• Home
  • Search
    •  
  • Login
    • Username: Password:

      Did you miss your activation email?

Author Topic: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?  (Read 6806 times)

inkpen

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 35
    • ni hao brian
is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« on: February 02, 2011, 03:12:14 AM »
I have a friend teaching for a private school in Tianjin and she recommended I get a certificate from ICAL (http://www.icalweb.com/cms/index.php).  Has anybody had any experience with them?

I don't have any certifications, and only informal teaching experience.  I'd prefer to teach youngsters (I think...).

Let me know what's up with all these certificates!!

thanks,
Brian

Fozzwaldus

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 1828
Re: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 04:25:28 AM »
Dunno about ICAL to be honest, but if you plan on teaching for the mid to long term, I'd recommend doing a 100 hours "on site" course rather than online.

Firstly, online Certs are not usually accepted by the best employers (I don't include your average language mill/third tier Chinese university in this) and so are better if you want to try to work your way up to a decent job.

Secondly, if you haven't taught before, the classroom practice and feedback from experienced tutors can be invaluable. It means that when you do get a job that it won't be the first time you've stood up to teach a class, which was very important to me, way back when.

That said, ICAL might be a well respected institution that provides top-notch correspondence courses and I've just never heard of it. There're plenty of things I've never heard of.  agagagagag
两只老外, 两只老外,跑得快,跑得快,
一个是老酒鬼,一个是老色鬼,真奇怪, 真奇怪

inkpen

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 35
    • ni hao brian
Re: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2011, 04:44:48 AM »
Fozzwaldus, thanks for the response.  are there any courses or groups you would recommend using?  I am in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area.

I have seen some of the courses where you go overseas and take them but those seem pretty expensive after factoring everything in.

thanks!

Fozzwaldus

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 1828
Re: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2011, 04:52:07 AM »
Hey Inkpen,

'fraid I haven't got a clue about anything Stateside. Hopefully some of our American members will pitch in.

Good luck!
两只老外, 两只老外,跑得快,跑得快,
一个是老酒鬼,一个是老色鬼,真奇怪, 真奇怪

El Macho

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 643
  • 东北人都是活雷锋
Re: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2011, 06:38:58 AM »
The CELTA is probably the highest regarded of the various TEFL certification courses since they are regulated by a central organization. I believe that they are offered in Dallas, but you would need to do a bit of googling to make sure.

CELTA aside, I would suggest that if you do choose to do a "live" TEFL class, you only pay for one that includes teaching English language learners (ELLs). Many of the in-person classes have you give demo lessons to you fellow teachers. If you have massive problems speaking in front of people, I guess this can be helpful, but really teaching a bunch of native speakers is nothing like being in a classroom with actual ELLs.

If you're not getting a CELTA and not getting the chance to teach ELLs, I don't think the $1000+ is a very good investment. You'd be better off doing a cheap online class and buying ¥500 of teaching books when you get to China.

Pashley

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 1647
    • My page at Citizendium
Re: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2011, 01:20:44 PM »
Check http://wikitravel.org/en/Teaching_English for links to Cambridge CELTA and Trinity College's certs. Those are the ones to get if you either need something to impress most employers or want real teacher training.

Also check a thread here about one of our people doing a CELTA in Vietnam right about now.

As Raoul says, spending large amounts of time or money on any cert except CELTA makes little sense. If you are going to invest significant resources, get a CELTA.
Who put a stop payment on my reality check?

Raoul F. Duke

  • Lovable Rogue
  • Despot in Absentia
  • *****
  • Posts: 9573
  • "Be specific if you order the mushrooms!"
Re: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2011, 06:07:01 AM »
Yep. Plenty said on this elsewhere....

CELTA and Trinity are highly regarded and of some value, but are quite expensive and only worthwhile if you're going to make a career of this.

Otherwise, you generally don't really need any kind of certificate. A college degree is the requirement; if you have one you're going to find work in China. If you don't have one, you're probably not going to be legally employable as an English teacher...and a cert likely won't make any difference. A degree is enough.

If you feel really nervous about being a teacher, take a real-time hands-on certificate course...doesn't matter where. But do this for YOU...not to impress an employer.

IMHO an online cert, from ANYWHERE, is virtually worthless...doesn't help you OR impress an employer. Might tip the scales a bit if you have an employment challenge, such as being non-Caucasian (sorry) or not from a Big Six country (USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand).
Otherwise...don't waste your time or money. kkkkkkkkkk
"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)

becster79

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 1651
Re: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2011, 02:18:08 PM »
Yep, totally recommend CELTA- in fact, tomorrow is my last day  agagagagag bhbhbhbhbh!!!

Extremely challenging and rewarding thing to do, worth every cent (which was a lot cheaper here in Thailand, btw!)
10 easy steps to stop procrastination.

1.

inkpen

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 35
    • ni hao brian
Re: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2011, 05:47:25 PM »
Thanks for all the info guys.  Glad to get the input on the ICAL certificate before I did it.

I have a degree and don't really think I am going to make a career of this so I will skip it for now, maybe if there is a CELTA course overseas and the price is decent I would consider it.  I have no classroom experience but I think I'll be able to rough it.

 bhbhbhbhbh

Slim Pickens

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 181
Reading List
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2011, 07:28:32 PM »
I have no classroom experience but I think I'll be able to rough it.

I think it would be handy to walk into a classroom with at least a few tools to hand.  The following books often appear on CELTA reading lists:

How to Teach English by Jeremy Harmer
Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener (Highly Recommended)
Teach Yourself Teaching English as a Foreign Language by David Riddell

I would also pack a book on games for the language classroom, something like:

Games for Language Learning by Andrew Wright, Davide Betteridge and Michael Buckby

Once you have a few games up your sleeve they're easily adaptable for teaching any grammar point etc.

Do you 'torrent'?  If so, I would run a search for teaching English books and load up your laptop with the material that's available to download, for example: PDF versions of Michael Swan's Practical English Usage (which I dip into when there's a question that I can't answer immediately in class).

Apologies if all this comes across as being a bit preachy, but I wish someone had given me this list before I had walked into a classroom as a teacher for the first time.

Raoul F. Duke

  • Lovable Rogue
  • Despot in Absentia
  • *****
  • Posts: 9573
  • "Be specific if you order the mushrooms!"
Re: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2011, 12:32:57 AM »
Great stuff, Slim! bfbfbfbfbf
I'm 110% all for preparation, competence, and confidence in the classroom...I just don't think a low-rent cert program, especially an online one, is a very good way to attain those things. kkkkkkkkkk

Inkpen, "You Have Chosen Wisely". agagagagag
"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)

becster79

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 1651
Re: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2011, 01:16:13 AM »
Advice- if you're going to do CELTA, BRUSH UP on your grammar beforehand! Mine sucks bigtime and my only 'not to standard' lesson happened to be on comparatives & superlatives!

Oh, and mine here in Bangkok cost $1600, one of the cheapest in the world!
10 easy steps to stop procrastination.

1.

Raoul F. Duke

  • Lovable Rogue
  • Despot in Absentia
  • *****
  • Posts: 9573
  • "Be specific if you order the mushrooms!"
Re: is ICAL TEFL certificate worth it?
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2011, 01:54:04 AM »
Excellent advice, indeed...programs like the CELTA will chase you into English grammar territory you hardly imagined existed. aoaoaoaoao

Of course, one would think that ANYONE considering teaching English would have a firm and respectable command of the language, right?

RIGHT? bibibibibi llllllllll

Oh...might learn how to use an apostrophe, too. uuuuuuuuuu
"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)