6 things about TEFL you thought were true, but aren't | Part 1

6 things about TEFL you thought were true, but aren't | Part 1

Updated December 21, 2021

Read the second part of this two-post series to learn one very important TEFL truth! 

Misconceptions surrounding TEFL courses are very common. There are a lot of queries about these courses that seek clarification on items such as official accreditation as well as differentiation between each type of course. This article sets the record straight on a handful of frequently faced myths to do with TEFL courses.

If I speak English, I can teach English: False

English teaching positions can vary greatly from position to position, organization to organization, and from job to job. Almost always, a bachelor’s degree is required. In addition, a TEFL certification (or other type of ESL teaching certification) can be required.

Can you explain what a gerund is? Unless you have special education, the answer is probably no (although you do use gerunds every day). This is because expert-level English speakers learn English differently to ESL students. Explaining English language rules and concepts can be difficult; native speakers often know the answer, but don’t always know why certain English rules are the way they are (think of trying to explain to someone why the “I before E except after C” rule doesn’t apply to the word science). ESL learners on the other hand, learn the reasoning behind unique English grammar rules.

In short, speaking the language alone isn’t quite enough to properly deliver lessons in classrooms full of ESL students!

TEFL courses are accredited: False

There is no official accrediting body for TEFL, which means that anyone can develop and sell a TEFL course. It is important to be mindful of the course you choose and the company or institution that has developed it. While some organizations, such as universities or well-established teach abroad companies, are held in high regard, other companies may not be accepted by education institutions overseas.

To avoid problematic issues while seeking employment abroad, make sure the TEFL course you’re enrolling in has a solid reputation and is recognized at the school or in the country you’re hoping to find employment in. If your goal is to teach at a legitimate and reputable school, you’ll be expected to have a TEFL certificate from a reputable and globally-recognized issuing organization.

TEFL, TESL, and TESOL are all the same: False

TEFL, TESL, and TESOL are easy acronyms to confuse – or to think of as three in the same. These three certification types each serve a unique purpose and stand for different types of English instruction:

  • TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language: This qualification concentrates on teaching the skills needed to instruct English in a country where English is not the first language.
  • TESL – Teaching English as a Second Language: TESL is aimed at teachers who plan to teach English to English language learners, who are currently living in an English-speaking country.
  • TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of another Language: This qualification is newer and gives some flexibility as to whether you teach English overseas or in an  English speaking country. While TESOL courses may cover a broader range of topics, they tend to study them in less depth.

You can find more in-depth descriptions of TEFL, TESL, and TESOL here: What’s the difference between TEFL, TESL and TESOL?

There you have it – three misconceptions about TEFL courses debunked. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we set the record straight about practicum (teaching practice), the benefits of TEFL for licensed teachers, and more!

If you have any questions or TEFL myths you’d like cleared up, please leave us your question in the comment section below.

Make this the year you qualify to teach abroad. To learn more and compare our courses, click here.


Hello A.H.! The only age restrictions to be aware of when considering teaching abroad, are those in place to obtain a work visa. These policies will vary from country to country and are set by immigration, not by the hiring body: school, recruitment agency, etc. All of our courses – 100, 120, and 150-hour – meet the minimum requirements to teach abroad. The 120 hour course is our most popular course, you will find that some employers are looking for candidates to have a minimum of 120-hours of training. If you have any further questions regarding our course offerings please email teflonline@teachaway.com Best, Christie.
Christie Van Tol
Thank you for the information. My question, is there an age limitation to teach abroad? Also, you stated three different hours of courses work, does it matter which one a person enroll in order to teach abroad?
A. H.
Hello Ula,

The 100 hour course is $995.00, the 120 hour course is $1,295.00 and the 150 hour course is $1,495.00. If you would like to stay informed about upcoming promotions and discounts, you can subscribe to our emails here: http://bit.ly/1M6BPrr
There are no prerequisites to enroll, and you may do so here: https://teflonline.teachaway.com/enroll/ Currently, you can use coupon TEFL23 to save $50 on the 120 and 150-hour course.

Christie Van Tol
How do I enroll in the course!? And how much is it!??
Ula Quttaineh
Hello Lorne,

Thank you for your question. Payment in installments is not available for the course. The course fee is due in full upon enrollment, at which point you will have access to the materials and can log-in immediately. If you would like to stay informed about upcoming promotions and discounts on the course, you can subscribe to our emails here: http://bit.ly/1M6BPrr

Christie Van Tol

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