In the first few instalments of Sam’s monthly blog, he’ll be focusing on each of the three Frontier qualifications that we offer. Last month saw a piece on Frontier’s BTECs in Tropical Habitat Conservation and this month, Sam takes a closer look at the Frontier BTEC Advanced Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). If you’re thinking about undertaking a Frontier teaching project or are already signed up to one, the next few paragraphs will explore our BTEC TEFL and how they could help you get more out of your project as well as providing something really useful for your CV.
Are you looking at a career in the education sector or working with people? Or perhaps you’re already a teacher looking for experience working in the TEFL sector. Whatever you are looking to do in the future, joining a Frontier teaching volunteers project will enable you to have an immediate impact on the ground on a long-term sustainable education project, as well as develop useful communication and presentation skills and vital experience in lesson planning, delivery and resource creation.
Undertaking the Frontier BTEC Advanced Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) will enable you as a volunteer to undergo an intensive pre-departure training course followed by structured lesson planning and evaluation on your teaching project.
Image courtesy of Helen Everett, Cambodia Teaching in Siem Reap
So what are BTEC qualifications?
BTECs are known as vocational qualifications. This mean they focus on practical skill development rather than academic knowledge. Although you will have to do some academic work, the primary aim of the BTEC TEFL is to develop candidates’ working knowledge of planning and assessing and evaluating English lessons to mixed ability learners.
All of our BTEC qualifications are written by us and certified by the internationally recognised awarding body EDEXCEL at Level 3 (the same level as an AS and A Level) on the Qualifications and Credits Framework (QCF). EDEXCEL inspects Frontier annually to ensure we offer the highest possible standard of qualification to our project participants.
The BTECs have been written to support the work that already occurs on our teaching projects so they contribute to the work already being achieved, rather than detract from it. You will find it makes your work on a project even more focused, relevant and meaningful.
One of our BTEC candidates said this:
"I've really loved my time here in Madagascar. The teaching programme is extremely rewarding and well supported. It's great to feel like you are making a difference whilst also benefiting yourself by gaining excellent TEFL qualifications."
Rio Bailey, BTEC TEFL – Madagascar
Image courtesy of Daniel Melamdowitz, Madagascar Teaching
I’m interested! What will I have to do?
To achieve the EDEXCEL accredited BTEC in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) all of our candidates must attend a comprehensive two- day training course at our London headquarters or at one of our Briefing Weekends. These training sessions cover information and advice on planning learning activities, assessing learners, teaching practice and more. You’ll be required to complete a number of “evidences” to display your knowledge as well as passing a grammar and terminology test. But don’t worry! You’ll be provided with all the information you need to revise beforehand. You’ll also have the opportunity to plan and deliver a short 10-15 minute lesson on an English topic of your choice to other project participants. The aim of this is to practice the delivery of target language to a group of learners so that the first time you do it in-country, it won’t be so daunting!
Following the training weekend, BTEC candidates must complete 80 notional hours of teaching practice in the field. This breaks down to 40 hours of English teaching which must be logged in your candidate handbook and 40 hours of planning, preparation and assessment time. This means we only offer the BTEC TEFL to volunteers on 4 week teaching placements or longer.
Following your teaching placement, you would be required to write a short essay about the teaching methods you encounter on your placement compared to those you encounter in schools in this country. This report is primarily an opinion piece and should show an understanding of various teaching techniques you have encountered.
Image courtesy of Leonora Bailey, Fiji Teaching
Great! So how do I enrol?
Enrolling is very straightforward. Once you’ve signed up to a project and paid your deposit, you’ll have access to a “Courses & kit” section. Here you’ll be able to download and read all of the information pertaining to the BTEC TEFL qualification. At the end of the BTEC information pack, is an enrolment form that you’ll have to send back to us before we can enrol you on the qualification. You can either pay for the qualification by cheque, online or over the phone!
You’ll also be able to download a TEFL pack with full details of the thing you’ll need to prepare and revise for the course