On going professional development
The TEFL industry is often seen as a transient job, a means to an end to travel, live in a foreign country etc. But for a dedicated few, TEFL becomes our new profession and we take it very seriously. As professional teachers, we are always looking for ways to progress and nurture our skills. After the standard 4 week TEFL the next stage is a diploma course and then a Masters. Both require a huge investment of time and money and when the time is right, they can be a very worthwhile investment. Whilst web pages are in abundance, short, professional development courses, which focus on specific skills, are in short supply.
For the past 4.5 years at TtMadrid we have been developing OPD (ongoing professional development) courses and running these from our training centre in Madrid. Around 2 years ago we decided we wanted these to be more robust, more focused and lead to a certificate whilst still being affordable. Affordability was a key area when developing the courses, as any TEFL teacher will tell you – we do it for the love and not for the money!
After lots of debate and questionnaires to our graduates we finally decided on 3 Advanced TEFL Certificates. The next stage was to see if our accrediting body would be willing to evaluate and accredit them. After 18 months of writing, re-writing and tweaking we finally have 3 accredited Advanced TEFL courses. As hard as the writing was, finding the trainers with the skills to train, the experience of TEFL and the experience in their own fields was by far the hardest! Luckily we have found 6 trainers who excel in their areas.
When deciding on the courses we wanted a mix of both personal and professional development. The courses are:
- Advanced Certificate in Young Learners
- Advanced Certificate in Business English
- Advanced Certificate in Alternative Teaching Skills (NLP and Accelerated Learning).
The first two came up time and time again in our research. The young learner market has expanded at such a rapid rate and most TEFL courses are focused on adults. Those that do exist for Young Learners, only focus on that and you don’t get the adults experience. The feedback we got from our grads was they needed practical help and tips especially about games, transitions and classroom management. So the course is very practical and is ideal whether a teacher is in an academy, with private classes or working as a Language Assistant.
The business skills course was a tough one to write as we wanted to do it all. In the end we broke it down into the key areas that people want help with, meetings, presentation, feedback and critiquing and of course ESP for an area you know little or nothing about! Many teachers also get offered intensive work, or want to offer their own intensives but putting together a curriculum is a tough challenge. For this reason, 2 of the modules are dedicated to writing your own 8 hour intensive course.
The final course, and for us, the most exciting is the Alternative Teaching Skills. NLP and Accelerated Learning are amazing methods to bring into the classroom. What we most love about these courses is the benefit you get for yourself as well as for your professional development. It is all about reflection, interacting, communicating more effectively and looking at a different way of tackling EFL. It is very hard to describe until you have done it but imagine David Blaine meets the EFL classroom!
We have just started working on a Train the Trainer course for those teaching professionals that would like to take their job to the next level as a trainer, observer, ADOS etc and hope to start the long accreditation process for that course in January.
The reason we made the courses module based was simple – not everyone wants a certificate. Some teachers want to do just the modules on intensives or synthetic phonics which is what makes our courses so flexible. You choose the modules you want to do and just pay for them or, if you want the Advanced Certificate you complete all 6 modules. We know that teachers are busy so again we looked at the most flexible method and run each course twice a year so you could do 3 modules in course 1 and then do the final 3 modules 4 months later.
If you would like to learn more about the course please email Helen on [email protected] or have a look at our booklet at http://issuu.com/ttmadridtefl/docs/ttmadrid_teacher_training_programs/
We hope to see you at the TtMadrid Training Centre soon!
Our TEFL course in Madrid is geared towards providing trainees with practical teaching experience within an internationally recognised pedagogical framework. Our primary focus is to give teacher trainees an edge when seeking TEFL work in Spain and elsewhere, and the confidence to feel at ease in the workplace. Working abroad and teaching English can be both challenging and rewarding.