Common TEFL Myths Busted! | The TEFL Academy (2023)

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Did you hear the one about the TEFL teacher who couldn’t get a job because they couldn’t speak Spanish? Or the one about the guy who completed a 120-hour TEFL course in a day? Yip, there are plenty of TEFL myths out there – and we’re here to bust them!

TEFL myth 1: If you can speak English you can teach English

Untrue! Speaking a language is very different to being able to teach a language.

Think about driving a car. Just because you can drive a car doesn’t necessarily mean you know exactly how an engine works, or can explain why we need to use different gears at different times. And you might not know how to fix a car when it has broken down. But you can drive!

Speaking a language doesn’t mean you understand grammar and the rules of the language, or can explain why we saystrong coffeebut notpowerful coffee.This is why we have TEFL courses – to teach you everything you need to know to be able to teach English as a foreign language.

Common TEFL Myths Busted! | The TEFL Academy (1)

TEFL myth 2: All TEFL courses are the same

Definitely not! TEFL courses vary in content, length, accreditation, and cost.

(Video) 7 TEFL Myths Busted!

There are no regulations when it comes to TEFL courses. One TEFL course can be completely different to another one. This is why it’s so important that you trust your TEFL course provider, so you know that you are getting value for money.

At a bare minimum, a TEFL course teaches you the basics of teaching English as a foreign language. It gives you an overview of English grammar and the skills involved in speaking the language. It shows you how to lesson plan, collate resources, develop materials, manage a classroom and assess students, among other things.

Read more: What Do You Learn On A TEFL Course?

The quality of the content of the course is essential to your success as a TEFL teacher. There is no way a $20 TEFL course can give you the knowledge and skills you need to be an effective teacher. And without a quality TEFL certification, there is little chance of you finding a job – so what’s the point?

FYI: The TEFL Academy offers TEFL courses which are accredited, reputable and internationally recognised. A TEFL course from The TEFL Academy is everything you need to get a job teaching English.

TEFL myth 3: You must be a native speaker to teach English

Nope! Your first language has no bearing on your ability as a TEFL teacher. What matters is your proficiency in English.

It’s true that native English speakers have a natural feel for the language. But that doesn’t mean they understand the underlying reasons the language is the way it is, or that they can explain it. Non-native speakers, on the other hand, have taken the same journey as their students, so they understand them better. Plus they are often able to explain the rules of the language better, because they have learnt them themselves.

(Video) Myths about teaching that you've been told (and probably believed)

Common TEFL Myths Busted! | The TEFL Academy (2)

TEFL myth 4: Teaching English is the same as teaching other subjects

Not true! Teaching English as a foreign language is teaching, but it’s very different to teaching in the popular context.

Teaching methods and styles are very different in a TEFL classroom than in a mainstream classroom. TEFL classrooms are practical spaces. There is lots of communication and collaboration. Learning a language is a team effort in a classroom. A TEFL teacher acts as a guide more than a teacher. Lessons are more student-centred than in traditional classrooms.

You don’t need to study teaching in order to be a TEFL teacher. A TEFL course will teach you everything you need to know to be able to teach English as a foreign language.

TEFL myth 5: You need to speak the local language

Definitely not! It’s common sense to think that you need to speak Spanish to be able to teach a Spanish-speaker English. But it’s totally not true.

Many studies have found that immersion is the best manner of learning a language. If you cannot speak Spanish, your learner is forced to be immersed in English in the classroom. They have no choice but to learn English in order to survive the lessons. While speaking the language can have some benefits – being able to use translation, for example – it’s actually not widely recommended. In fact, many schools will ask you to pretend you cannot speak the language even if you do, just so the students won’t learn to rely on your translation.

TEFL myth 6: You can only teach in a foreign country

Wait, what?!Of course being in a foreign country often means that there are numerous opportunities for English teachers, but doing TEFL in an English-speaking country is an equally possible scenario.

(Video) Teach English in Prague, Czech Republic #5 - TEFL Social Takeover

Think about it. Tommy is 12 and he lives in Thailand. He takes English lessons at his school with a TEFL teacher. But Sara is 24. She is Brazilian but has finished school. Her English is still not very good and she would like to study in the UK. So Sara decides to go the UK and take English lessons at a language school for a year before she applies to study at an English-medium university. Jo is a Japanese businessman. His company sends him to South Africa once a year for a month to brush up on his English for his work.

