TEFL Essentials course. The 150 hour video based TEFL Express course.
Where's my email? It said they were going to send me a verification email! Where the bloody hell is it?
I'd just finished registering at TEFL Express when everything went wrong. My hotmail account, always suspicious of my VPN had blocked me from my email account once again. Logging on to the hotmail website, I once again had to tell Microsoft of my ghostly online identity, essential to getting over the Chinese firewall and onto the real web. I fished out my TEFL Express confirmation out of the junk and was on my way.
|The look on your face when you find TEFL Express' welcome email in the junk|
I had done a TEFL Express course back in the groupon days in order to get a job at a Chinese University and wrote a review. Now I was back to see how it had changed.
The first thing I saw as I logged on to the TEFL Express virtual campus page was a great big timer, ticking down from two hours at the top of the screen. It filled me with fear. I thought I had 150 hours. It's the 150 hour essential course isn't it? I've only got two hours left? How can I stop the ticking time bomb?
As much as the time bomb at the top of the page concerned me (I later found out it was a security feature designed to keep your info secure on public computers), I decided to nose as much as I could around the site. I noticed a button saying live chat. Having always been responsible, just like if I had been in a lift or a plane cockpit, I decided to push it.
Being in China, I always use my VPN when using the internet. And although the TEFL Express website works without one, for those living in China and planning to take the course, a VPN is recommended.
After experimenting with the live chat and faffing around with some tabs, I began to explore the site in earnest.
The Course Itself:
First module, classroom management. I clicked on the link, a popup emerged with a snazzy loader, a spinning orange circle counting its way to 100% (after a minute or two stuck on 99%).
It's clear from the outset that the course is extensive and rich in content. I was greeted by a very serious looking Northern Irish lady who seems to be my video teacher. The course starts off very simply but gradually becomes more and more difficult and I was soon swimming through theory. I've got two years of teaching experience but I had to listen very closely in order to pass the timed exam.
|A serious looking teacher looking serious but fun.|
The theory is no doubt useful for anyone wanting to teach without any experience in a foreign country and would no doubt help anyone pass a CELTA exam. It's also worth mentioning that all TEFL Express courses are fully accredited by ACCREDITAT, and they also offer CELTA training in London, Moscow, Hanoi & Beijing if you want to take the course offline and into the real world.
One of my concerns last time I used TEFL express was that the course I chose had no practical side. I would learn all the theory but I wouldn’t see it applied in a classroom setting. To be fair, as an online only course this would be difficult to achieve logistically, but this time, the 150hr TEFL Essentials Course comes complete with real teachers notes about problems in the classroom, how they pop up and how to resolve them as well as testimonials from students about how they feel during class and how teachers affect their studies.
|What the TEFL Express 150hr Essentials course actually looks like|
The course also includes a video series of a TEFL teacher teaching a group of adult students from various countries, showing the theory that has just been learned applied in practice. This is helpful for anyone worried about how to use what they learn in a real classroom setting, although classroom hours are essential to progressing as a teacher. I also like how the teacher makes quite a few basic mistakes, eliciting TEFL Express students to shout at the screen, I found myself shouting a few times which is testament to how much I had just learned from the theory.
Would I buy the TEFL Express course again?
It's certainly a lot better than it was a few years ago, it's detailed, more difficult, richer when it comes to content and offers practical help. The certificate is also enough to get you a job here in China, so if I was a newbie, preparing to travel the world by teaching English as a second language, yes, I would choose TEFL Express again.