The Oxford TEFL Blog

Studying TEFL Online Vs Face to Face

So you know you want to study TEFL. But what’s the next step?

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right course, such as accreditation by Trinity or Cambridge, reputation of course provider and expertise of trainers and so on. And if that wasn’t enough, one of the big dilemmas future trainees face when deciding to take a TEFL course is whether to do it online (It’s cheaper! It’s easier! Or is it?) or via a presential course (Where? How? Help!). Here is a simple table of comparison explaining the pros and cons of both cases. It is important to note that this is specifically related to teaching English as a foreign language, whereas obtaining a different qualification via these two methods would present different comparisons.

Online TEFL TrainingFace to face TEFL training
Online courses provide a foundation in TEFL which could be suitable for potential teachers who may teach English short term or who want an introduction to TEFL.Face to face TEFL courses offer more in-depth training with a focus on teaching practice, a key element when preparing to be an English teacher
Cambridge and Trinity accreditation is not offered as online TEFL courses, which could limit employabilityTrinity Cert. TESOL and Cambridge CELTA are face to face courses which employers trust as a sign of quality and contain a minimum of 120 hours of training
Course length can vary and no teaching practice is provided.Trinity Cert. TESOL contains a minimum of 130 hours and Cambridge CELTA courses contain a minimum of 120 hours of training, and both with a minimum of 6 hour’s teaching practice
Lack of preparation for teaching English due to no teaching practice or feedback on teaching from a tutor.Course will include observations of your classes and fellow teachers, plus feedback sessions with a tutor

Similar topics covered, including Student Motivation; Teacher Roles & EFL Methodology; Teaching of Grammar, Vocabulary, Reading and Writing; Classroom Management and Lesson Planning.

Most include chats, forums, and other ways of participating online between trainees and tutorsSome provide online learning platforms to support the face to face aspect of the course
Training of classroom management and assessments limited to online contentHands-on training in classroom management and assessments of student levels
Support from tutor usually at specified times via email/ Skype/ online platformSupport from fellow TEFL trainees and tutors during day in-centre
Input limited to online content with no exposure to teaching methods in classroom/ workshop environmentInput sessions using a variety of teaching methods and technology in a classroom/ workshop environment
Less effective way of learning for many with no involvement during face to face input sessionMore effective way of learning, through involvement during input sessions
No experience of teaching different levelsUsually opportunities to teach a variety of levels
Flexible, studying where and when you want eg. If there is no training centre nearbyAttendance necessary and at specified times
Necessary to have your own computer, internet, books, resourcesUse of facilities in-centre, computers, internet, books, resources
Common feeling of unreadiness at the time of teaching real classes after courseConfidence-building via experience and contact with real students during teaching practice
Usually cheaper than presential coursesUsually more expensive than online courses
Most online courses offer a section on finding work in the UK or abroadMost face to face courses offer full careers support, help with writing a CV and interviews, and putting you in contact with future employers
Many employers may favour candidates who complete a face to face course and may consider online courses as not ‘real’ TEFL coursesEmployers prefer face to face TEFL training courses as it demonstrates you already have experience in the classroom and are better prepared for teaching their students

Which should you choose? Well that all depends on your budget, time frame and plans for the future. Whether you are considering the full Trinity Cert. TESOL certificate or the Online TEFL starter course contact us today to find out how we can help you decide what your next step is in TEFL.

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