Questions about TEFL and TESOL in France


1Is the TEFL course for me?
In our experience, and judging by past successful trainees, we think TEFL TOULOUSE is probably for you if some or all of these ring true for you:

  • You are interested in the English language, how it works
  • You DON’T want an online or “weekend in a hotel” TEFL course
  • You want a course with plenty of teaching practice to accompany the theory – a minimum of 6 observed hours, as well as peer teaching
  • You like working with people
  • World travel and foreign cultures appeal to you
  • You are energetic and lively and there’s a bit of a performer in you
  • You are at a bit of a crossroads in your life
  • You see TEFL as an appealing (temporary or permanent) career
  • Doing a 9 to 5 office job doesn’t appeal to you / you are sick to death of it!
  • You want to have fun at work, and have a sense of humour
  • The South West of France / Toulouse appeals to you
  • You are independent
  • You want a big change of direction or career
  • You are accompanying a partner overseas / already have a working partner here
  • You have children and are looking for a flexible part time job, with possible full time options in the future
  • You are not completely sure you want to teach, but in any case want to lose your shyness and improve your ability to address groups of people confidently and in an engaging way

2How is TEFL Toulouse different to other TEFL courses?

First of all, as mentioned above, this is not an online course, and is not a weekend TEFL course in a hotel. It is the basic teaching qualification you need to kick start your teaching career, lasts 4 weeks (Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 6.30pm) and includes 6 hours of observed teaching practice.

We get excellent reviews from nearly all our ex trainees, and are in the heart of the south of France where there is a high demand for teachers. Several local language schools are so happy with our trainees and reputation they  want to meet you right after you finish your training with us!

Every afternoon we proactively help you plan your lessons with one trainer for every 6 trainees – many TEFL courses just have someone in the office available to help you if you dare to bother them!

We include sessions on teaching Business English, Young Learners, teaching online, and using technology in the classroom. We do offer “add-on” courses in the above, but still offer half morning sessions on each, on our TEFL course.

Being the only TEFL course in South West France we are the reference point for all language schools recruiting in the area. Of course we have ex trainees working all over the world too who we can put you in touch with.

Jonathan Davies the course director and founder of TEFL Toulouse still works on every TEFL course we offer.

10 years of experience – 800 people trained!

No extra charges for accommodation. Most TEFL courses make extra money out of your accommodation. We don’t make a penny, which keeps your accommodation fees low. You just pay the landlord directly what he or she is charging.

We offer job guidance for life

Read here for an unusual case of someone who did our course AND another one!

3How much is the TEFL course?

In 2020 the price is 1700 euros all included.  You’ll need about an extra 400+euros for accommodation and money to live on for the 4 weeks. The cost of living in Toulouse is about the same as in a medium sized city the UK or US. Wine and restaurants are cheap, fruit and veg can be pricier.
4Are there teaching jobs in France and Toulouse?

Yes, and you would be surprised how many of our trainees aren’t looking to work in Toulouse itself, so the city is far from saturated with teachers. Jobs are coming in all the time, and we forward them to ex-trainees who tell us that they are looking for work, or tweet them, or put them on our facebook page. Just let us know (even 5 years after you graduate with us) that you are looking for work in X city / country, and we will help.
5Will I pass the TEFL course?
Almost certainly – if you are able to work at degree level (a degree is not necessary) and are prepared to work hard and put much of your life on hold for the 4 weeks!  It’s a busy month but a LOT of fun, and really there is nothing particularly complex about the theory side. We only accept trainees who we feel can get through, and whose hearts are in it.

As there is continual assessment, you will be informed early on if your work is not reaching the required standard, so you can make adjustments. If you struggle with the teaching aspect there is sometimes the possibility of arranging further teaching practices post course, but this is at our discretion, and further fees are incurred so try to avoid this.  We are very supportive throughout.

6How does the teaching practice part of a TEFL course work?
You teach 6 hours in total (six lessons of one hour each), to small groups (usually 4 to 12 students) of mixed age and mixed nationality. The lessons are exactly like the ones you will teach once you are qualified.

You will gain experience of teaching at least two different levels. Your students come to the classes for free and are delighted to have a real teacher teaching them – the classes are a lot of fun! The first lesson you teach in week 1 is largely planned for you. We give you plenty of help planning your lessons, and you get in-depth and very supportive feedback after each time you teach. You will also observe your fellow trainees and experienced teachers.

