Mike Pedley's Blog:

 Hello, my name is Mike, a graduate of the Open University with a BA in English Language and Literature. Having moved to France last year, I found myself eager to share my passion for English through teaching and set about researching the requirements. I soon became aware of the necessity of a TEFL qualification and discovered scholarship programme. I quickly submitted an application and was very lucky to be chosen. Having just recently completed my final essay and been awarded my diploma, I can only recommend the programme to others.

I wasn’t sure what sort of content to expect heading into this sort of study, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I discovered. The course covers a vast range of topics. I was introduced to the practice of TEFL teaching for all ages, abilities, and special requirements, which is particularly helpful for those who aren’t sure what sort of age groups they’d like to teach, or would like to diversify in the future. For example, the course material teaches, in detail, the startling differences between the way adults, adolescents, and young children learn, and then goes deeper into the issue by examining the science and theories behind these differences and asking you to consider your own thoughts about learning/teaching.

I’ve also studied, amongst many other things, how to create and implement an effective lesson plan, various methods to encourage and motivate students effectively, a wide range of theories of language learning and acquisition, and even a look at the current research being done into language study and the ways it could shape the future of teaching.

Put simply, the course certainly covers far more than I expected, and from a personal point of view, this made it wonderfully engaging as I became more and more interested in the field of languages, and was even motivated to do a little of my own independent research. As I finished each module I remained eager to begin the next, and feel that I’ve learnt a great deal of practical skills to help when I teach, along with developing a far richer understanding of the rich subject of language learning.

Another advantage of the course is that you’re free to work at your own pace. Being able to set your own deadlines, your own targets, and motivate yourself to work may seem more daunting to some, but these are all valuable life skills to learn, particularly for a teacher, and helped me a great deal. The personal tutor I had was also very helpful; she offered constructive feedback and was both friendly and rapid in her replies to any queries I had, along with the rest of the team.

Whilst studying for the diploma, I began working voluntarily for an association teaching English to young children and adolescents. I found the material in the course to be an invaluable aid at this time, and have been successful enough for the association to recently offer me a permanent position with them. I’ve also received plenty of positive feedback from parents and students and feel I am already reaping the rewards of a TEFL career. Many of the skills I have employed in this work, along with the newfound confidence with which I’m able to approach the job, are all thanks to the work I’ve done on the programme.

Now that I have completed the diploma, I feel well-prepared to teach English in the future, and the fact that I have very recently been offered a job serves as testament to the fact that a qualification in TEFL is both valuable and vital for anyone looking to pursue the exciting life of teaching abroad. I’ve greatly enjoyed my study and I am already enjoying teaching itself, and so I wish both luck and encouragement to anyone who’s thinking of following the same path.