"At first I was hesitant to take Ian's Advanced Course, since there didn't seem to be much information about it online. However, I can now say with full confidence that Ian has put together a masterclass catalog of teaching materials, each presented in a clear and logical way, with a great website to re-find anything if needed..."

Kyle's review

This course is for people WHO WANT TO LEARN and level up (inside and outside of the classroom).

  • It maximizes the use of visuals and practical classroom based instructional videos to learn. 
  • You'll get personalized feedback on lesson planning assignments.
  • You'll get long term access NOT 2-3 months access.
  • You'll get targeted training NOT general training.
  • You'll do projects to develop inside the classroom as a teacher and outside the classroom as a multi-dimensional human.

Let's take a closer look and see why those things matter.

1. Monkey see, monkey do. You need visuals too.

Published research suggests that if you want to remember what you learn online then you need a visually engaging course.

Instead of wasting your time reading text online from a boring course that you probably won't remember, you could take a course that's rich with simple instructional videos that you will absorb faster, easier and remember more of.


These are simple, short instructional videos that show you what to do in the classroom. These courses are built with practical and authentic how-to videos that were shot in real classrooms w/ real students (not pretend students like many  in-class courses use) mostly in South Korea. 

Many online courses are predominately text based which is NOT memorable. For example, here is someone's comment on Reddit about a course she took:

"I finished the entire program in 3 days and retained like 5% of the information. " - woobv

Seeing techniques done in person or on video is far superior to reading about how to do it.

Some facts:

Learn more about the research.

"I'm a new teacher and these videos really saved my hide (they still do) and my students like these activities a lot. I would like to thank you..." - Luiz Felipe

What are the videos like?

They are mostly short and sweet instructional videos shot in real classrooms.

So if you take a boring text-based online course and if you combine that with a chasing the carrot certificate approach you'll probably remember very little just like that person above did.

"I took Ian's 120 hour (now called Advanced) course two years ago and it was one of the best investments I made. I had been teaching in Korea for six years up to that point and had to learn through trial and error on the jobs I worked which was not easy. Ian's course is practical and based on actual experience in the classroom, not just dry theory. 

The videos were extremely helpful in the process and I still refer to them every now and then when I need ideas for class. While the course is not overly difficult, it's certainly no walk in the park as you do have to pay attention and take notes. 

I really wish this course had been around during my early years in Korea because it would've helped so much more than the so-called orientation and training I did for a week in Seoul when I started with EPIK. I highly recommend these courses if you are serious about gaining practical knowledge of ESL teaching from someone who has been there."

George's review

2. Get personalized feedback on assignments and projects

Taking a course online can be an isolating experience. In fact many people don't complete them because they are automated, lifeless and boring.

The benefit of getting personalized feedback on your assignments is twofold: to interact with a real human and to see what mistakes you have made. 

The main purpose of feedback is to point out things that you missed with the instruction. 

It's kind of like this... 

Your teacher shows you how to do something, you try it (by writing what you will do in your lesson plan) and then your teacher shows you your mistakes and may also offer additional ideas.

ESLinsider's course offers feedback on assignments usually within 24 hours. In other courses that offer feedback you might wait 5 days or more. 


Are you currently teaching?

If you are then you will have the option in the course to use the book you are currently using in your classes for lesson planning assignments. Otherwise lesson planning assignments are based on photos of pages from student books that are commonly used.

Nhu's review

"ESLinsider has been extremely informative and Ian provides detailed feedback on the submission tasks which is fantastic." - Nhu Pham 

Dwayne's review of ESLinsider

"I could always rely on him to help answer a question to an issue or to give me feedback on my assignments." - Dwayne Melendez

3. This is NOT another general TEFL course. This course is especially focused on teaching English to kids aged 6-13 in East Asia. 

Most courses focus more on reaching as many people as possible to maximize profits. Many TEFL/TESOL/CELTA courses focus more on teaching adults which I know from experience isn't very helpful. 

You'll find a lot of context - with classroom videos that were filmed in Korea and Taiwan. 

