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TESOL / TEFL / CELTA / EFL / ESL / ELT -- What is the difference? Which course should I take?

There is a great irony when it comes to choices. It is good to have options, so says the age old adage. In actuality, scientific data points to the fact that having too many options causes a state of paralysis. The human psychology is such that more choices are a detriment to the decision-making process. For example, did your significant other ever ask you what would you like for dinner? and hours later you still could not decide? A similar conundrum exists within the field of international education.

You are predisposed to an interest about other cultures. You are fascinated by other languages, sights, sounds, and the overall ambiance of a new and unexplored destination. You love to travel, you love doing business in education, you just love teaching. It could be one or all of these things. So you begin to look at your options. Overwhelmed, you find yourself shocked by the breadth of employment availability. Perhaps you narrow your search to Europe, then find positions in 10 or more countries, and 10 or more cities available in each of those countries. Your list is narrowed down to a cool 100 different options. Unsure how best to proceed for the time being, you give it a rest and decide you will get back to it later. Days go by, weeks go by, perhaps ultimately months or years. It never happens. This is what is called "the law of diminishing likelihood," which states that the longer you go without executing an idea, the more unlikely it becomes that the idea will ever come to fruition.

We are here to simplify this dilemma. Ironically enough, though, we must first over-complicate it further. Before a hypothetical case study of choosing a place to work can viably be completed, you must first go about getting qualified. You face a similar dilemma before sending forth your CV and application. What qualification should you get, which qualification do you need, where can you get it, and how? First of all, let's define these acronyms:

TEFL - Teaching English as a Foreign Language: for the most part, this is exactly as it sounds. You will often see jobs boards that require a TEFL certificate (or equivalent).

TESOL - Teaching English as a Second or Other Language: for the most part, this is also exactly as it sounds. A TESOL certificate would classify as an equivalent, as mentioned above.

CELTA - Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults: held in the highest regard in the field, this is widely thought to be the best form of qualification for prospective teachers.

**When deciding which course to take, you will have online, offline, and online / offline versions from which to choose. Ultimately, it depends on your preferences, price range, and the requirements of the institution to which you wish to apply. To request an information packet, to receive further guidance on these courses, and to receive our partner discount codes, please email directly -- geoffsokol@mackington.com.

ESL - English as a Second Langauge versus EFL - English as a Foreign Language: this topic merits a full-length discussion with academic sources, links to further reading, so on and so forth. For now, lets keep it simple. EFL is thought to be more of the "traditional approach" to language acquisition; ESL is more of an immersion-based learning environment, wherein students learn through engagement in topics, critical thinking, and a more creative approach. ELT stands for English Language Training, which can be broadly applied to many aspects of the language acquisition process. In other words, ELT can apply to IELTS preparation, or can be learning to sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

In this blog post, our advice is what journalists refer to as a zag. Stemming from the term zigzag, we are here to zag while most everyone else is doing a common zig. Our take is that you should not fret too much over the course you take. As with most anything in life, you will get out what you put in. Therefore, whichever course you choose, give it your full effort and apply what you learn by putting it immediately into practice. Many great teachers lose interest in the field due to this law of diminishing likelihood. Instead, hopefully we can provide a nudge to those folks to roll the dice and give it a shot, resting assured that there will be plenty of job opportunities for them.

To do so, most of the legwork has already been completed. Mackington has a ranking system, modeled after the chess board, of various certification programs, teaching jobs, countries in which to teach, and plenty more to both get you started and keep you on the upward trend. Pop us over an email to request this information package, hop onto our mailing list, or simply follow us across our social media platforms to stay in touch. At the end of the day, we want good teachers in good schools, and if we can facilitate good times, personal growth, and professional development along the way, that is quite the cherry on top.

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