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Why You Should Become TEFL Qualified

Teaching English Foreign Language (TEFL) has always been a popular qualification to gain, and the number of people becoming TEFL qualified is only going up.

There are 1.5 billion English learners in the world right now, and this number is expected to rise to 2 billion by 2020. The Chinese TEFL market is worth $4.5 billion right now and is rising by around 15% per year. So, as you can see, the TEFL industry is certainly one to consider.

The average salary for Teaching English as a Foreign Language is around $3000 USD, depending on where you go. Although, if you work privately then you can set your own prices.

Why should you get a TEFL qualification?

  1. Fund your travels!

The main reason people become TEFL certified is to fund their travels. Explore the world, and fund it by teaching people English as you go. It is popular amongst gap-year students to do this, although anyone is more than welcome to!

2. Access more teaching jobs

Schools and businesses are more likely to take on teachers who are actually qualified, as it usually means that they offer a higher quality of service than those who are uncertified. Certified teachers know why the English syntax is the way it is, and they have a greater understanding of explaining past/future participles, adjectives, verbs, and nouns. Keep in mind that the rules are different in every language.

3. Gain confidence in your teaching

Sure, everyone has a rough idea of how to teach. But a TEFL course teaches you how to teach. From lesson plans, to various teaching styles, TEFL gives you the training you need to give the best quality teaching. Do you know how to effectively address a language or cultural barrier? This will make you more confident, and assure your student is getting the most out of their lessons.

4. Prepare yourself culturally

TEFL sites usually give you a break down in the culture of the country/region you are considering teaching in. This will make your time in the country more enjoyable and easier for you, as well as allowing you to make the most out of it. Nothing can set you back further than a culture shock.

Sourced from YouTube.

How do I become TEFL certified?

by enrolling in a TEFL course! They are typically anywhere between 100-180 hours long, but they give you plenty of time it slowly complete them. We will provide some links below:

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Why Should You Study English Abroad?

When deciding to learn English, one of the big questions you will have to ask yourself is whether you are going to study in your home country or whether you are going to travel abroad to learn. Studying English abroad is a big decision. It is also a big commitment and requires a lot of work, but equally, it can be a life-changing experience.

You will have the opportunity to learn English in an English-speaking environment, meet people from all around the world who are working towards the same goal and get an authentic language education.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Here are some common concerns about going abroad to study English.

1. Will I find it too difficult?

Simply being in an English speaking country doesn’t magically make learning the language easier. You will have to pay attention and concentrate all the time and at first, this might be very difficult. But English language schools are equipped to help make your learning process as easy as possible. And you can always ask for help.

When you learn English in an English-speaking country, you will be surrounded by it all the time. You will have to use your vocabulary in supermarkets, cafes and other day-to-day tasks. You will also find yourself speaking English to your classmates, thus improving your spoken English.

This can be a very quick way to learn. Even when you are not in classes, you will be practising your skills in a real environment. You will also experience the way native speakers really speak when they interact with each other. This is a very authentic education.

2. Will the culture shock be overwhelming?

You might worry that the shock of being in a new place and having to learn different ways of doing things might get in the way of your ability to improve your English.

For some people, going to another country to study English might be the first time they’ve gone abroad on their own and that might be difficult. But remember: it’s difficult for everyone at first. Make some friends who speak your language and go out and get to know the area together. Studying English in another country can really broaden your horizons and give you the opportunity to get to grips with a new culture.

This can be especially useful if you intend to use your English language skills to study a degree as an international student. When you arrive at university, you’ll have a head start over all the other international students.

3. Will it be too expensive?

Studying English abroad may seem like a luxury: getting to spend time in another country, experiencing a whole new way of life and getting a first-class education in a global language from people who really speak it; none of that comes cheap. If you do your research correctly and plan well, you might find that it’s actually not that much more expensive than studying at home.

You will learn a lot more in a shorter space of time and the quality of the English that you come back with will be much stronger. You may find that you can study somewhere where the cost of living is less than you are used to. And you probably won’t have to grapple with getting a student visa if you are only staying for a short amount of time – make sure to check that though!

