TEFL Scams

I’ve got another mail for TEFL information, this time through Facebook – I told you it was cool! As ever, it seems only fair to share…

I have seen your name come up a few times while searching TEFL information.
Can you tell me about any reputable companies that offer the TEFL course? I am trying to get info on taking the course abroad but I’m concerned about web scams. Everyone wants a deposit.

Internet TEFL scams, the scourge of the industry! From a few years of reading through TEFL forums and sites, being concerned about web scams isn’t a case of paranoia….there seem to be so many of them out there. How to spot the good ‘uns from the bad ‘uns, that’s the million dollar question. Requests for a deposit isn’t really a sign – legitimate TEFL sites want a deposit too, not just the crooks!

There are steps you can take to make sure that you don’t hand over cash to a fly-by-night outfit intent on fleecing as much money as possible before changing their identity and doing it all over again. Research is key. Dave’s ESL Cafe is one place to go, but beware – even though Dave’s is the biggest TEFL site out there, there are scammers running ads on the site.

Dave Sperling earns a fortune from the advertising on his site, and it is alleged (justifiably so in my opinion) his lust for cash exceeds his ethical principles. He’ll not only take anyone’s cash for an advert, but should anybody say anything negative about an advertiser, their post is removed and they face a ban.

Nonetheless, there are a lot of helpful contributors there. If a company is getting a good write up by a number of posters, then that can only be a good sign. You can always post a request for information and see if anyone sends you a Private Message with the dirt on the dodgy schools. Communicating with teachers about their experiences is by far the best way to go.

There are also a couple of sites dedicated to outing the pirates that might be worth checking out. Tefl Watch and TEFL Blacklist are two that I know of, that are regularly updated.

For Mexico, my own personal recommendation is Teachers Latin America. I know, I always tout them, but I promise I’m not paid a commission! I’ve only taken the one TEFL course, obviously, so they are the only ones I have personal experience with. I should add a disclaimer – I do still keep in touch with the course director, Guy Courchesne (still can’t pronounce the name, sadly!) and go along to occasional Mexico City teacher do’s. But that’s a good sign, I would have thought – how many scammed people keep in touch with someone who robbed them?! I thought the course was good, and value for money.

1 Comment

  • The obvious choice would be choosing Cambridge CELTA or Trinity Certificate in TESOL courses, as I believe there have been no scandals involving these two well known certs since Windsor TEFL sold Trinity courses without permission after Trinity had taken the right away from them. Unfortunately, some Cambridge CELTA centres have started demanding an "interview fee" or "application fee", making them look decidedly like the dodgy places and/ or persuading people that it is okay to send money before you even know if the place exists. I would never send any money before the interview, if only to stop this kind of system spreading.

    TEFLtastic blog – http://www.tefl.net/alexcase

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