Student Blogs

Henrietta Evan's Blog

posted Sep 12, 2014, 8:47 AM by Barbara Hanvey   [ updated Sep 12, 2014, 8:52 AM ]

Henrietta Evan's Blog

Hello- my name is Henrietta

I have been working in France for three years now, currently as an English Language assistant teacher or lectrice at a University in France and previously as an English Language Assistant at a Secondary School, helping students prepare for their oral English Baccalaureate. My work consists mainly of preparing and delivering oral lessons and exams but also this year helping students with writing their CVS and applications in English.

I completed the English Language Centre TEFL diploma in 2012 after gratefully receiving a partial scholarship and after finishing my English degree in Scotland. I have always had a very keen interest in how the English language works and learning about other cultures and languages (I was brought up bilingual). I feel that learning other languages helps us understand our own language better, especially with French, arguably a language close to our own. By living and working in another country, we are able to achieve this more easily.

I originally applied for the course when I found out I would be possibly going to France to teach English through the British Council's Language Assistant Scheme. This is something I always dreamed of doing but I knew I would be teaching a wide range of young adult students from all levels of English and personally felt the need to have a thorough understanding of the TEFL world and teaching strategies to feel confident in the classroom (though not necessary) and to be able to continue teaching English longer in France past the language assistantship. This is what attracted me to the English Language Centre's Diploma: the variety of the course content and the amount of detail it provided. I also found many other courses to be too expensive at a time of high graduate unemployment and was thrilled to see that the English Language Centre offered scholarships. I then applied for the programme and scholarship and was fortunate enough to be offered a partial scholarship.

By doing the course, I feel more confident in approaching different teaching situations and of course have been able to nurture this by working in two very different classroom and work environments. The first where students were less confident and enthusiastic- not always easy I have to say- and the second where students were quite opposite. I also had the challenge of teaching students of my own age this year which has been trying but also a very rewarding experience. I had to always be prepared for the unexpected and that's my top advice for anyone considering a career in TEFL.

My love of English and of course France and the French language has naturally grown further and I now wish to travel and work in other French speaking countries and possibly move to a German or Spanish speaking country for a while too. Teaching abroad has opened up so many doors for me, professionally and personally and it is definitely a part of my life I do not wish to forget in a hurry. There is so much in our world and being open to other ways of life and other workplaces, however cliched it may sound, is so incredibly important. TEFL literally opens up the world to you and enriches your life no other way can, even with the frustration the administration and another way of life can flood you with. It outweighs the negatives beyond reason. Now I wish to include this experience into my future career plans by working at an International Office at a university either abroad or in the UK while preparing for a masters in Literature. That way I can both include my love of TEFL, other cultures and languages with my love of Literature and English.

For now, I say à bientot et bon courage for all those thinking of teaching abroad! I am sure you will have a very rewarding time. 


Tobias Drummond's Blog

posted Jul 15, 2014, 9:29 AM by Barbara Hanvey   [ updated Jul 15, 2014, 9:34 AM ]

Tobias Drummond's Blog

Hi - I'm Tobias

My experience as a English teacher in Spain was absolutely amazing. As a recent Events Management graduate, teaching English was something completely new to me; but the training and support I received throughout my TEFL course prepared me for my adventure abroad.

As a person interested in Linguistics and learning languages, traveling to Spain was always on the cards. My experience as an English teacher helped me to understand the problems that come with language learning and how to combat this issues.

It was fairly easy finding an English Teacher/Teaching Assistant job in Spain, particularly as a native English speaker; however one issue I did encounter was employers specifically asking for TEFL accredited individuals whose courses had included classroom training. This issue was still easily avoided.

I was in Spain for a 6 month period and gained a lot of transferable skills. I had taught children and adults at a beginner, intermediate and advance level of English. I now feel more confident in my teaching approach and designing lesson plans. It was all definitely a worthwhile experience and I would do it all again in a heart beat.

PS - I am also at a pretty good conversational level in Spanish now.

Hasta luego!