When you are considering the cost of studying English abroad, you need to be thinking in terms of the investment you are making in your future. That’s what you are really paying for.

And there are some reasons to study English abroad that you just can’t disagree with:

  • It will look great on your CV
  • Employers are increasingly looking for applicants who can speak more than one language, and if you have experienced living in a different country, even better.
  • When someone reads your application form, they don’t just want a list of your qualifications. They also want to see evidence of things you have done or achieved to prove that you have made use of those skills.
  • If you can say that you have lived in an English speaking country and made use of your language skills in context, then that instantly tells the reader that your skills are as good as you say they are. And you’ll have no trouble getting by in your target country.
  • It will change your life.
  • The international network of friends you will make, the experiences you will have, and the memories you will take home will be with you for the rest of your life.
  • Your understanding of the world will be broader and you will be in a better position to travel it.
  • You will also find that, even if you go back to your home country and stay there, you will be better placed to work in global industries and interact with visitors.

Ultimately, you will have demonstrated that you can stand on your own two feet and be responsible for yourself. You will be able to go back to your life with new independence.

For more information, visit the British Council’s website.

Enjoyed this article? Check out our other English Language Learning guides.

IELTS vs TOEFL: Which Is Better?

If you’re applying to university or college in an English-speaking country and English is not your first language, it’s likely that your institution will require you to take a standardised test to prove your English language proficiency. And this will bring up the big question:  IELTS vs TOEFL exam? Let’s find out the differences between the two.

IELTS & TOEFL: The Basics

IELTS and TOEFL are the most popular standardised English language tests taken worldwide.

CRITERIA IELTS TOEFL
Centres 1,100 test centres in over 140 countries. 4,500 test centres in over 165 countries.
Exam It lasts for about 2h 45 minutes. It lasts for about 4 hours.
Scoring Each section is marked with a band from 0-9 (from these section scores, an overall 0-9 band is awarded). 120 marks, with 30 marks available for each section.

Note: the desired score for IELTS is of around 6.5+ and for TOEFL – 80+.

We took a look at these two exams and compared them side-by-side, to see which one will give you the fastest kick-start before moving to an English-speaking country to begin your studies overseas.

How are they marked?

Although the IELTS and TOEFL exams are assessing the same thing, the marking of the exams works slightly differently for their 4 sections: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

In theory, it is possible to get an overall score of 0-4 for IELTS, but it is very unlikely to score this low since, with around 10% in the reading and listening and 30% in the speaking and writing sections, an overall score of around 4.5 should be easily obtained.

Each institution will set its own English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate (graduate) and should be available on their website.

If you cannot find this information, check with the institution so that you know what is required from your test results. Many institutions have minimum score requirements overall or for each section.

What do the tests consist of?

Both TOEFL and IELTS consist of 4 sections: Writing, Listening, Speaking and Reading.

TOEFL usually takes around 4 hours, whereas IELTS is usually shorter than that – at around 2 hours 45 minutes.

We will now look at each section below to discuss which test gives you better practical skills for living/working/studying in an English-speaking country.

Reading

  • TOEFL: multiple-choice-only reading section (academic tests available).
  • IELTS: range of 15 question types including short answer, true/false, summary and multiple choice.

With IELTS, you can select to take the Academic paper or the non-academic one. In real life, you are rarely asked multiple-choice questions (outside of exam situations), so the IELTS gives you a more realistic, practical experience.

The exam splits into 3×20 minute sections, gradually getting harder. This should build up your confidence slowly through easy questions progressing onto the more difficult ones.

Listening

  • TOEFL: always standard American English.

The TOEFL listening exam lasts between 40 and 60 minutes and is based on questions regarding university life situations.

  • IELTS: different English variations from Ireland, Wales, USA, Australia.

The IELTS listening section lasts 30 minutes, divided into 4 sections, and it can cover an informational lecture, a conversation in an academic context and an academic lecture. The IELTS listening test ticks off a variety of tasks from sentence completion to matching headings.

Speaking

  • TOEFL: 20-minute conversation with a computer, recorded and assessed by an examiner at a later stage.

You are asked 6 university-related questions on various things such as hometown and family topics, and you will have to express your opinion on a chosen subject/given text.

