Published 30th June 2016

TEFL course online vs classroom

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There are many different TEFL courses on offer these days, and a couple of different methods of instruction. There are TEFL courses which are 100% face-to-face in a classroom, either full-time or part-time; there are TEFL courses which are 100% online; and there are TEFL courses which are a blend of both – online with a few face-to-face sessions as well. How, then, do they differ?

Grammar, Skills, Lesson planning, Classroom management, Theories of TEFL: these are the kinds of modules you can expect when you do a TEFL course. The aim of the TEFL course is to prepare you to be able to teach English as a foreign language, so you need to be familiar with principles of teaching and learning, as well as the foundations of the English language. Besides theoretical knowledge, a TEFL course should give insight into a TEFL classroom and the practical aspects of being a TEFL teacher. This is, essentially, what is in a TEFL course, whether it is online or in a classroom. In other words, a TEFL course in a classroom and an online TEFL course should include the same content.

The similarities end at the content, though. With a classroom TEFL course, you are required to be at a certain place at a certain time to receive your instruction. For an online TEFL course, you are given the materials and it is up to you to read them and do the assignments. You can do this anywhere and at any time. What’s more, you can decide what is the best way for you to learn and retain the information and you can study whichever way is best for you; there is no teacher dictating how you should study.

In a classroom TEFL course, you are able to ask your trainer questions immediately, as they arise. Your trainer will lead you through the materials and you will progress together as a class. There will be tasks and activities which you will be required to do with your classmates. With an online TEFL course you have no classmates, in the traditional sense. There is no trainer on hand whenever you are confused, though you will be able to send an online message to a tutor. You can work at your own pace. You will not need to work with classmates so any tasks and activities that you do will need to be done on your own.

If you consider all these factors, there are obvious pros and cons for each option. Which TEFL course you decide to do depends entirely on you as an individual and your learning style. Not everyone copes well in a classroom situation, but not everyone has the dedication and motivation to tackle a course on their own without any structure or encouragement.