"I am an experienced teacher...
...having taught Science and Gifted Education in the US for ten years prior to coming to Taiwan. Although teacher prep programs will help, many aspects of teaching EFL are unique. I wish I would have taken this course BEFORE I started teaching here three years ago. The methods and insights given in ESL Insider's 120 hour TEFL course could have saved me a lot of grief and disappointment. Now I am optimistic about starting a new school year armed with better lessons and a realigned perspective. Thank you, ESL Insider!" - Dolly's review
You can see the latest courses here including their prices.
The best way to learn how to teach English abroad to mostly kids
This is a bold statement. And yes, I am biased, but so is everyone else. If it's not the best now then it will be.
Do you want to know why this is the best way to learn how to teach English to mostly kids?
This course is a little unconventional and focuses primarily on what to do in the classroom and not teaching theory or English grammar study. It uses video, images, text (in small chunks), Q&A, multiple choice, writing assignments, and messaging with feedback all designed to make you feel more confident in the classroom and happier abroad.
- 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 unlimited access NOT 2-3 months access.
- You'll get targeted training (if you teach mostly kids) NOT general training.
Let's take a closer look and see why these things matter.
5 reasons why ESLinsider's course will help make you more confident in that classroom teaching kids and ultimately have a better experience abroad
Here's reason number one.
1. ESLinsider's course teaches you how to teach by using visuals that show you what to do in the classroom
There's a reason why...
ESLinsider has 7,000+ subscribers on Youtube, 2,000,000+ channel views, and 1 video called "Teaching English to Kids in 5 Fun Steps" has 290,000+ views.
Thousands of teachers like ESLinsider's videos because they make teaching easier.
- Here's one that has over 290,000 views on Youtube.
The easiest way to learn how to teach is NOT by reading or listening to lectures, but by watching other teachers
Published research suggests that if you want to remember what you learn online then you need a visually engaging course.
“…unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information (plus or minus 2) […]. Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.” - Dr. Lynell Burmark (Stanford)
A problem with many courses is that they are too "wordy"
Online there's too much text and theory and you have no visuals. In a classroom that's lectures and theory that's useless.
3 different people comment on their online TEFL courses:
"I finished the entire program in 3 days and retained like 5% of the information." - woobv on Reddit
- "It didn't actually teach you to teach English, but... (Other person laughing) Yeah it didn't really teach you at all on how to teach English, but yeah a good refresher on all the English skills." - 2canucksabroad on Youtube
So the last quote was from someone who took a Groupon course probably because it was cheap or "accredited" or something appealed to them when they bought it, but they later realized when they got abroad and started teaching that it wasn't helpful.
What's the point of taking a course if you don't remember what you learn?
The end result of taking a course like that is going to be that you will be less prepared to do your job and teaching abroad is going to be more stressful and not that fun.
"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
Seeing techniques done in person or on video is far superior to reading about how to do it.
- Half of your brain is devoted to vision
- Your brain processes images and visuals faster
- People tend to only read 20-28% text on a page, so if that is true then how much do you think you'll remember?
- You're more likely to remember videos
Learn more about the research.
"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."
2. This course is especially focused on teaching English to kids aged 5-14 in East Asia.
There are 10 times the amount of jobs teaching children vs. adults in East Asia.
Are you confident now in your abilities to teach English to children?
"It takes a lot more skill to teach children well in my opinion..."
"Children, on the other hand, have no intrinsic reason to be there so you have to make the lessons fun and interesting. You also have to deal with their uncontrolled emotions and lack of social skills. Teaching young learners requires a huge range of skills and knowledge." - sendaiben
I've taken two different TEFL/TESOL courses. I took an in-class TESOL course before I taught in Taiwan back in 2004 and I took an online course in 2016 to see what I would get for $39.
Both of those courses were general and they did not offer any specific training for teaching kids and the data shows that there are as many as 10 times more jobs for teaching children.
But teaching kids can be hard.
Here are some of the challenges that come with teaching children.
- They have a short attention span
- They are not tame
- They can be very difficult to handle
- Some will test you
- They need structure
- They need to be interested
Most TEFL courses like CELTA which may be the original focus on teaching adults and not children. The best course for you is going to be focused on teaching the students that you teach. It's going to be targeted and specialized.
And if you take just any TEFL course I don't think you'll be very prepared to teach kids because I definitely wasn't.
Yes, much of the information can apply to adults too, yet there is more of a focus on teaching children.
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.
3. It's interactive. You'll get personalized feedback on assignments (mostly lesson plans) & you'll even learn how to plan lessons w/ minimal prep.