  • IELTS: slightly shorter; 12-15 minutes long. Split into 3 sections and conducted with a real examiner.

With fewer examples when you will have to talk to a computer, IELTS is much better for practising with a live tester (section 1).

You can’t hide from speaking English when it is the native language of where you are living, so don’t shy away from a real conversation.

During the IELTS exam, you will talk about your home, jobs, studies and you’ll have to prepare a monologue of 2 minutes tops on a certain topic (section 2).

At the end (section 3), you will have to answer questions based on the topic you spoke about initially in section 2.

Writing

  • TOEFL: 2-question exam that lasts for 50 minutes and is typed on a computer.
First, you’ll have to read a text and listen to a lecture of about 2 minutes.
Based on this information, you’ll have to write a short answer to a specific question.
The next answer you’ll need to write down will require a longer reply (between 450 and 600 words).
  • IELTS: Academic and General Traning – 2 different writing tests.

The Academic test is more suitable for you and all students who apply to go to universities, and it features 2 tasks, lasting for about 1 hour.

These answers are handwritten.

The first question involves interpreting a graph, table or diagram, and the next one involves a short 250-word essay answer as an argument or a discussion.

These tasks are quite evenly matched, but depending on whether you will need to write out things by hand or you will be using a laptop, computer or tablet for writing at university.

Either way, it is a good idea to practise both forms of writing, regardless of which method of assessment you decide on.

OK, but which one is more widely accepted?

University Admissions

Before you decide on which course you will take for your English as a foreign language qualification, if you are applying to study in the UK or in an English-speaking country, you must check which qualifications they will accept, as some universities will only accept one or the other. If you are unsure, you can search for the admissions department within the university’s website and email them to find out. The information should be listed on the site as well under the course requirements so if you have an idea about which course you would like to take, search for this and it should tell you what you need to know.

Visa Application

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, it is recommended that you take IELTS or Pearson’s Test as TOEFL is no longer recognised by the UK Home Office as a Secure English Language Test.

In case you don’t require a visa for your studies, a TOEFL test will be enough for your application, as long as your scores meet the entry requirements, which are usually at fixed levels for the University, although some exceptions may apply.

If you’re still not sure which to choose, you can find out about Cambridge Advanced English (CAE), an alternative to TOEFL and IELTS, which is accepted by 99% of UK universities as a benchmark for the English Language.

The final verdict

Choose IELTS if you:

  • are comfortable being interviewed
  • have easy-to-read English handwriting
  • prefer multiple question test types (true/false; fill-in-the-blank etc)
  • understand various English dialects
  • like talking about non-academic topics.

Choose TOEFL if you:

  • are comfortable working with computers
  • feel confident speaking into a microphone
  • are good at answering multiple-choice questions
  • prefer standard American English
  • enjoy reading topics meant to inform
  • manage to take notes from audio recordings.

IELTS vs TOEFL: Online resources for you

IELTS Resources:

  1. General IELTS information
  2. Free IELTS practice tests
  3. IELTS test formats

TOEFL Resources:

  1. General TOEFL information
  2. TOEFL practice tests
  3. TOEFL test formats

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10 Ways to Improve Your English, From an English Teacher

Alex Case has worked as an English teacher and teacher trainer all around the world. He has also published English teaching books, articles and materials for all levels of learners. And now he offers all students a top 10 list of ways to improve your English:

1. Label things in your house or office with post-its

When learning English, the easiest vocabulary to learn is the vocabulary of things you see and use everyday. If you can write the names of things around you on slips of paper and stick them on the real thing, this is a great way of learning useful vocabulary. If you can leave them there over the following days and weeks, this is a very easy way of revising the vocabulary until it is properly learnt.

2. Listen to English music

Even listening to music while doing something else can help a little for things like getting used to the natural rhythm and tone of English speech. Although the more time and attention you give to a song the more you will learn from listening to it again in the future.

3. Sign up for a regular English tip

Some websites offer a weekly or even daily short English lesson sent to your email account. If your mobile phone has an e-mail address, it is also possible to have the tips sent to your phone to read on the way to work or school. Please note, however, that such services are not usually graded very well to the levels of different students. They should be used as a little added extra or revision in your English studies rather than as a replacement for something you or your teacher have chosen more carefully as what you need to learn.