You'll learn how to teach and you'll also learn how to have fun with your students and control them (kids) which is not always so easy. 

Yes, much of the information can apply to adults too, yet there is more of a focus on teaching children as most of the videos were filmed in kids classes. 

Think of it like this...

Why would someone take an MMA (mixed martial arts) class if they wanted to learn jiu-jitsu and compete in jiu-jitsu competitions? MMA classes include some jiu-jitsu so that's good, but if you want to compete in jiu-jitsu then you should be taking jiu-jitsu classes because it's more in tune with your goals.

Most other courses including the ones I took are more general like the MMA courses. They are more general and trying to reach as many people as possible. 

TEKA is more specialized and focused more on teaching children. It was created by someone who has experience teaching and living in China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

4. Access when you need it most

Access to ESLinsider's courses are long term.


Because this is the most convenient option for you and learning takes time and repetition. Most online TEFL courses keep all their content behind a paywall and you only get access for a limited time (1-6 months). 

If your access to a course is only for 2-3 months (common w/ popular providers) then by the time you actually start teaching your access will be terminated which means you won't be able to access content when you need it most.

Which usually is no problem if all you want is a certificate. 

The "Advanced" course offers unlimited access.

5. Maximize your time abroad even if you only spend a year or two there

If you are like most people who teach abroad then you will only do it for a year or two. And if you are like most people then you are a multi-faceted person with different interests, aspirations and goals you want to accomplish. So how can you make the most of your time abroad inside and outside the classroom?

  1. You will spend a lot of your waking hours in a classroom teaching as noted here so this course focuses primarily on taking your teaching to the next level.
  2. Through goal setting and personal development you'll learn how to maximize your time abroad and prepare for your future. 

Learn how to:

  • Maintain your students attention
  • Make your classes fun and educational for your students
  • Be the one in charge
  • Deal with difficult students
  • Create lessons with minimal prep
  • Find a good school (or at least a decent one) and avoid problem schools and horror stories
  • Make the most of your time abroad and develop yourself

Start now


If you are in the process of getting started teaching abroad and looking for job I'd like to let you know that this is the easy part. 


I know it can seem stressful and there is a lot of uncertainty as you just don't know now where you will end up and if you'll get a job. You probably feel anxious. But YOU WILL GET A JOB. I have lived in 7 US states and in 4 Asian countries. I have moved a lot. It can seem hard, but actually it's not. You just have to take a step and push through that fear.

You have to be brave.

You'll be fine and you'll get a job. This is the easy part. I know it might not seem that way now, but trust me it is.


I think what most TEFL courses sell to new teachers is not so much training, but a peace of mind. It can be stressful moving to a foreign country and I think many people just want security and a peace of mind.

But getting a job is just the beginning and security is an illusion.

Are you trying to find a reputable, internationally recognized, 120 hour course with an accredited certificate and a guaranteed job?

More on those things later, but there are plenty of courses out there that will give you that or say that they will. ESLinsider does things a little differently. People take TEFL courses for different reasons and the two basic reasons are to get a job and to learn. 

If you are just looking for a carrot certificate and a job then I don't recommend ESLinsider.

"Don't do it for proof, do it because the learning itself is worth it." - Seth Godin


Do you have any of these problems?

  • Students that ignore you
  • Students that don't pay attention
  • Bored students
  • Difficult students
  • Students that speak when you speak
  • Students that speak Chinese, Korean, etc. in class
  • Chaos in the classroom
  • Students who won't talk
  • Large classes
  • Students who don't want to be there

If you don't now then I bet you soon will unless you do something about it. The teaching is the hard part.

kindergarten kids in Korea


Why is that when I look at the reviews of ESLinsider some people say their certificate was accepted or they took the "120 hour" course?

If you look at the reviews of ESLinsider you may find some info that may seem confusing. ESLinsider's courses have been renamed, revised and updates have been made to both the courses and the main site to improve content over time. 

Formerly there were several courses to reach different types of people (more people), but now there is only one.

What if I am not going to teach kids?

