I just recently completed the Oxford Seminars TEFL program and have received my 60 hour teaching certificate, and will receive my 40-hour online component shortly. I want to give a thorough review of what I liked and disliked about the class, while it is fresh in my mind. Overall, I have some good things to say about the class, as it prepares you well in the short amount of time the class lasts.
Another reason I would like to review Oxford Seminars is because I noticed that there really aren’t very many in depth reviews on the class at all. You might be able to find some message boards, but that is about it.
Is Oxford Seminars worth $1200?
Paying $1200 for a TEFL and not knowing when you are going to use it exactly, can be a big risk for you. You can definitely find many other cheaper TEFL’s online, that will most likely be able to get you a job anyway. It remains to be seen for me, if the $1200 is worth it, based on when and where I teach. Also, what my salary will be. However, Oxford Seminars is a very reputable company, and as long as you complete the certification, you are GUARANTEED a job. Not to mention, you get an adviser, who basically is going to do all of the work for you, after you submit your resume and cover letter to them.
If you research anything about teaching in other countries, there are two things you basically need, in order to teach in a wide variety of places.
A Bachelor’s Degree
You will be able to get a lot of jobs in foreign countries with just a bachelor’s degree. However, they are making it tougher now a days, and a lot of the more popular teaching destinations are requiring a TEFL as well.
TEFL certificate – Preferably with in class teaching hours
One of the reasons I did end up going with the Oxford Seminars, is because they do have a 60-hour in class teaching practicum. A lot of places hiring English teachers require in class teaching. If you haven’t actually taught English before, then the practicum is the way to go.
The two main reasons that it was worth it for me, is because of the guaranteed placement, and the in class component. I am considering teaching in Busan, South Korea, and they don’t really even consider you, without at least 60 in class hours of teaching. The guaranteed placement, you get forever. If you finish the class today, and you would like to teach 4 years from now, you will still get help from advisers.
Rather than sitting on the internet emailing back and forth with random schools on the other side of the world, you have the help of people that have actually taught English in foreign countries before. They know what schools are reputable, and how to negotiate based on their experience. Don’t get me wrong, you can teach without this certificate, but it will be a lot more risky because you have no experience.
The in class component was over a three week period, where I attended on Saturdays and Sundays from 8-6. Depending on your teacher, they could cut this short. I would say 4 out of the 6 days we were out of the classroom by 4:30.
Most of the in class is about theory of how to teach to certain age groups, certain countries, and certain learners. Because if you can understand these differences, it will allow you to be a much more effective teacher.
Our teacher would have us play games that we might use with any age group we were teaching, and then show us how to turn that game into a whole lesson.
You receive three books in all, that have many activities, teaching theories, and other beneficial information you will need when you get your first teaching gig.
You have to teach to your class on two separate occasions. The first one is an activity that lasts 5 minutes. Any type of game that you can find on the internet for teaching, or in your book was fine. And the second part, was a 30 minute lesson. Where you basically combine the different elements you have learned, and make it flow so it’s easy for the class to understand.
Our teacher told us that the smallest classes are usually in the spring time. I only had a total, including me, of six people in my class. However, during the summer months, she said they average anywhere from 10-15 people. I liked the fact that we had 6 people in my class, because that meant we could ask more questions, and participate more. And everyone got to know each other, really well.
The only drawbacks of the in class component were, that sometimes you felt like you already know everything you are going over. It’s not very hard, and so it can become tedious. However, you have to realize, that depending on what age group you want to teach, teaching could become tedious as well. It just depends on how you are.
Besides that, our teacher did a really good job of explaining the different aspects we need to be successful.
The online component is composed of 100 questions, all multiple choice. You have 100 days from when you complete the in-class component to complete the test. Before you get to the test, they have you review and learn different aspects, through 15-16 chapters. They are mostly grammar sections, however their are some teaching situation chapters as well.
The 40-hour online component I didn’t really like. I even emailed Oxford Seminars, and let them know that the test is very vague. A lot of the questions seem like they could have multiple answers. Especially, the teaching case study sections which consist of about 30 of the 100 questions.
However, if you go over the questions multiple times you shouldn’t have a problem passing the test. You need a 65% in order to pass. I got a 79%.
I am now waiting for them to mail me my 40-hour online component part of the certificate, and I have the full 100 hour TEFL.
I haven’t tested out the advisers yet, and haven’t actually taught anywhere. So I can’t give an overall grade for how Oxford Seminars enabled me to get an amazing job. But I can tell you, that you will feel way more prepared going through the in class and online component, than doing it by yourself. And you have a reputable TEFL. Which plays a part in how much money you can make when you first start out teaching. I am going to start applying soon, and hopefully start teaching somewhere in the fall. And I will write another post, to let you know how helpful Oxford Seminars is overall, and not just for the online and in class components. If you are interested in signing up for the class, check out the dates at OxfordSeminars.com.
Let me know if you have any questions below, because I know there are probably a wide variety of questions that I missed. I will try to answer them the best I can, to make sure you make the best possible decision about going through Oxford to get your TEFL.