What is Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)?
English as a foreign language (EFL) is the instruction of English to speakers of other languages (e.g., Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai or Vietnamese) while the instructor is living outside of the United States. EFL instructors can work for private language schools, public and private elementary, middle, or high schools and universities/community colleges. English is typically the language of instruction, but is does help if the teacher knows something of the language of that culture. Individuals who obtain either a TEFL minor or TEFL certificate may go abroad individually or with an organization like the Peace Corps or the Fulbright Exchange.
What is the demand for trained EFL instructors overseas?
–Over the last twenty years, there has been a steady increase in the demand for trained EFL instructors mostly in Asia.
–Globalization has increased the need for students all over the world to speak English as an international language for business, social networking, and specific purposes ranging from aviation, law, tourism, information technology, etc.
–Numerous recruiting companies and professional organizations are available in the field to help prepared and interested individuals to find appropriate placements for EFL instruction.
If you are interested in choosing the TEFL Minor (24 credits) or TEFL Certificate (17 credits),
please visit the Department of Foreign Languages, 378 Hibbard Hall, to have an advisor assigned to you.
Can I teach EFL internationally without the TEFL Minor or Certificate?
How would you feel if you were the student in a class with an untrained teacher? How would you feel on the first day of class when there are dozens of eyes staring at you and you do not have any idea what to do? Learning through hard knocks is a tremendous disservice to the EFL students, to the trained professionals in the field (it undercuts our pay and the respect of our discipline), and you. Unfortunately, you may be able to find a poorly paid position, but there are no guarantees that you will be well treated.
What is the difference between TESOL and TEFL?
Aside from the acronym difference, professionals in the field use the distinction between second language environments (where English is spoken in the community outside of the classroom), and foreign language environments (which the students' native language is spoken outside of the classroom). For your academic purposes, this distinction explains whether you want to teach in the US (a second language environment) with a State of Wisconsin license (TESOL) or if you want to teach overseas in Japan, China, Mexico, Poland, Romania, or Korea (TEFL).
Can I obtain both the TESOL Minor for an in-state license and do the TEFL Minor or Certificate so I can teach internationally?
Yes, you may do the Certificate for only two additionally classes (ES 409 and FLG 375). You may not do the two Minors (TESOL and TEFL), because there are too many overlaps in coursework. But you may add the TEFL Certificate to your TESOL Minor with very little additional coursework.
Should I get the TEFL Minor or the TEFL Certificate?
The difference is simply that the TEFL Minor with 24 credits is a more thorough preparation for teaching EFL than the 15-18-credit TEFL Certificate. If you do the minor, you would obtain the certificate along the way (you only need to complete a form). You can find jobs with the certificate; this would be the minimum that one would want to go teach overseas. If you need a minor with your major, you may want to do the TEFL Minor. If you do not, but you have time in your academic schedule to do the TEFL Minor, you may opt for that. If you do not need a minor, and you do not have much time, then do the TEFL Certificate.