FAQs about TEFL and the CertTESOL

Have you got a question about the Trinity CertTESOL course at Atlas? For example, how is the course structured, why take the CertTESOL instead of the CELTA, what’s the difference between the in-school courses and online options? We try to answer these and other questions below. If you have other questions, please use the contact form to send 

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificates will generally allow you to teach English abroad in many non-English speaking countries. The courses vary in content, hours, and cost. The major difference between the Trinity CertTESOL and many TEFL courses is that on most TEFL courses you are not required to do any actual teaching. Realistically, to learn to teach English you will have to stand up in front of a class (or increasingly log into a Zoom room) full of non-native speakers at some time and do it. Just having the knowledge of how to teach is not enough.

By way of example, would you consider yourself being able to drive a car by just reading the manual? The teaching practice component of our Trinity CertTESOL course (both in-school and online) will give you invaluable classroom experience which cannot be found on most TEFL courses. The other major advantage that the Trinity CertTESOL has over a TEFL course is that the CertTESOL allows you to teach in accredited English language institutes in Ireland, the UK, Australia, and other English speaking countries. If you are considering taking a TEFL course and think that you might teach in a QQI-recognised English language school in Ireland at some point, you should make sure your teaching training course is recognised by QQI. Most online TEFL courses without a teaching practice component are not.

Essentially they are very similar. The CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching of Adults) is awarded by Cambridge University. The CELT is awarded by QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland), which is the Irish government’s validation and awarding body. Before we got our CertTESOL validated, Atlas was a CELT provider. And the CertTESOL, of course, is awarded by Trinity College London. All three courses require a minimum of 120-130 hours of supervised learning during the course, which includes a minimum of 6 hours of assessed teaching practice. On all three courses, you are required to complete a number of written assignments by the end of the course. The CertTESOL and CELTA are both internationally accepted teaching qualifications. The CELT is less well-known globally so doesn’t have that same recognition when you travel outside Ireland.

Here are some other useful reviews that compare the CELTA and CertTESOL

Oxford TEFL – What is the difference between the Trinity CertTESOL and the Cambridge CELTA?


Xplore TEFL – CELTA vs CertTESOL


To be a successful language teacher, it’s essential to have a good knowledge of grammar. However, we are not expecting you to have any deep knowledge of grammar when you start out as a trainee. There are language analysis sessions on the course and one of the written assignments focuses on this aspect of being a teacher. Also, teaching is not just about knowing grammar, you will also learn how to teach vocabulary, reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

For the purposes of the application and the interview it is more important that you show a basic appreciation of the different forms of words – nouns, verbs and adjectives, etc. – and can explain the difference in meaning between two similar words or grammar structures. Conveying meaning is the most important part of language teaching. If you can explain the meaning of a piece of language, you will probably make a good impression at the interview.

After we offer trainees a place on our CertTESOL course, we do advise them all to do some pre-course reading to get a head start with the grammar. Bringing even a basic knowledge of grammar onto the course will come in useful. We’d suggest knowing the different word classes (noun, verb, adjective, etc.) and the names of all the major tenses (Present Simple, Past Continuous, Present Perfect, etc.) will benefit you greatly when you start the course as we use a lot of meta-language like this in the different input sessions.

Check out these websites to brush up on your basic grammar.

Talk English.com




Before starting the course we also recommend that you buy a good grammar book. You’ll need this to help you with language analysis. We recommend the following book. It provides a detailed guide to English grammar with exercises for self-study (including answer key) and information on common student problems.

Martin Parrott, Grammar for English Language Teachers (second edition) Cambridge University Press, 2010. (ISBN: 9780521712040).

Talk English.com




Before starting the course we also recommend that you buy a good grammar book. You’ll need this to help you with language analysis. We recommend the following book. It provides a detailed guide to English grammar with exercises for self-study (including answer key) and information on common student problems.