Lisa Newberry's Blog

posted Jul 9, 2014, 8:11 AM by Barbara Hanvey   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 9:29 AM ]

Lisa Newberry's Blog

Hello I'm Lisa, and I am now the proud recipient of an English Language Centre TEFL diploma which I am very grateful to have received on a scholarship basis. I enjoyed the course immensely and liked the fact that I could work anywhere at any time of day. The feedback I received was always prompt, providing constructive criticism and praise simultaneously which encouraged me to reflect and learn from the work I had done before starting the next module.
I thought that each component of the course was well structured and easy to work through independently. The self-help tasks and points to ponder were an excellent tool to ensure that I did not rush through the reading without processing the information. This meant when I came to write the assignments my notes were more in depth and useful. I also found it beneficial to read some of the articles referenced for each module as it provided extra context and the materials were well selected and thought provoking.

I gained a great deal from the course and the assignments encouraged me to creatively utilise the knowledge and theories learnt in each module. Despite learning remotely I was provided with a deeper insight into practical tasks such as lesson and course planning. I was also able to explore concepts of communicative learning approaches, which are increasingly in demand from schools and students all over the world. 

I am currently volunteering in India where there is not a high demand for English teaching lessons but in two months I will be winging my way to Vietnam to apply for teaching jobs.

I am very excited to be starting a new adventure and having a TEFL qualification will help me no end in finding a fulfilling teaching position!


Mike Pedley's Blog

posted Jul 9, 2014, 7:58 AM by Barbara Hanvey   [ updated Jul 15, 2014, 9:31 AM ]

Mike Pedley's Blog

Hello, my name is Mike, a graduate of the Open University with a BA in English Language and Literature. Having moved to France last year, I found myself eager to share my passion for English through teaching and set about researching the requirements. I soon became aware of the necessity of a TEFL qualification and saw that the ELC offered a scholarship programme. I quickly submitted an application and was very lucky to be chosen. Having just recently completed my final essay and been awarded my diploma, I can only recommend the programme to others.

I wasn’t sure what sort of content to expect heading into this sort of study, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I discovered. The course covers a vast range of topics. I was introduced to the practice of TEFL teaching for all ages, abilities, and special requirements, which is particularly helpful for those who aren’t sure what sort of age groups they’d like to teach, or would like to diversify in the future. For example, the course material teaches, in detail, the startling differences between the way adults, adolescents, and young children learn, and then goes deeper into the issue by examining the science and theories behind these differences and asking you to consider your own thoughts about learning/teaching.

I’ve also studied, amongst many other things, how to create and implement an effective lesson plan, various methods to encourage and motivate students effectively, a wide range of theories of language learning and acquisition, and even a look at the current research being done into language study and the ways it could shape the future of teaching.

Put simply, the course certainly covers far more than I expected, and from a personal point of view, this made it wonderfully engaging as I became more and more interested in the field of languages, and was even motivated to do a little of my own independent research. As I finished each module I remained eager to begin the next, and feel that I’ve learnt a great deal of practical skills to help when I teach, along with developing a far richer understanding of the rich subject of language learning.

Another advantage of the course is that you’re free to work at your own pace. Being able to set your own deadlines, your own targets, and motivate yourself to work may seem more daunting to some, but these are all valuable life skills to learn, particularly for a teacher, and helped me a great deal. The personal tutor I had was also very helpful; she offered constructive feedback and was both friendly and rapid in her replies to any queries I had, along with the rest of the team at the English Language Centre.

Whilst studying for the diploma, I began working voluntarily for an association teaching English to young children and adolescents. I found the material in the course to be an invaluable aid at this time, and have been successful enough for the association to recently offer me a permanent position with them. I’ve also received plenty of positive feedback from parents and students and feel I am already reaping the rewards of a TEFL career. Many of the skills I have employed in this work, along with the newfound confidence with which I’m able to approach the job, are all thanks to the work I’ve done on the programme.

Now that I have completed the diploma, I feel well-prepared to teach English in the future, and the fact that I have very recently been offered a job serves as testament to the fact that a qualification in TEFL is both valuable and vital for anyone looking to pursue the exciting life of teaching abroad. I’ve greatly enjoyed my study and I am already enjoying teaching itself, and so I wish both luck and encouragement to anyone who’s thinking of following the same path.


