TEFL Course Content: A Guideline
As most TEFL & TESOL Courses are designed by independent course creators (using a variety of materials and resources), there are no set/strict curricula that should be followed. Some courses are created for online learning only whilst others may be offered as face-to-face courses or as hybrid courses (including both face-to-face and online training elements). In this post we´ll put forward some course content options that you may wish to consider.
Bearing this in mind, there are some basic elements and inclusions that you should include in your TEFL or TESOL course content. During the accreditation process, an institution will be required to submit a course outline (including modules/areas covered) as well as entry requirements, duration (number of hours), and tutor/teacher running the course etc… This section will be found in the application form (Course Details – Appendix 2). The scope of accreditation does not extend to assisting in the development of courses – but rather to an overview and guideline of the different elements (course content) to be considered.
What should be included?
A TEFL or TESOL course should include topics or areas covering the teaching of language skills, grammar, lesson planning and classroom management. Below we have listed some inclusions you may wish to consider. This list is by no means comprehensive, nor is it meant to be prescriptive – but merely serves as a guideline.
Teaching Approaches & Methodology
Mention should be included in your courses of some of the various teaching approaches and methodologies prevalent in the teaching of English. These may include some of the following:
- Task-based Learning
- The Communicative Approach
- The Silent Way
- Total Physical Response
- Additionally, one could include a section on language acquisition and language learning (children/adults).
Teaching Language Skills
This section/module should focus on the teaching of the 4 language skills – namely: reading, writing listening and speaking.
Reading/Listening: reading/listening for gist and specific information, extended reading, the use of readers, using recordings and songs etc…
Writing: handwriting, story starters, guided writing, paragraphs, punctuation, writing letters and essays etc…
Speaking: role-play, discussions etc…
Teaching Language Systems
This section/module should focus on the teaching of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation (phonemic script, intonation…) and functional language (use in everyday life situations/register etc…). In most cases, you won´t need to cover all aspects of English grammar – but usually the basics, tenses and the tools to get your teachers started. Vocabulary should include concept checking, word stress, spelling etc…
Your course should cover the overall structure and planning of a formal and informal lesson plan. This should include aims and objectives, main/subsidiary aims and the identification of potential problems and solutions. Furthermore, attention should be given to warmers, vocabulary/structures, revision, tasks, feedback and the inclusion of activities and warmers/fillers. Teachers should also be taught how to assign appropriate timing to the various components of their lesson plan.
Classroom Management and Teaching Techniques
Classroom management is a vital component to include in your TEFL or TESOL course. You should consider aspects such as seating arrangements, pair and group work, arranging discussions and role-play and discipline. Additionally, you could cover areas such as checking understanding, getting student feedback, giving clear instructions, gestures and so on…
Identifying different learning styles
Here you can guide your student teachers how to identify the various ways in which students learn and how best to adjust your teaching to suit the different needs of their English students. This may include the adjustment of teaching materials, grouping of students or the preparation of additional materials for different groups of English students.
Classroom Materials & Resources
Teachers should be taught the difference between authentic and non-authentic materials. Moreover, they can be taught how to use course books, adapt materials and use realia/multi-media/smartboards etc…
Additional Options & Inclusions
You could consider including sections in your courses which cover various specialisations such as Teaching Young Learners/Children, Teaching Business English, Teaching English Online, Teaching Exam Preparation Courses, Effective Assessment.
Also, you could include a section on cultural considerations and what to be aware of when teaching foreign nationals.
Making your courses interesting and interactive
Consider making your courses interesting by including various modes of instruction such as text, video, audio and interactive activities and exercises.
Include Assessment & Grading
A good course should include assessment of what the student-teacher has learned during a section/module or the course as a whole. This may be in the form of quizzes, assignments, essays, journals, checklists or a final exam. This will give your course weight and encourage the student teacher to apply themselves in order to learn and earn their certificate. Grades will also ensure that teachers meet the minimal level required of an entry-level English teacher. Furthermore, employers and agents will want their teachers to be able to enter the classroom with confidence and the appropriate skills to get on with the job.
Practical or Observed Teaching Practise
A practical or observed teaching practise component is usually included in face-to-face courses. This may involve teachers giving a lesson to real students or fellow colleagues on the same course.
Many courses include a section on what types of jobs are available in the English teaching industry and how to go about finding them. This could include a placement service or advice on which websites or agents to use. Some providers may include resume assistance, a blog with employment articles etc… Some course providers will also offer practical advice on how to have their certificates apostilled or legalised for use in certain countries abroad.
An Example Course Outine
Here’s a possible course outline for a 120-hour online TEFL course:
Module 1: Introduction to TEFL
- Overview of TEFL and its importance
- Brief history of TEFL
- Types of English language learners and their needs
- Approaches and methods in teaching English as a foreign language
Module 2: Grammar and Vocabulary
- Parts of speech
- Tenses and verb forms
- Conditionals and modals
- Word formation and derivation
- Lexical sets and collocations
- Common errors in grammar and vocabulary
Module 3: Pronunciation and Listening
- Phonetics and phonology
- Vowels and consonants
- Stress and intonation
- Connected speech and weak forms
- Techniques for improving listening skills
Module 4: Reading and Writing
- Reading comprehension strategies
- Types of texts and genres
- Writing skills and techniques
- Paragraph structure and cohesion
- Common errors in writing
Module 5: Classroom Management
- Setting up and organizing a classroom
- Establishing rapport with students
- Classroom language and routines
- Managing student behavior and discipline
- Differentiated instruction and individualized learning
Module 6: Assessment and Evaluation
- Types of assessment and evaluation
- Testing and grading principles
- Portfolio assessment
- Providing feedback and correction
- Using assessment to inform teaching and learning
Module 7: Teaching English to Young Learners
- Characteristics of young learners
- Age-appropriate materials and activities
- Classroom management strategies for young learners
- Assessment and evaluation of young learners
- Tips for teaching English to young learners
Module 8: Teaching English for Specific Purposes
- Overview of ESP and its types
- Needs analysis and course design
- Materials and activities for ESP
- Assessment and evaluation in ESP
- Tips for teaching ESP
Module 9: Technology and TEFL
- Overview of technology in TEFL
- Types of technology and their uses
- Benefits and challenges of using technology in TEFL
- Integration of technology into lesson planning and delivery
- Developing digital literacy skills for students
Module 10: Professional Development
- Continuing professional development for TEFL teachers
- Reflective practice and self-evaluation
- Networking and professional organizations
- Opportunities for career advancement in TEFL
- Creating a personal development plan
This is just one possible outline, and the content and sequence of the modules can be adjusted based on the course objectives and target audience. The course can also include practical activities, assignments, and assessments to help learners apply the concepts and skills they have learned.
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