There are a range of different scenarios for TEFL teaching. Being a TEFL teacher doesn’t actually have to mean that you travel to a faraway land; you can do it in your own country.

Common TEFL Myths Busted! | The TEFL Academy (3)

TEFL myth 7: TEFL teachers only teach children

Incorrect! TEFL teachers teach all ages of students.

Here are just a few TEFL situations:

  • teaching English in a kindergarten in China
  • teaching teens in a school in Italy
  • teaching businessmen and -women in-house in Germany
  • teaching Academic English to university students in England
  • teaching English for Aviation to pilots in France
  • teaching English to backpackers in a language school in the US

So you see, it’s not only Young Learners who need to learn English.

TEFL myth 8: I’m too old to be a TEFL teacher

Simply not true. While many of the younger generation do opt to teach English after graduation, they are by no means the only people who choose to do so.

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You’ll meet a variety of individuals from diverse and eclectic backgrounds, some who are straight of university, and others who have had professional jobs before embarking upon a career change. Age, and experience in other industries, is no barrier as a TEFL teacher. In fact, many schools value the knowledge and life experience of older teachers.

TEFL myth 9: Being an English teacher is a walk in the park

Think again! Being an English teacher abroad is endless fun, full of adventure, but also hard work.

There are many who think that you can waltz into school with no lesson plan, fudge your way through a class and consistently get away with it. Teachers often have to go through probation and pass an observation, and it will show if you haven’t done your preparation. If you try and bluff your way through your lessons, you’ll also limit the possibilities for your own development. Take it seriously, you’ll have much more fun and get the most out off this incredible opportunity.

Common TEFL Myths Busted! | The TEFL Academy (4)

TEFL myth 10: TEFL isn’t a career

Oh yes it is! The beauty of TEFL is its flexibility.

You can teach English abroad for a few weeks on a summer camp, a year at a school, or a decade! What’s more, while there’s no reason you can’t teach for the rest of your working life, a TEFL qualification opens doors to a range of other possibilities as well. A TEFL teacher can teach, but can also develop materials, blog, write articles, become a Director of Studies, assess learners for exams – there are endless opportunities for TEFL teachers. You never know where TEFL is going to take you.

The bottom line? Don’t believe everything you read! Talk to experienced professionals (like us!) who can make sure you get to the truth of the matter!

(Video) ESL - How to write a Myth (Brainstorm, writing, etc)


Can you fail an online TEFL course? ›

Yes, it is possible to fail the TEFL course.

What is the pass rate for TEFL course? ›

For instance, It is very rare for any student to fail a TEFL certification course provided by International TEFL Academy. As a matter of fact, International TEFL Academy has a passing rate of over 90% (one of the highest passing rates of any TEFL school worldwide).

How legit is the TEFL Academy? ›

The TEFL Academy is one of the major organizations offering teaching English as a foreign language courses online and in classrooms all around the world. They are acknowledged by DEAC and Qualifi, respectively, government-approved awarding organisations in the US and the UK.

How long does it take to complete the TEFL Academy course? ›

The TEFL Academy offers a comprehensive 168-hour Level 5 TEFL course that you can complete a majority of online (148 hours) over the course of six months (or less, if you have more time to commit), with the final 20 hours taking place in a classroom.

How many students fail online classes? ›

The success rate for online classes is only 50 percent as opposed to 75 percent for face-to-face courses. Students who are struggling in a course are more likely to become discouraged and drop out. It is important to seek out help before you get “lost” in the course and lose motivation to continue.

Can I finish TEFL in one day? ›

While it's possible to complete the course this quickly if you have enough time to devote to it, it's not something we recommend. There are a couple of reasons for this. To get the most out of your TEFL course it's important to take your time with it.

Is 30 too old to do TEFL? ›

Anyone aged 18 and older can take a TEFL course from International TEFL Academy (ITA). However, know that more teaching opportunities will become available to you as you move in your 20s and beyond.

Is a 120 hour TEFL course enough? ›

When searching for a TEFL course, many students ask 'is a 120-hour TEFL certificate enough to teach in a classroom or online?' . It may not feel like enough time to become a qualified teacher, but we can assure you that it is. 120 hours is the bare minimum that most ESL employers will ask you to complete.

