Teacher Training (TEFL/TESOL) Frauds
By Frank Adamo
Deceptive advertising has become so widespread that it’s now considered business as usual. Even university web sites link to sellers of one fraud that targets students and recent graduates: the industry selling “Tefl” certificates (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). While pretending to offer free information about how to spend a year working abroad, such tricksters merely steer young people to enroll in an expensive and unnecessary (if not useless) online or classroom course that claims to “qualify” or “certify” you to teach abroad.
Some flashy web sites feature short articles by young people who supposedly worked abroad, along with superficial hints on how to find employment, but the only purpose of such verbiage is to steer you to buy the site’s tefl course, or one sold by the site’s sponsors (i.e. advertisers). A few sites even create fictitious want-ads from non-existent schools: “Teacher wanted…tefl required.” The tefl sellers are on all the blogs pretending to be your good buddy, and they are active on Wikipedia – attempting to silence any criticism of the need or claimed utility of tefl course certificates.
An easy way to spot such frauds is the uncritical acclaim for tefl certificates, without citing any evidence for their supposed usefulness – except for personal anecdotes you can’t verify. As Mark Twain pointed out in Tom Sawyer, most victims who have been defrauded are too ashamed to admit they were fooled into parting with their money, and instead they will recommend the fraudster as a good merchant.
If you’re a native speaker of English and an American university graduate, you don’t need to spend $1,000 on any two-week course. You can learn just as much, if not more, by reading a few books on the research in second language acquisition. If you’re serious about a long-term career in teaching English as a foreign language, you should get a university degree majoring in English, and especially English Education for the age level you want to teach. A few universities even offer a master’s degree in teaching English as a second language. Don’t let anybody deceive you into spending a thousand dollars for a two-week TEFL/TESOL course.