You need to have a plan for what you are going to do in that classroom.
It sounds simple, and it can become that way with experience, but there are a lot of details to the lesson. For example:
- What content you teach
- How you teach and practice that content
- How long you teach something before moving on
- How much content you teach
- The order of what you teach (organization and flow)
And then there is the student's response that can affect all of the above.
Those are all some of the things you need to consider in a lesson. So in the course you will learn different methods for how to create a lesson and then to get good at doing that (or anything for that matter) you need to practice it.
First you are shown how to do it with visuals and step by step instructions, but then you have to do it. The doing it online is writing it out and research shows that writing also improves your memory (it helps you retain material).
But because you are not a programmable robot you make mistakes like everyone else and then your teacher looks at your plan for what you are going to do and then let's you know what is good about it and then offers some feedback on how you can improve it.
You might also like this course since...
Taking a course online can be an isolating experience.
In fact many people don't complete online courses because they are automated, lifeless and boring.
"ESLinsider has been extremely informative and Ian provides detailed feedback on the submission tasks which is fantastic." - Nhu Pham
ESLinsider's course offers feedback on assignments usually within 24 hours. In other courses that offer feedback you might wait 5 days or more.
Also lesson planning can take a lot of time. So you'll also learn how to do it faster say if you have only 1 hour or less to prepare and 6 hours to teach!
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.
"Direct communication with Ian is a huge plus. There are a few assignments to submit (Lesson Plans, mainly) and Ian gave me very detailed and meaningful feedback on every one."
4. You get long term access to this course.
Access to TEKA is unlimited.
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.
5. ESLinsider is not popular. It's more underground or maybe more like a mom and pop shop with a new goal of improving something everyday
Perhaps it is for people who are creative and/or independent thinkers or... perhaps not. Here are a few more benefits you'll get if you choose ESLinsider.
- It's more personal. Instead of getting no response or an automated one you'll get to interact with a real human that wants to help you.
- You don't have to wait for the sake of waiting. I heard one popular course makes you wait 5 days to get feedback and in another you have to wait 10 days after you complete the course just to 'download' a certificate. Not here.
- It's more flexible. If you are currently teaching we can use your books for the lesson planning assignments and in the future there may be more options to customize your training too.
Learn how to:
- Be the one in charge
- Make your classes fun and educational for your students
- Maintain your students attention
- 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 along the way
GETTING A JOB TEACHING ABROAD IS THE EASY PART
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 security is an illusion and getting a job is just the beginning.
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
"TEACHING" ABROAD IS THE HARD PART
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.
"I have utilized some of his methods and games and have already seen some improvement in the kids' speaking skills and some massive improvement in their behavior." - Dwayne Melendez
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 regardless of your location.
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".
"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?
NO, and proudly so.
And that might disappoint some, but I don't believe in the system or want to support it or be anything like it.
Accreditation is a paid review.
Basically I could get an accreditation if I paid someone - someone I don't admire or look up to or know anything about - which is most of TEFL. Everyone tries to look official and academic like a university, but none of them actually are.
Also there isn't any one accreditation for TEFL. In fact I counted 23 so-called TEFL accreditors
Some say say accreditation is an outdated system that doesn't work
I paid $39 dollars for an accredited "120 hour" course that I completed in 8 hours and you can probably buy an "accredited" certificate for even cheaper.
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?
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.
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 might advise you to take it once you start teaching.
Why take this course?
Take it because you want to have a better experience abroad.
ESLinsider was created by Ian Leahy who has taught English in China, Korea and Taiwan and currently lives in Fukuoka, Japan.
You can get 3 free ebooks when you create an account and log in.
- no grades
- no theory
- no tests
- no grammar study
- no certificate
This is an action based course for people who want to transform their experience teaching English abroad (to mostly children) from bad to good. This course includes everything from TEKA minus the small sections on theory and grammar, plus...
There are 10 assignments to this course and you will provide the content (pages from the student books you use) for 5 of these.
This course is the culmination of:
- 13+ years of combined research or experience teaching abroad
- 6 years of trial and error teaching in Asia
- And it's been influenced by 20+ teachers from multiple countries
- 18 levels of interactive learning covering everything from teaching reading to dealing with classroom problems
- Feedback and interaction on written assignments which further cements material studied in the course
- 60+ instructional videos that teach you tools that you can apply today
- Lifetime access
Teaching now? Convince your boss to support your progress.
If you really want to have a better year teaching English abroad to mostly kids then this is how you do it.