Is the 120 hour TEFL worth it? ›

Generally, a 120-hour TEFL certificate is enough to train you in the basics of teaching English abroad, and allow you to find entry-level jobs in many countries. Most new TEFL teachers can succeed with one. Those wishing to advance their teaching skills or work in certain nations may find it insufficient.

Does TEFL guarantee a job? ›

TEFL Certification alone isn't always enough to get you a job. To have the best possible chance of getting hired, you should also have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, be a native or fluent English speaker, and meet all of the TEFL job requirements for the country where you've chosen to teach.

What is the fastest TEFL certification online? ›

The international standard 120 hour TEFL course is one of the quickest and most convenient ways to become fully qualified to teach English as a foreign language.

Which institute is best for TEFL? ›

Best TEFL Certification Programs of 2023
  • Best Overall: International TEFL Academy.
  • Best Online Program: Premier TEFL.
  • Best Budget-Friendly Option: ITT.
  • Best for Student Support: TEFL Org.
  • Best Hybrid Program: ITTT.
  • Best for Specializations: Teach Away.
  • Best for Overseas Job Placement: TEFLPros.
  • Best for Online Teaching: i-to-i.
Mar 30, 2023

How many hours a week do TEFL teachers work? ›

Typical teaching hours would be around 25 hours per week but again you will be expected to plan and create materials for your classes, which could typically add an additional 10 hours a week to your schedule.

How much is a 120 hour TEFL course? ›

Course overview
Course Fee$429.00
With70% off$129.00
Add ons
Total to pay$129.00
1 more row

How long does a 120 hour TEFL take? ›

Depending on how the course is structured, a 120-hour TEFL course can take anywhere from one month to six months. Shorter courses are more intensive and require full-time study.

Is it normal to fail online classes? ›

In fact, online classes can be even more difficult than traditional courses, especially if you haven't studied remotely before. Struggle with adjusting to this format might lead to a failing grade and low academic performance, especially if your time management skills are lacking.

What happens if you fail a online class? ›

If you fail a class, you'll get a 0 on your transcript — and that can bring down your GPA. Failed classes count toward your GPA, though some colleges do not count pass/fail classes in your GPA calculation. If you get an F, you still have to pay for the class without receiving any credit toward your degree.

What is the success rate of online classes? ›

Success rates tend to be higher in face-to-face classes. In Fall 15, face-to-face classes had a success rate of 69% versus only 60% in online classes, a gap of 9%. However, this gap has been decreasing, with only a 3% gap in success rates in Fall 19 (70% in face-to-face versus 67% online).

Is 150 hour TEFL Level 5? ›

Level 5 TEFL courses have at least 168 hours of study time and are naturally more in depth than a level 3 TEFL qualification.

Is Level 5 TEFL worth it? ›

This level is ideal for accessing the best TEFL jobs out there. Better paid TEFL jobs, whether that's online or abroad, will be more accessible if you have a Level 5 certificate. Plus, a Level 5 certificate on your CV will open doors to teaching in competitive locations, like the Middle East.

Can you do TEFL for 3 months? ›

The BENEFITS of short term TEFL contracts

On the other end of the teaching abroad timeline spectrum, one of the major benefits of choosing a short duration (three to six months) is that you can dip your toe in the (often unpredictable) TEFL job waters to see if a particular experience fits your needs.

Is there a demand for TEFL teachers? ›

It is estimated that over 100 000 positions open up for TEFL teachers all over the world EVERY YEAR – and that's not even considering online teaching. But there is still a need for more TEFL teachers. The nature of teaching English as a foreign language is that teachers are constantly moving.

Is 60 too old to become a teacher? ›

Can you be too old to teach? The short answer is no. Teaching takes focus, dedication, and a degree of stamina, but some teaching jobs take more energy than others – particularly jobs in early childhood education or physical education.

Is there a demand for TEFL? ›

Europe. With more than 150 million English language learners, Europe represents a much smaller market than Asia, but the demand for TEFL-trained teachers is still enormous.

Is CELTA or TEFL better? ›

CELTA is certainly a widely recognized and respected type of TEFL certification. However, that doesn't mean it's the best TEFL certification for you. If you're interested in teaching children, for example, a TEFL certification is better since CELTA is specific to adults.

Can you do TEFL for 6 months? ›

There is no right or wrong length of time, and your experience will be what you make of it. And remember, your TEFL certification is lifetime and recognized worldwide. So if you decide to go home after only a year abroad and then eight months (or eight years!)