Martin Parrott, Grammar for English Language Teachers (second edition) Cambridge University Press, 2010. (ISBN: 9780521712040).

Teaching is a wonderful, fulfilling, and rewarding profession. Many trainees who complete the CertTESOL travel abroad to teach. Others stay in Ireland either teaching year-round or in one of the many seasonal summer centres. The CertTESOL is your passport to thousands of teaching jobs all over the world. You can teach for a short period in one country and then move on to another or work for longer periods. The choice is yours and, who knows, you may never decide to return.

We’re not going to lie to you. The CertTESOL can be stressful, particularly the full-time course. But that said, there is a lot you can do to minimise stress and ensure that you get the best out of the course. Time management is the key. We strongly advise you to draw up a plan of work for the duration of the course. Make a note of what is due when. It’s also very important to factor in some downtime in your plan. Keep at least one day free at the weekends.

Smartphone technology has also made it much easier to plan our time. Make use of the calendar and reminder apps that are available for both iPhone and android. You can use Google Calendar, for example, to help you to manage your tasks easily and get reminders of any upcoming deadlines.

Since the start of the pandemic the two big, globally-recognised initial teaching training bodies, Trinity and Cambridge have been allowing CertTESOLs and CELTAs to be completed 100% online. This means that you don’t have to put your teaching career on hold to wait out the pandemic and Covid-19 restrictions and can take the CertTESOL from the safety of your own home.

The CertTESOL online course has the same content and hours as an in-school CertTESOL course. You will still submit the same written assignments during the course and will still be doing teaching practice assessed by an accredited CertTESOL teacher trainer. The only differences are that online you will using the following technologies:

  • a learning management system to access the self-study activities tasks
  • drive and the google suite of applications to submit the assessed assignments
  • the video conferencing platform, Zoom, as a virtual classroom for the live , real-time sessions with the trainers and your peers.

You will have a minimum of six hours assessed teaching practice (TP) with a live classroom of English language learners from around the world. You will be assessed by one of our qualified CertTESOL trainers and receive feedback. Your fellow CertTESOL trainees will also observe some of these TP sessions at certain points, and you will observe them as well.

The blended Trinity CertTESOL 100% online course will also be offered as a full-time from 2022, for which you will need to be present online at various points during the five weeks long course.

As with the face-to-face CertTESOL course, you will be gaining an internationally recognised ELT qualification that all reputable schools look for when they are recruiting teachers. Doing it online, though, has the added benefits of:

  1. Accessibility – you can access the CertTESOL in the comfort of your own home and not have to pay additional travel or accommodation costs
  2. Flexibility – part of the online learning component of the course will be taken asynchronously which means you can study those modules at any time and from any where. You can take the course, for example, from your home and make it first in with your current working hours. Space and pace the learning to suit you.
  3. Consolidation – part of the online learning component of the course with Atlas Language School will be taken synchronously, which means while you can still study these modules from your home, you will also still study in a group and with the in-course support of a live teacher trainer. These synchronous modules are used for consolidation, assisted lesson planning, and individual tutorials.

No. You will still get the standard Trinity CertTESOL certificate, which is issued by Trinity College London and certifies that you have completed 130 hours of supervised training.

  • English language proficiency. For non-native speakers, minimum C1 (i.e., Cambridge CAE, IELTS 7.0)
  • Educational background to research and understand grammar, and complete written assignments
  • potential to develop the necessary skills to become an effective English language teacher.
  • can comply with all attendance requirements for successful completion of the course.

In addition, for the online learning, you will also need:

  • a laptop or desktop computer with a camera
  • a good internet connection
  • headset (i.e., headphones with a microphone attached. You can use your computer’s camera and speakers, but a headset often offers better sound quality)
  • a designated and comfortable working space at home
  • your notebook and pen or pencil (the same as if you were coming to class in the school).

Just email us at teachertraining@atlaslanguageschool.com or leave your question below

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