What is Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)?

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  2. February 11, 2013 12:15 am

What is Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)?

Understanding TEFL Instruction

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) instructors could teach various age groups and could be teaching students who are learning English for a variety of reasons. From children to adults, from schools to business training programs, a TEFL instructor’s main purpose is to teach students whose native language is not English the basics of English grammar, sentence structure, and conversation.

Becoming a TEFL Instructor
One option for becoming a TEFL instructor is to receive certification or licensure through a university. To be admitted to a TEFL, sometimes called Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), certificate program at most universities, applicants will need to be native speakers of English, or some schools will accept applicants with a minimum score on a TOEFL test. Other institutions offer minors to become certified in TEFL, and there are master’s programs throughout English-speaking countries as well.

Several private companies offer training programs for TEFL instructors as well. Most training programs are certificate-based courses, much like those offered at traditional institutions, and many programs are offered through an online or hybrid curriculum.

Where to Teach
Once qualified to teach TEFL, instructors have options for teaching students who are learning English. Positions exist both in English-speaking countries and in non-native English-speaking countries. Primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools in English-speaking countries offer courses in EFL or ESL. Outside of English-speaking countries, instructors can teach in traditional classrooms and business training programs.

TEFL Methods
Methods for TEFL range from immersion styles to grammar translation to audio-lingual to the direct method. In most cases, the importance of speaking English is emphasized and learning through conversation over strict adherence to grammatical and mechanical structure lessons. Techniques include using flashcards, worksheets, reading and vocabulary activities, and computer and audio lessons based on student needs.

TEFL is an increasingly marketable and needed ability, and instructors are needed around the world.


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