TEFL, TESOL, EFL, CELTA, DELTA........
The list goes on and one; the Teaching English as a Foreign Language industry is full of acronyms, some are more obvious that others. The first two you are likely to need to fully understand as you move into a career as an English Teacher are TEFL and CELTA. These will come up as you research different training courses designed to help you to become a teacher.
So what do they all stand for?
TEFL - Teaching English as a Foreign Language
CELTA - Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults
DELTA - Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults
TESOL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
EFL - English as a Foreign Language
ESL - English as a Second Language
And what does that mean for you?
TEFL, EFL, ESL and TESOL, although different, are often used interchangeably to talk about teaching English to people who speak another language.
CELTA and DELTA are the specific names for certifications in English language teaching, accredited by Cambridge University. The CELTA is for new teachers to learn the basics. The DELTA is for experienced teachers to further develop their skills. These courses are delivered by training centres and schools worldwide, all of whom must meet strict standards put in place by Cambridge University. This is often considered the most prestigious of all the TEFL programmes.
The CELTA not the only worthwhile TEFL certification. Other programs provide equivalent standards, some offer even more in terms of standards and job opportunities after the course, The main difference is that the quality of the course you’re paying for is pretty much guaranteed, with a CELTA as providers are accredited by Cambridge University. You will need to do a bit more research to make sure a TEFL program is offering what you’re looking for, especially if it is with an organisation you haven't heard of.
So how do I choose a course?
You should consider:
I personally chose the CELTA and later the DELTA. This was in part as I lived close to a provider of both and in part because of the reputation of the course. This was before online teaching had really taken off though and I certainly do no need a CELTA for my current freelance teaching. The CELTA did lead to me getting better, longer term contracts in the UK, but it is not as necessary as it once was.
If you are thinking about becoming an online or freelance teacher our ebook is a good place to start; Getting Started in Online and Freelance Teaching Ebook
Written by Claire Collis, Founder and Managing Director of The ELT Skills Academy
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