Tom Hunter's Blog

posted Jul 9, 2014, 7:33 AM by Barbara Hanvey   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 9:19 AM ]

Tom Hunter's Blog

Hi - I'm Tom Hunter.

I had wanted to teach English abroad for a while, and realised that while I had taught English as a volunteer for a few months, I needed to be better equipped to teach English as a job for a year. 

I discovered that most TEFL courses were quite expensive, and out of my price range as I was a volunteer at the time. I was very pleased to discover the English Language Centre did a useful course and that they offered scholarships covering the entire cost of the programme. I applied and was very pleased to be awarded a scholarship. I was assigned a tutor and got to work on the course, which I completed quickly. My tutor was very helpful on giving feedback on assignments. The course stood me in good stead for what I wanted to do, as it is broad and yet focused on some of the more important aspects of TEFL teaching.

Once I had completed the course I applied through the Careers Service to teach in Asia. The careers service was very efficient and I was quickly rewarded with a place in a school in the city of Ningbo, China. I was very excited to go to a different country for a year!

I was amazed when I first arrived at the welcome I received from my school; I was taken to restaurants and was even shown around the city by some of my students. The school that I taught at was a special Foreign Language school, apparently one of the best in the Province. I had my own classroom, which was fully equipped for PowerPoint. The school also had lots of facilities and was situated outside the city next to a beautiful lake.

My job was to teach oral English, which was a lot of fun. My main aim was to get my students talking English and we had a lot of fun, my TEFL training helped me to think about how I could plan my lessons better and how I could engage my pupils. I taught pupils new words about topics they were interested in, as well as formulating conservation questions for group discussion, debates, presentations and other fun activities and games.

We only had to teach 16 lessons a week, which made for quite a relaxed timetable, especially as an English oral teacher we had no marking to do. We also had numerous short breaks such as when the students had exams. In addition to this during the spring festival holiday I received a whole month off, which I spent travelling around China and southeast Asia.

It was quite sad to say goodbye to my students at the end of a year. Most of the students are very well behaved and eager to learn and practise English. They really like having an international teacher and wanted to learn more about British culture. I got to like one class especially; they were great fun to teach. I will return to China for another year to teach English as the experience of living and working in such a different culture was amazing. 

I would definitely recommend teaching in Asia - while it may be difficult at first, it is very rewarding and I made some great friends in China!


Alison's Blog

posted Feb 7, 2012, 5:37 AM by Barbara Hanvey   [ updated Jul 15, 2014, 9:32 AM ]

Alison's Blog

Hi, I’m Alison Pickard - a very grateful recipient of the ELC Teach Abroad Scholarship!

I graduated from the University of Sussex last year, with a BA in International Relations. I have a strong passion for travel and love meeting people from all over the world. After graduating I was volunteering for one day each week as an Admin Assistant at the British Red Cross London Refugee Support Service and looking for paid work.

I found the advert for the ELC Scholarship on my University Careers Website. I’d been thinking of doing a TEFL course for a few years now, as a great way to see the world and make money at the same time. I studied abroad for a few months in Taiwan and found that people teaching English as a foreign language there, seemed to be having a fantastic time and had a very high standard of living. But the main reason why I was so keen to do a TEFL is because my qualifications are theory based, so I don’t have a useful skill that I can take to help people in other countries. Therefore, gaining skills as an English teacher will mean that I can be of real use and not just taking jobs that could be done by people living there already.

So far, I have completed four modules of the course and I think it’s great! I have been assigned a tutor who gives me useful, constructive comments on the assignments that I submit. I had been a bit sceptical about how much I could learn about teaching without standing in front of a real class but have been really pleasantly surprised! I have learned a lot already about different methods used in teaching and how to develop effective lesson plans. It really is true that you’ll get out of it as much as you put in. If you do all the tasks thoroughly, it is a very comprehensive course. The course also strikes a good balance between advising on how teaching should be done and letting you develop your own style.

Now that I am feeling so much more prepared it’s really inspiring me to go out and teach somewhere, so now I need to try out the Job Placement Service and see if they can help me with my queries!


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