Then at the moment I'd take another course.

What if I am not going to teach in Asia?

That matters less. There is a little part in the beginning of the course and you'll miss a little context with the videos, but what you learn in the video (most of the time) will apply to teaching around the world.

Is there anyone who shouldn't take these courses?

These courses aren't very suitable for people who teach:

  • Business English
  • Exclusively adults or university students

Or anyone who wants to "check the box".

Oliver F. "I believe that your course was the reason that I managed to get my first teaching job. Shortly after adding it to my resume I managed to secure a job in Italy." - Oliver Franklin

Is this course accredited?


ESLinsider didn't conform to the industry standard because there isn't "one". In fact I counted 23 so-called TEFL accreditors

This is an unconventional course and there is no one accreditation for TEFL just independent bodies businesses. Some say TEFL accreditation doesn't matter and others say accreditation is an outdated system that doesn't work

Some TEFL accreditors are said to be more "reputable", many are online only, and some are totally FAKE. If we really wanted accreditation we could pay some mysterious 3rd party for their stamp of approval, but we don't want to be part of that. 


I paid $39 dollars for an accredited "120 hour" course that I completed in 8 hours. You can probably buy an "accredited" certificate for even cheaper.


It's definitely not a marker of quality in itself. It's mostly for show as nobody knows what goes on behind the scenes.

Did your "accredited" degree make a difference? 

Mine didn't.

Is it "internationally recognized"?

The term "internationally recognized" doesn't actually mean anything. As mentioned before there is no one body for TEFL accreditation and there is no magic stamp that grants this status. 

It's mainly a marketing term.

Why is there no "120 hour" TEFL course?

Much of the TEFL industry has been pulling the wool over people's eyes. 

There are 2 types of online courses: asynchronous and synchronous. I have only seen asynchronous online TEFL courses which means there are no actual class times or "hours". They label their courses "120 hours" or "160 hours" even when many people complete them in less than 20. As a test I completed one online TEFL in 8 hours. 

Learn more about TEFL course hours

Why shouldn't I take this course if I just want a certificate?

Because chasing the carrot isn't fulfilling. 

This course is not about fulfilling a job requirement. It's about THE PROCESS not the end. I obtained a TESOL certificate before I taught abroad and honestly no employer in China, Korea or Taiwan ever seemed impressed with it. More importantly I hardly learned anything useful that prepared me to teach kids.

If you ask another TEFL course provider if you need it chances are they will say yes, but in reality what employers want varies school to school and country to country.

Do you guarantee a job?

Absolutely not.

It's not actually that hard to get a job if you look.

"I've spent many years teaching ESL without certification, but to be considered for lots of jobs I needed to get one. This course saved me thousands of dollars and reminded and taught me lots of new activities and games that work. I find that sometimes even tired adults like the kind of fun, physical games I learned here. I played fruit basket with a group of full-grown factory workers working the night shift in rural Japan, and I think some of them appreciated that kind of change of pace. 

Right after I took this course I was offered a job in Saudi Arabia that had stipulated they needed an in-person TEFL in their ad, but when I looked at their paper work after the interview, it looks like they counted this certificate as valid, and I was offered a job. I was really glad I had stumbled upon Ian's site. Thanks, Ian. - Emily M.

Isn't four hundred dollars expensive?

I understand that it's not for everyone. 

If you are not committed then things won't change. 

We can't do the work for you. We can guide you, encourage you, and offer the best materials possible, but ultimately it's up to you.

When is the best time to take this course?

The advanced course has long term access, so you can work on it when you want, but if you are going to take it just one time then I'd advise you to take it once you start teaching.

Why take this course?

Your primary reason for taking this course should be to level up - to upgrade your teaching and maximize your time abroad while preparing for the future.

ESLinsider's weird statues

ESLinsider was created by Ian Leahy who has taught English in China, Korea and Taiwan and currently lives in Japan.

Learn how to teach English (especially to kids) and make the most of your year abroad

    New & Improved! This course was "formerly" known as the advanced and 120 hour course.



    Learn more about it.