I first heard about the TEFL course whilst browsing the Internet for TEFL courses you can take abroad and that usually lead to a job in that country. I had travelled Asia at the end of 2013 and Thailand was one of my favourite places I’d been to; the culture, the food, the people, the scenery and the relaxed lifestyle.
This led me to look into doing a TEFL course in Thailand. I was then looking through my emails one day and noticed an advertisement on ‘Student Beans’ for a competition to win a TEFL course. I thought, why not? It involved uploading a picture onto the Global Nomadic Facebook page and the winner was the person with the most likes. I didn’t expect to win but after a long month of the competition running, I was informed I’d won! I couldn’t believe it. Jeremy then contacted me congratulating myself and put me in contact with Rosanne who took care of the rest of the placement details. It was all handled brilliantly from both ends and I was finally going to be able to do a TEFL course in Thailand. I was then told it was on Koh Samui where I’d be doing the course, and having visited that island before, I was extremely happy to find that I’d be doing a month’s training there.
It was a long wait between winning the competition in July and actually leaving England in April but it was indeed worth the wait. Even during this time Rosanne would be happy to help at any stage and answer any questions you had, at any time of day! This led to a smooth welcome to the island with Kathryn (the TEFL course teacher) picking me up and taking me to my accommodation which was directly opposite the course school.
The course was intense but extremely insightful and rewarding. I’ve never had to prepare so much in such a little space of time but it helped me realise the amount of effort and planning that goes into each and every lesson and helps set you up for the wide world of teaching English. Luckily, I got along with the course mates which made for a pleasant and fun environment where everyone worked as a team to get things done. One of the most enjoyable parts of the course was getting real life, hands-on experience of teaching school children between the ages of 7 and 15. We also got an insight into teaching adults either working at a resort/hotel or a international language school as a teaching assistant.
The whole course covered methods and ways of teaching including a lot of valuable information and techniques which when put into practice, work really well. This includes simple things such as asking the students questions to make sure they’ve understood or giving them options when the say something incorrectly, for example the child may say ‘I eated the apple’ and you would say back to them ‘I eated the apple?’ or ‘I ate the apple?’. There are many aspects I’ll take away from the course including the wide range of songs, games and activities we learnt to make sure they put the vocabulary and dialogues you teach them into a natural conversation either when playing a game or doing a speaking activity.
Another useful aspect of the course was the lesson planning. You would have to sometimes start from scratch with a topic but utilising all of the techniques taught in the course, you’d soon be able to come up with ways of teaching the topic, what vocabulary to use, what games to play to practice the words whilst also thinking of different warm up and cooling down activities which would work at any stage of the lesson. This was accompanied by an extensive and detailed lesson plan write-up whereby a teacher who had not previously seen the lesson would be able to pick up a paper copy of a lesson plan and it would have enough information in there for them to be able to do the lesson. This is something that I’ll definitely take away for the future.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone thinking of doing it. It is a very packed four weeks with a lot of content to cover but Kathryn and Rosanne are there to help you and they make sure you can apply everything you’ve learnt in a real life context. The course includes 8 hours of teaching practicals which definitely help boost your confidence in teaching English as a foreign language.
The course is on the beautiful island of Koh Samui and so when you have your weekends free to explore, you’ll not be short of things to do! I took a boat trip to the Angthong National Park which comprises of 42 islands and is an incredible place. There are also a lot of activities and landmarks to see on the island such as Big Buddha and the waterfalls in the centre of the island.
Kathryn also makes sure that all students taking the TEFL course know their grammar and phonology with this covered in detail during the four weeks. It will be hard at times but this is what makes the course so rewarding. Being able to look back on the four weeks and seeing how far you have come, from that nervous wreck during the first teaching practical to the enthusiastic and able teacher during the final teaching practicals, is without a doubt one of the best feelings!
– Posted by Matthew Mainwaring 2015