4. Read English language entertainment guides

Nowadays most big cities in the world have an English language magazine and/or online guide to the movies, plays, exhibitions that are on in the city that week. Reading this in English is not only good value, but it could also guide you to places that English speakers are interested in and where you might hear some English spoken around you.

5. Have English radio on, while you are doing your housework

Even if you are not listening carefully, it will help you get a feel for natural English rhythm and intonation and help you in learning English.

6. Say or think what you are doing in English as you do your daily tasks

As you are doing your chores, try creating sentences describing what you are doing, e.g. ‘I am unscrewing the ketchup bottle cap’. This gets you used to thinking in English without translating and can be a good way of seeing what simple vocabulary that is around you every day you don’t know. 

7. Keep a list of language to learn (e.g. a vocabulary list)

Even if you don’t often find time to go through your vocab list and it keeps on building up, just the act of choosing which words you need to learn and writing them down on a special list can help you learn them.

8. Learn as many words as you can of one category (e.g. animal words)

Learning English words thematically together can both expand your overall vocabulary and make them easier to learn by forming links between the words in your brain.

9. Occasionally talk to or email your friends in English

Many people find this a bit false or embarrassing, but if you think of it as a study club or a learning English club and set a particular time or place, it is no different from studying maths together.

10. Set goals

Deciding how many hours you want to study, how many words you want to learn or what score you want to get in a test are all good ways of making sure you do extra study.

These are just 10 of Alex’s 70 ways to improve your English. Read the full list on UsingEnglish.com.

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How To Improve Your English Speaking Skills For University

International students come to study in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and other English speaking countries with vastly different levels of English proficiency. Some speak English perfectly because they come from English speaking countries, have been educated in English in their home country, or attended an international school in a host country and may speak little to none of their own national languages. Other students have a fairly good mastery of English but need to or want to improve.

Some of you may be entering programs that require you to be fairly proficient in English before being accepted and others may have been accepted into programs where you still need help in the language and the school is prepared to give that extra help by way of offering English as a Foreign Language (EFL) or classes for English Language Learners (ELL), as they are called in the U.S.

Obviously the better you know the language the sooner you will get settled and connected, and the easier it will be to move along in your studies. Even if the main reason you are coming to an English-speaking country is to learn English, don’t wait until you get there to start learning and/or practising the language. Try to have some knowledge of the language and practice speaking it before leaving home.

One of the biggest reasons international students feel isolated at school is because they can’t communicate.

This can also make them feel like they made the wrong decision to study abroad, and can lead to feeling extremely homesick or even depressed. It’s frustrating and uncomfortable not to be understood and not to be able to let others know what you need. Knowing at least a few words and phrases in English will help you get around and feel more comfortable and self-assured.

Of course, most students start learning a new language quickly when they are immersed in it 24 hours a day every day as you will be, but it does take time. So it is a good idea to start working on it as soon as you can. Here are ten tips to help you get started:

1. Find English speakers to practice with.

2. Read in English.

Read the world news, which you may already understand in your own language, but also read the news of the country you will be studying in so you will be able to discuss current events with your peers and others.

3. Practice writing in English.

For example, write letters to friends, to your school, or to family members. You don’t have to actually send them unless you want to.

4. Watch movies with English subtitles.

5. Listen to audiobooks or podcasts in English.

6. Take a class in English.

It can be one that doesn’t count for credit but is fun, creative, or entertaining. It could even be a dance, art or sports class.

7. Study English with a tutor.

8. Read books in English that you are already familiar with and know the storyline.

9. Watch familiar childhood movies, such as Disney movies in English.

10. Regionalise your English.

If you are using an English language program, be sure it is ‘American’ English if you will be studying in the U.S. or Canada and ‘British’ English if you are studying in the U.K. or former English colony.

Look into learning slang and idioms of the English language in your country of study. There are many words and phrases in British English that have very different meanings in the U.S. and can be considered rude or inappropriate and vice versa. International students report that language misunderstandings are one of the most frequent causes of cultural surprises.