Is TEFL lucrative? ›

The pay to teach English abroad varies, but you can expect to earn a decent salary. In top-paying countries, teachers can get paid a salary of anywhere from $2,000 to over $5,000 USD per month. Your TEFL salary will depend on your position, qualifications and the country you teach in.

Is TEFL a good side hustle? ›

If you're TEFL certified – we'll get to that – you can earn good money teaching English online. Ultimately, it depends on how you do it. Provided you join an online English teaching company and work a certain amount of contracted hours, you'll find that the going rate for lessons can be quite high.

What is the difference between 120 hour and 150 hour TEFL? ›

'120-hour course Pro' consists of 6 modules, '150-hour course Master' - 10 modules, '250-hour course Expert' - 13 modules. The '120-hour course Pro' is a core course. The '150-hour course Master,' besides all the basic units, has an 'Advanced Teaching English online' course.

How many hours of TEFL do I need to teach abroad? ›

Generally 120 hours minimum is the most common requirement, but some countries only require 100 hours or have no preference at all. Most employers prefer to hire English teachers with an internationally recognized TEFL certification from a 100-120-hour course.

Does TEFL look good on a resume? ›

Teaching English abroad & TEFL look good on a resume as it showcases valuable skills such as adaptability, communication, teaching, problem-solving, and a willingness to take risks and explore new environments.

Is there a demand for online TEFL teachers? ›

There's a particular need for online TEFL teachers, as there's a huge demand for English language learning in Asia, especially in China. You'll be able to earn an income while building your experience interacting with international students and maintaining the flexibility of an online job.

Which is better TEFL or Tesol? ›

In short, a TEFL course will suit you best if you want to teach English online and abroad to students who aren't native English speakers, for example, Chinese students. A TESOL course will be better if you want to teach English in an English-speaking country.

Does TEFL certificate expire? ›

A TEFL certificate is a lifetime qualification and doesn't require any additional training or coursework to renew it. It does not have an expiration date and you can start work immediately after receiving your TEFL certificate.

Which TEFL courses are legit? ›

In no particular order, here are our top accredited TEFL courses:
  • International TEFL Academy. ...
  • International TEFL and TESOL Training. ...
  • The Language House TEFL. ...
  • i-to-i TEFL. ...
  • Premier TEFL. ...
  • myTEFL. ...
  • TEFL Worldwide Prague. ...
  • Maximo Nivel.

Are TEFL certificates worth it? ›

Is TEFL Certification Worth It? Yes. If you want to get a good teaching job and be an effective teacher for your students, then it is definitely worth it. Remember, most schools worldwide require a TEFL certification; and once you're certified you can the ball rolling on applying and interviewing for jobs.

Where are TEFL teachers paid the most? ›

Now that you know where the best places to make money with TEFL are, let's take a look at the teaching abroad salary by country:
  1. South Korea ($1,850-$2,650 USD a month) ...
  2. China ($1,200-$2,600 USD a month) ...
  3. Japan ($1,700-$2,600 USD a month) ...
  4. Taiwan ($2,000-$3,000 USD a month) ...
  5. Gulf Arab States ($2,000-$5,000 USD a month)
Mar 28, 2023

Where is the best place to get your TEFL? ›

8 Best Online TEFL Courses in 2023
  • MyTEFL offers 120-hour courses (with 50% off using this link)
  • TEFL Pros offers a free 2-day trial.
  • TEFL Academy has Level 5 TEFL certifications that are often 60% off (using this link)
  • ITTT is the longest-running TEFL company and you can get 15% off (using this link)
Jan 13, 2023

What are the big seven TEFL countries? ›

Most of the time in TEFL, the term 'native English-speaker' is used to refer to people with a passport from one of the 'Big Seven', i.e., UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

What can you do with a 120 hour TEFL certificate? ›

120 hours is considered the baseline for a professional-level TEFL certification for teaching English abroad or online. Not all 120-hour TEFL courses meet international standards, so it's essential to seek out those that are accredited and include live practice teaching.

Is it hard being a TEFL teacher? ›

TEFL teaching is anything but straightforward. It can be stressful and pressurised trying to work out and meet the expectations of the students, parents and school leaders. As well as having to settle into a new culture away from family and friends, money can be tight and the next payday can seem a long way off.

How many hours is a full day of teaching? ›

Depending on what state you live in and what your particular district rules are, the average school day is anywhere from 6 to 8 hours long.

