Standards are essential in the training of teachers of English to speakers of other languages. This is especially true in the case of free-standing TESOL distance programmes.
ACTDEC is the only internationally recognised independent accreditation body for stand alone TESOL distance courses whose regulatory function aims to benefit all who are interested in raising standards and protecting the public.
There are many distance course providers who are not accredited by any external independent body and who simply accredit themselves. Some are ‘accredited’ by ‘virtual’ universities which are not recognised universities in any commonly understood sense. The anonymity of cyberspace can provide ideal camouflage for some unscrupulous operators offering non-accredited distance ELT programmes. Such providers are not subject to regular inspection or external audit. The really first class ELT course organisers take pride in their provision and prove it with accreditation.
How do you choose?
One or two non-accredited courses may be academically sound but equally can be of poor quality and rather limited coverage. More importantly, they do not lead to an internationally recognised professional ELT certificate or diploma but simply an in-house certificate of unknown standing.
Organisations that are not prepared to submit themselves, or their courses, to the scrutiny of external accreditation very often have something to hide. Whilst accreditation doesn’t necessarily signify excellence in all TESOL distance programmes it most assuredly means that the course, an individual is taking, meets the quality assurance standards set out in a published Code of Practice.
Accreditation is the tool that can help school owners and DoS’s make sound employment decisions. It also offers protection for new entrants to the profession and, importantly, provides a quality benchmark for employers.
Course length is very important. The longer a course takes to complete is usually a good indication of its worth.
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