing out good things and things you need to work on.  The other students will also be asked to comment on how you did. Don't worry you get to talk about how they did also! Chris is a great instructor as well and while it may not appear that he is paying attention to your teaching he is in fact getting every word you say and his review of your teaching will show that.  I preferred him as my monitor over Jimmy because he lightens up the class with some jokes which seems to get the students more into the class. I also shot one class totally from the hip with no lesson plan with Chris and he said it was probably my best lesson. Jimmy had a more clinical approach to reviewing my teaching.  But it was good to get both points of view from a native and non-native speaker. 
  I found this to be the most useful part of the course as you are up there actually doing it with real live students.  I was able to quickly learn to be animated and active to keep their attention which has served me well teaching my 13 yr olds.
  You will spend 2 weeks teaching lower level students and 2 weeks teaching advanced level students. The students are there for the free English class. THEY ARE NOT CHARGED ANYTHING BY LTI TEFL.  Greg will be very specific about this and in fact the students will also tell you that inside and outside of class. In point of fact Greg looks down on training schools that do charge "practice" students.
  You will need to spend time outside of class preparing your lesson plans and you must provide copies of them everyday.  Many students in my course used our lunchtimes or early mornings to prepare our lessons. I used some resources from the internet for ideas which helped me a lot. I had a problem finding a base idea to teach around but once I had an idea developing a lesson plan was easy.  I recommend if you are going to take this course don't do lessons on pollution, Olympics or bad things in China, the students have been beat to death with them already.  Some of my best lessons were on better topics like the space program in Tianjin (we're going to the moon, how cool is that?), fake goods (everyone has pirate DVDs!), and my debate on Yao Ming vs Yi JianLian vs Wong Jer Jer.
  Practice teaching constitutes 50% of your grade.

  The biggest project you must complete is to locate a student (most of us used someone from our teaching practice) and do a level assessment and 3 1-on-1 tutoring sessions. After completing this you must submit a 500 word paper on the process and achievements of these sessions. This also gets your feet wet for the tutoring world and I found this quite handy very quickly as I picked up 2 students to tutor via a friend.

Final Thoughts

  It may not seem that there is a lot to this course but I deliberately left out some things. 

  For those who have not taught I highly recommend this TEFL course.

  I talked to some English teachers who took the TEFL course after having taught for a few years and they all rated this course highly as well.

  I know many people in this forum express their opinions that a TEFL/ESL certificate is not required to teach and I agree - TO A POINT.  But I feel that having one puts me ahead of the teachers that only have a university degree like I do.  It also equipped me to properly teach in the classroom. 

  Some in the forum have said that new teachers fresh from TEFL/ESL classes show up in their school and find their teaching legs in their 1st or 2nd week, I find this to be accurate in my case.  I've been able to tell which teachers in my school have had TEFL/ESL training by things they do in the classroom. I don't make the same mistakes that non-cert'd teachers I've seen make.  My primary employer does observe my classes at random intervals and I have always received good or great reviews, I directly attribute those to the instruction I received at LTI TEFL from Greg, Chris and Jimmy.

  I also find that I do get paid more per hour than other teachers who don't have a cert do. At least the ones I've talked to that I felt were honest admitted that I was paid more and normally they were the ones asking me what I was getting paid.  At least this seems to be my case here in Beijing. I am paid more than some teachers I know who work at Dell and EF. (Your mileage may vary.)
 
  I also want to note that I was in no way paid or asked to do this review. If you check the threads you will see I started to post one before I even attended the course. I am not receiving any monetary compensation for this or bird dog fees.

  Yes I agree the cost was high but when I looked at what it got me and where I am now it was well worth it vs doing an ESL class back in the USA.

  I did not review the accommodations or other ancillary things related to course because they aren't important. You are there for the class.  I will say the apartment they placed me in was ok by my standards and probably on the good side for Chinese standards.  The other staff at the school - Henry and Gary are both great and helpful.   

  PS - I talked to one student who started the TEFL in Zhuhai and said they were very strict and were charging their practice students for English class. She transfered up here to Beijing at the end of the 2nd week and finished up here and was much happier with LTI Beijing.
 
  Forgive any errors as I tried to finish this quickly because I noticed some newbs needing this information. I reserve the right to edit my work for spelling and grammar!!!

 bfbfbfbfbf

[Edit - added the section on tutoring, cleaned some grammar.]
« Last Edit: December 11, 2007, 04:26:47 PM by limubai2000 »
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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: LTI TEFL
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2007, 04:04:36 PM »
Sounds good, Limu. Encouraging to know there might be a good one out there...
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

James the Brit

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Re: LTI TEFL
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2007, 03:18:37 PM »
I went through the same course as Limu but one month before with the same people and I can only praise them. I dont have anything negative to say about the way the course is run.

I wish them well for the future.