7How intensive is the TEFL course? What if I am ill / need to take time off during the TEFL course?
You need to be free of any other commitments (including other work, dental appointments, etc!) for the month you are with us, and do all you can to not miss any element of the course. If you have young children we recommend that you find someone to feed and entertain them in the evenings. You are essentially learning to be a language teacher, and learning the ‘rules’ of the English language, in just 4 weeks. Attendance at the training centre is from 9.15am to 7pm Monday to Friday (with breaks and lunch break), and you will need to do some work in the evenings and weekends too. You will have the possibility of some afternoons most weeks when you can leave the training centre at 4pm,  but each course varies re this, so for the moment keep all your time free.  We do not recommend more than about a 45 minute drive to reach us if you live in France already – we can provide local accommodation for the 4 weeks. The whole thing is such fun though – just see our testimonials from ex-trainees!

Of course mishaps happen. If you have genuine unforeseen problems we are usually able to implement special procedures to help you get through your TEFL course. This usually involves teaching any missed classes during of just after the course so you might want to avoid booking a flight to leave right away! Each extra teaching practice that we have to set up for you costs 80 euros.

8How do I apply for the TEFL course?
Just fill out this application form! Take your time here – we need to see your true writing ability, especially for the 400 word part at the end of the form. Of course, by applying you are not tied to anything. Feel free to pop us an email if you have any questions no matter how big or small – we are here to help.

9How can I pay for the TEFL course?
You can pay by online bank transfer, cheque from a French bank account, or cash in person. Once we accept you we will ask for a 500euro deposit to hold your place. Once we get this we will then ask for the 1200e balance to be paid a few weeks before the course begins. We are often able to accept last minute applications. In this case we will ask you to pay the full course fee in one go. Please note that the 500e deposit is non refundable, but you can put it towards any future course.

10What do I need to read before the TEFL course?
All course materials are supplied, and books for reference are available. We do recommend either Jeremy Harmer’s The Practice of Teaching English as a Foreign Language, or Jim Scrivener’s Learning Teaching if you want to find out more about language teaching and learning, although the course is largely based on these two books anyway. Peter Watkins’ Learning to Teach English is an excellent “in a nutshell” version of the TEFL course.

11Should I get my TEFL certification online?
The short answer is NO! Unless you just want to learn ABOUT teaching. Most employers will not take on anyone who just has an online qualification. They need to know that you can stand up and teach a class, and have done this repeatedly and had indepth feedback about your teaching style. If you owned a language school, would you take on someone who only has an online qualification?

12Do I need to speak French to do the TEFL Toulouse course?
No! In fact we’d rather you didn’t speak French at all during the course if you can help it. TEFL courses are designed to enable you to teach all over the world without knowing the language of some of your students. Don’t worry too much about your lack of French on a day to day basis –  everyone in Toulouse seems to want to practise their English! That said, you ought to speak some French if you want to settle  in France after the course. Why not add on a French course with us?

We recommend Raymond Murphy’s English Grammar in Use (Intermediate) as a lifelong grammar reference / exercise book. If you cannot get hold of “Murphy” then try Michael Swan’s Practical English Usage

13What do I need to bring to the TEFL Toulouse course?
Bring your laptop computer if you have one – we have wifi and remote printing and you’ll want to use it in the evenings. No need to bring many clothes – the shops are great here!

14Where is the training centre? How do I get there? Does it have parking?
TEFL Toulouse is located in the most beautiful part of Toulouse, near the Grand Rond and opposite the Jardin des plantes in the centre. Please see this map for the exact location. Both Ryanair and EasyJet  offer incredibly cheap flights to Toulouse from all over Europe. Once in Toulouse, several buses go right past the training centre, and the metro and tram stops are no more than 10 minutes walk away. Free parking spots can often be found about 10 minutes walk away across the canal – otherwise you can probably park right in front of the school – at a price! We can sometimes rent you a parking place for 20 euros a week or so to – just contact us!

15Do I have to be a native speaker of English to do a TEFL course?
Around 30% of our trainees are non-native English speakers – obviously with very good levels of spoken and written English. If in doubt, just contact us or fill in the application form. Non-native speakers whose application form we accept usually  have a short oral interview (by Skype or telephone) to establish their spoken level of English. You can use this chat to ask us questions about the course!

16Do I need a university degree to do the TEFL Toulouse course?
We accept candidates without a degree, but you need to be able to study at degree level, which essentially means able to absorb, digest and respond to new concepts. Your past professional life and personality brings a LOT to your teaching, and employers love teachers with any business background or experience working with kids.

17What is the minimum age for the TEFL Toulouse course? Is there a maximum age for TEFL courses?
We are one of the few TEFL courses that accept applicants as young as 18 and have produced some excellent young teachers. We do not have a maximum age limit but have seen that over 65s have tended to struggle to gain certification in the past.