What is the cheapest TEFL TESOL certification? ›

ITT International TEFL and TESOL is the most affordable, accredited online TEFL course available right now. TEFL students can enroll in a course for as low as $79, with certification options spanning 60-hour, 120-hour, and 180-hour courses.

Can you do TEFL full time? ›

You can also choose to enroll in a four week, full-time TEFL program at an international location or a part-time, three month online TEFL certification course. In addition to top-notch training, the International TEFL Academy will provide you with lifetime TEFL job placement assistance and interview guidance!

How many hours is Level 5 TEFL? ›

The 180-hour level 5 TEFL diploma is an internationally recognised lifetime qualification issued by The TEFL Institute.

What is passing score for TEFL? ›

Evaluation and grading system​
Pass 1Excellent Pass Grade over 90 %
Pass 2Good Pass Grade between 80% and 89%
Pass 3Satisfactory Grade between 60% and 79%

How much do you need to pass a TEFL assignment? ›

The tests are automatically marked and you will need to achieve 80% to pass. Your assignments will be marked by a course assessor.

How can I get my TEFL certificate fast? ›

How to get TEFL certification in-person
  1. Research in-person TEFL course options & create a plan for teaching English abroad or online.
  2. Enroll in an in-person TEFL course.
  3. Complete your TEFL course.
  4. Begin your job search during or after your course.
  5. Interview & accept TEFL job.
Sep 30, 2022

What happens if you fail an online course? ›

The progress they achieved on the platform stays. It is not lost if they fail a grade. That allows them to simply continue from the point where they didn't achieve passing scores. Therefore, a student will not have to do all over from the beginning of the grade, which significantly shortens the repeated grade length.

Are online TEFL courses valid? ›

Yes, TEFL is a legitimate field of study and certification that can be beneficial for those who want to teach English as a foreign language abroad or online.

Is it hard to pass TEFL? ›

Generally speaking TEFL is not hard to pass. Face-to-face courses generally have interviews and strict admission requirements so if it is not likely to complete or pass the course, they will not be admitted in the first place.

What percent of online courses fail? ›

Success rates tend to be higher in face-to-face classes. In Fall 15, face-to-face classes had a success rate of 69% versus only 60% in online classes, a gap of 9%. However, this gap has been decreasing, with only a 3% gap in success rates in Fall 19 (70% in face-to-face versus 67% online).

Can a failed course be removed from transcript? ›

If you've taken classes previously and you've done poorly, some schools will give you options. They might get rid of your old courses if you take a new set of classes. They might remove them from your transcript and expunge them.

Should I retake a failed course? ›

As a general rule, students should retake a course if it is required for their major, needed for grad school, or teaches fundamentals that other courses build on. They should not retake classes that they got a C or higher in or if they do not think they can do significantly better the second time.

How bad does a failed class look? ›

If you fail a class, you'll get a 0 on your transcript — and that can bring down your GPA. Failed classes count toward your GPA, though some colleges do not count pass/fail classes in your GPA calculation. If you get an F, you still have to pay for the class without receiving any credit toward your degree.

Do students perform worse in online classes? ›

Scientists looking at the effectiveness of distance learning found that in some studies, distance education students performed slightly better in exams and grades than traditional classroom students, but that overall the average performance outcomes weren't that different.

How common is cheating in online classes? ›

However, while the majority of student respondents believe it is easier to cheat online than in person, 52 percent of students said they are no more likely to cheat in an online course; only 28 percent said they were more likely to cheat online.

How can you tell if a TEFL certificate is real? ›

To verify your Premier TEFL certificate, and guarantee its authenticity, you will be awarded a unique identifier code. You will find this printed on the bottom of your certificate. Find it underneath the date of issue, in a combined sequence of letters and numbers.

Is the 120-hour TEFL course worth it? ›

120 hours is considered the baseline for a professional-level TEFL certification for teaching English abroad or online. Not all 120-hour TEFL courses meet international standards, so it's essential to seek out those that are accredited and include live practice teaching.

Is a 120-hour TEFL course enough? ›

When searching for a TEFL course, many students ask 'is a 120-hour TEFL certificate enough to teach in a classroom or online?' . It may not feel like enough time to become a qualified teacher, but we can assure you that it is. 120 hours is the bare minimum that most ESL employers will ask you to complete.


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