Signing up for an online course can be quite daunting – “I haven’t studied online before.” “It’s been years since I studied anything.” These are all common feelings so don’t worry. We’ve put together some tips to help you approach your online studies.
What’s your goal?
Not everyone will have the same goal, so the first thing you need to do is define what your goal is.
You have already chosen a course based on how you prefer to learn; in the classroom, online or a combination of the two (blended learning). Depending on the course option you have chosen, you will have a set time to complete it, or you may need to have it completed by a certain date to be able to apply for a particular role/job opportunity. When do you want to have your training completed by? Give yourself a goal to aim for. If you want to complete the course within 12 weeks, complete a module every month, or complete it before the expiry date.
The best thing about the course is that it is self-paced so you are in control of your learning. You can mark what you have completed, make a note of any topics or areas that you want to review and look at again. You can do this by checking/un-checking at the bottom of each page. If you do need more time to complete your online studies, you can purchase a course extension.
Set aside time to study
We all lead busy lives and prioritise tasks and projects on a daily basis – sometimes without even realising! We recommend dedicating some time to your course every day or every week depending on your schedule – short periods of regular study is best. Dedicate a part of your day/week to your TEFL course.
There is a wealth of information to take on board as this is a completely new subject area for you. Don’t rush your studies as you reach your course deadline or submit all your assignments at once. It’s not good to put yourself under undue pressure or stress, plus you won’t be able to get the best out of the course.
Take regular breaks
You may have a deadline to work to but remember to take regular breaks. Your concentration level can start to wane after a while. Taking a break gives you the chance to rest and ‘recharge’. Get up from your desk, stretch your legs, neck, back, etc., and give your eyes a rest too.
It can take a while to understand some concepts and can lead to you feeling frustrated. This is normal so don’t worry. Part of being an effective learner is knowing when to take time to take a break and reflect on what you have learned
Grammar can take a while to be absorbed, so don’t feel frustrated if you don’t get it right first time. It puts you in the shoes of the English language learner. Is this something they would struggle with? How would you explain this point to them? Are there any patterns that can help?
If you are having trouble, try the Pomodoro Technique (a quick explainer video below)
Take time to read what is being asked of you
Read what is being asked of you. The task may only be 50 words. “What does this mean?” you say. Well, as an EFL teacher you need to explain concepts clearly and succinctly – you don’t want long-winded explanations of vocabulary or grammar points which can be confusing to learners. This is your challenge, as a TEFL teacher
It’s quite easy to check ahead to see what the assignments are when you first start the course and panic. Don’t panic. By the time that you come to the assignment, you will have covered what you need to pass it. The tutors are aware of what you have covered on the course up to each assignment that you submit. Some concepts that are dealt with later on in the course may come in handy, or you have some previous knowledge which is great, but it’s important to remember what is being assessed in each particular assignment. So, just answer the question, and don’t try to jump ahead.
Your online tutor is there to support you through your online studies. If you are not sure about how to tackle an assignment, or just need clarification of what is being asked of you – they are just an email away. They have a wealth of experience teaching EFL and also training teachers, so they have come across everything you may think of. Check out their profiles here.
They may provide extra resources to assist you with your learning. They will also be providing feedback for all your written assignments too.
Connect with other students
You may be taking an online course but you are definitely not alone. There is a whole student community waiting for you online. In our TEFL forum, you can chat with other students who are doing the same course/s as you. You may find that you are not the only one that is struggling with reported speech. Encourage, help and learn from each other.
For travel discussions, jobs and teaching resources try our Facebook group.
Learning is a very personal experience so try not to compare yourself to other students – we all have our own experiences that we can build on, and work best at our own pace. You may have previous experience with some of the topics covered – these might be ‘easier’ for you and/or take less time to complete.
And last of all, make it fun!
You’re training to be a teacher, so it’s important that you know how to study and practise what you’ve learned.
- Get comfortable.
- Make your favourite drink.
- Create a playlist if you like to study with background music e.g. on Spotify – music for concentration playlist.
- If you prefer peace and quiet, put your phone on silent and block notifications.
- Get some nice stationary, post-its and highlighters. Make flashcards of new vocabulary or definitions and test yourself!
So, there you have it – our tips for completing your online TEFL course. Do you have any study tips you’d like to share with other students? Share them in the comments section below.