18Can Americans do a TEFL course in France? Can Canadians do a TEFL course in France? Can Australians do a TEFL course in France?
See here.If you are from the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand then you can come and do our TEFL TOULOUSE course on a standard 3 month tourist visa. 3 months is still plenty of time to do the course and then enjoy France / Europe! Jonathan is an ex-tour guide for France and Spain and can recommend some great locations and even suggest some mini tours! Canadians, Australians and NZers can usually obtain “working holiday visas” to live and work in France for a year.

Even if you are based in the US you might even want to compare the cost of a local TEFL course + accommodation + living costs  with TEFL Toulouse course + flight + about 400 euros for accommodation with us. There may not be that much difference and you will have the time of your life for 3 months!

If you are from Canada, Australia or New Zealand and are 18 to 30 years old, then you should ask your French consulate about the working holiday visas whereby you can work in  France legally for up to a year without having to worry about special visas.

It’s all about reciprocal agreements between countries – and these do change. Contact your French consulate / embassy to get the most up to date and relevant information for your case.

Of course if you have a European passport, you do not need to do anything – you can live and work anywhere in the EU.

*By purchasing a French course (at the Alliance Francaise) whilst in your home country, Americans, Canadians and Australians are sometimes able to come and stay for up to a year teaching in Toulouse. Contact us or see our Working after the course page for more details.

19How many hours can I teach TEFL a week without getting exhausted?
Upwards of 30 hours a week of “contact time” (the actual time you spend in class) is going to be tiring, with a capital T.  The great thing about TEFL teaching is that you can usually take on more or less work depending on your personal aims for any given period of your life- especially if you are a freelancer. It’s an ideal job if you have seasonal work or a serious hobby! Many people combine teaching with tour guiding, translating or interpreting, being in a band, running a gite….
20Can I teach English everywhere in Europe with a TEFL certificate?

Many people presume that they would need to do country -specific qualifications (eg an Italian qualification to teach in Italy). Not so – just come and do our course in sunny Toulouse – and then travel the world!
21What's the difference between TEFL and CELTA?

TEFL is the name of the profession – Teaching English as a Foreign Language. That is what you will be doing after the course, so a lot of training courses like ours call themselves “TEFL Courses”. CELTA is the name that Cambridge give to their 4 week TEFL course. It stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. Our course is identical to a CELTA one.
22Should I do a 4 week TEFL or an online or weekend TEFL course?
Courses that are just over a weekend or online can be very cheap – but probably won’t get you a job. Can you really learn to teach with a webcam or over a weekend in a hotel?  If you owned a language school would YOU risk taking on a teacher who has learnt to teach online or over a weekend? One of the most common comments by ex trainees is “How on earth could someone become a good TEFL teacher by doing an online or weekend course? After 4 weeks I feel like I’m only scratching the surface of TEFL teaching!”
Our feeling is that you can learn about language and its teaching with online and weekend courses, and if that’s what you want then this may be the option for you. They can be great as “taster” courses. But we believe you have to teach classes repeatedly for a total minimum of 6 hours, with periods of several days reflection in between each lesson. We also think you need feedback from observers, to become a “real” teacher and avoid making the mistakes that even very experienced teachers make. Our trainees often talk about the learning curve involved with being observed, and wonder how one could ever learn to teach without actually teaching and getting feedback. Could you learn to drive a car by reading a manual? Play a sport by watching it? Teaching practice, observation and feedback from experienced trainers is essential, and is our speciality

23What do TEFL, TESOL, ELT and CELTA stand for? TEFL acronyms defined!

ESL = English as a Second Language
EFL = English as a Foreign Language
TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language
TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (what TEFL is known as in the USA)
ELT = English Language Teaching
ESP = English for Specific Purposes (eg for pilots, for business, for tourism….)
CELTA = Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (the name that Cambridge chose for their TEFL course)
Cert TESOL = The Trinity name for their TEFL certificate / qualification.
There are also lots of acronyms for names of exams that learners of English take. Here are some:
IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, KET, PET, FCE, CAE, CPE, BULATS… the list goes on! You will learn about all these on the course!
The Certificate in TEFL, (aka “The Cert”). This is the first qualification and is what we offer at TEFL TOULOUSE
The Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults (aka DELTA or “The Dip”) is what you may wish to go on to do after a few years teaching.