Keep practising even if you think your English speaking skills are fairly good. Practice with a native English speaker. As you go about your day, start going through in your head how you would say in English some of the things you are asking, answering, or debating in your own language. More than one international student has offered the suggestion that watching television programs in the country of study helps improve one’s accent – something that helps break down barriers when trying to make friends with your host country peers.

This article has been written by Tina L. Quick, Author of Survive and Thrive: The International Student’s Guide to Succeeding in the U.S.

You can order this amazing book here.

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TOEFL & IELTS University Score Requirements Around the World

Ready to start your study abroad journey? If you’re looking to study a university course in English, it is very likely that you’ll need to pass either the TOEFL or IELTS with a good score, depending on your university’s requirements. So we’ve put together a list of TOEFL and IELTS score requirements for a range of different universities around the world to give you an idea of what to aim for.

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: USA

University of Central Missouri:

  • TOEFL IBT (internet based) score of 79;
  • TOEFL PBT (paper based) score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.0.

Southern New Hampshire University

  • TOEFL score of 71 (for undergraduate programmes) and 79 (for graduate programmes);
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (undergraduate and graduate).

Harvard Business School

  • TOEFL IBT score of 109;
  • IELTS score of 7.5.

University of Central Florida

  • TOEFL IBT score of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.5.

Lewis-Clark College State

  • TOEFL IBT score of 72,
  • TOEFL PBT score of 530;
  • IELTS score of 6.

College of the Desert

  • TOEFL IBT score of 45;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 450;
  • IELTS score of 5.

Hawaii Pacific University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.0 overall.

University of North Carolina, Charlotte

  • TOEFL IBT score of 83;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 557;
  • IELTS overall band score of 6.5.

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: Australia

Griffith University

  • TOEFL iBT score of 79;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 575;
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (with no sub-score of less than 6.0).

Bond University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 98 (or less, depending on the programme);
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (or even higher, depending on the programme you choose to study).

 Victoria University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 55;
  • IELTS overall score of 5.5 (no band less than 5.0).

University of Melbourne

  • If you get an overall score of less than 7 for IELTS or a score less than 94 for TOEFL IBT, you will need to take a Diagnostic English Language Assessment (DELA) to enrol at the university.

Central Queensland University

  • TOEFL iBT overall score of 75 (with no score less than 17);
  • IELTS score of 6 (with no individual band score of less than 5.5).

Monash University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 79;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.5.

University of the Sunshine Coast

  • TOEFL IBT score of 76;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS overall score of 6.0 (with minimum 5.5 in each subtest).

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: Canada

McGill University

  • TOEFL IBT overall score of 86 (no less than 20 in each of the four component scores);
  • TOEFL PBT score of 567;
  • IELTS score of 6.5.

Simon Fraser University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 93 (with a minimum of 20 in each category);
  • TOEFL PBT score of 580;
  • IELTS overall score of 7.0 (with a minimum of 6.5 in each section).

University of New Brunswick

  • TOEFL IBT of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT of 550;
  • IELTS minimum band score of 7.

University of Alberta

  • TOEFL IBT score of 88 (with a score of at least 20 on each individual skill areas);
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550 (paper-based);
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (with at least 5 on each band).

Centennial College

  • TOEFL IBT score of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.0 (with no band score less than 5.5).

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: UK

University of Birmingham

  • TOEFL overall score of 80 overall (or more depending on the programme you choose);
  • IELTS score of 6.0.

University of Oxford

  • TOEFL IBT overall score of 110
  • TOEFL PBT overall score of 600;
  • IELTS overall score of 7.0.

University College of London

  • TOEFL overall score of 92;
  • IELTS overall grade of 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the subtests).

University of Manchester

  • TOEFL IBT score of 72
  • IELTS score of 5.5.

Apart from TOEFL and IELTS, some universities also accept other English proficiency language tests such as the Cambridge English Language Assessment or the Pearson Test of English Academic. There are many other tests (for example Ascentis, City and Guilds, the English Speaking Board International, the Teaching Knowledge Test) available out there, but you have to double-check with your institution that they accept them for enrollment.

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