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UNG offers scholarships for new TEFL online program

TEFL online 2017
A young girl shows a paper doll she made during classes with aspiring teachers from UNG's College of Education during a study abroad trip to China.

Would you like to travel and experience a new culture by teaching English abroad? The University of North Georgia (UNG) has added an online, four-course program to earn Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification, which is a requirement to teach the language in many nations.

UNG's TEFL program, which is offered through the Center for Language Education (CLE), is open to anyone who has completed high school or has a GED equivalent, and is designed for those with little or no experience teaching English. The registration deadline for spring courses is May 1 for classes that begin May 8; a limited number of full scholarships are available to cover the $1,500 cost of the entire program. Information sessions are planned Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

For decades, any native English speaker with a college degree could teach English abroad, but in many countries that's just not enough anymore, according to CLE Director Dr. James Badger.

"Now the basic requirements for English teaching jobs are a university degree, native English speaker, and a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate," Badger said. "To be employed legally as an English teacher in many countries, a TEFL certificate and university degree are required by many governments to receive a work visa."

At UNG, the TEFL certificate is taught by instructors who have experience teaching English overseas, and meets the standards set by TESOL International Association. The UNG program provides opportunities to conduct the 20 hours of required classroom observations and practice teaching through the university's partner schools and English as a Second Language centers.

"The TEFL certification is preparing us to bridge the linguistic and cultural gap between us and students of other nationalities in order to best teach our future students the English language," said Caleb Barth, who currently is taking the TEFL certificate at UNG.

Students learn about foreign culture as well as how to teach English, Badger said.

"Students in UNG's TEFL certificate learn about cultural issues related to living in a foreign country and how that affects classroom instruction, a good overview of issues related to language acquisition and how that can aid teachers in the second language classroom," Badger said. "In addition, students are introduced to an overview of methodologies for teaching English as a second language and classroom assessments and strategies to foster English language development."

Badger added that it is not a job requirement to speak the language in another country to be employed as an English teacher, though it may be picked up through the normal daily routine of living there or by studying the language.

Visit the CLE website for more information about the TEFL certificate program, or attend one of the upcoming information sessions, set for Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. Both sessions will be held 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Dunlap Hall Room 107A.

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