24What is TEFL course moderation / TEFL course accreditation / TEFL course validation?
We believe that having experts come to scrutinize us is in your interest as well as ours. TEFL courses, as with anything you purchase, should be obliged to be what they claim to be, and do what they claim to do. External moderation (resulting in “validation”or “accreditation”) visits ensure that certain standards are met and maintained. It’s what adds the required weight to your TEFL qualification, and gives you peace of mind when you book a course. Some of the best known external validating bodies for TEFL courses in Europe are Cambridge (CELTA), Trinity, SIT in the USA, and IATQuO. We have opted for validation by the latter who require similar standards. Unfortunately there are some “pirate” TEFL courses out there who do not adhere to high standards, or claim to be externally accredited, when in fact the accrediting body has been set up internally! Be wary particularly if the address of the training centre is not immediately apparent and you seem to be getting funnelled into a huge worldwide corporation. More on this in “how do I choose a TEFL course?” below…

25How do I choose a TEFL course?
If you don’t apply for our course then when choosing a TEFL course you must consider the following:

  • Validating body (is it really an external and impartial body, and is it credible?)
  • Avoid courses with multiple locations. How can any course provider offer so many locations? That just means they send staff to a location if enough people apply for the course to make it worthwhile. Which in turn means you will be shepherded about. At the last minute.
  • Find out the exact location of the training centre (i.e. not just which city or region, but which part of the city). You must find out the address of the training centre to prove it exists! Google maps + street view.
  • Make sure there is an application form, that they don’t just accept everyone. If they accept everyone, what is the certificate worth? Being encouraged to “pay online now” is a sign of this. At TEFL Toulouse we accept about 60% of applicants.
  • Reputation of the course – do some googling re course reviews, and read testimonials. Do your own research.


  • Does the website feel academic? Friendly? Honest? Informative?  Or does it feel like a travel agent site selling backpacking holidays? Discounts flashing up should make one wary. Most academic institutions don’t do that.
  • Qualifications and teaching / training experience of the lead trainer and other staff. Lead trainers need to be PGCE / DELTA / MA qualified. Other staff should all be TEFL Cert. + 2 years teaching, plus intensive training. “Well trained” or “expert” or “highly experienced” isn’t enough.
  • Number of teaching practice hours and course duration – go for a minimum of 6 hours teaching practice and 120 hours of tutor / trainee contact time, as per British Council requirements.
  • Minimum and maximum number of trainees on the course / in any room at once! 5 to 16 ideally. Careful – some courses take huge groups of trainees and as a result trainees get reduced contact time with staff.
  • Course length (usually 4 weeks). Some places offer 5 week courses to spread things out, but of course you’ll pay more for accommodation.
  • How much lesson planning help do trainees get from trainers? There should be at least 1.5 hours a day given to lesson planning with the presence of a trainer with one trainer for every 6 or 7 trainees.
  • The cost and location of accommodation – watch out!! This can be a real shocker, e.g. if you do your TEFL course in somewhere like London or NYC. We have seen accommodation fees of over £2000 in London!
  • The cost of living, and travelling to the training centre (again, beware of big cities like London and NYC). It is also recommended that you do a TEFL course in the area you would like to teach in, to get to know the culture / city, to be on the spot to start work after the course, and to avoid another air fare just for the interviews. Most language schools in Europe only interview teachers who are already living locally!
  • Is the TEFL course provider also posting jobs, but then providing a disclaimer saying that they have nothing to do with the outcome? Could that be a course provider who is willing to promote a dodgy employer?

We feel we are very competitively priced for a city centre training centre. Our certificate is externally moderated by IATQuO, we get excellent reviews, our courses maintain 120+ hours tutor-trainee contact time with 6 hours minimum teaching practice. Groups are usually from 7 to 12 trainees, although we may be able to accept a few more in the summer. Accommodation is around 400 to 700 euros for the 4 weeks so that keeps your price well down, as do all the low cost flights arriving in Toulouse…


Still want to shop around? At the end of the day, go with your instinct. Did the school answer your enquiry quickly? Does it feel too glossy and generic? Are you getting personalised or cut and paste responses? Can you pop in for a visit and talk to current trainees? Is the emphasis really on teacher training, or just on having a 4 week holiday?

26What's the difference between a TEFL course and a TESOL program?
They are exactly the same. In Europe we tend to call the industry TEFL, whereas in the US, TESOL is used to describe what we do. British English uses the word “course” while American English sometimes uses the word “program”. Learn about “trousers” v “pants”, “colour” and “color” and other British English versus American English differences on the TEFL Toulouse course!

27Is there a best time of year to do a TEFL course?
If you teach privately, there is less of a “hiring period” – individuals are looking for teachers all year round and you will surely find work by ensuring you have plenty of ads up around town wherever you live. The majority of hiring in language schools gets done in September and October, June and July for the coming academic year, and again in the New Year, but TEFL is booming in France so there is work to be found in the local language schools all year round. Any time is a good time to qualify to be an EFL teacher in France! Also because many people work in TEFL to travel, the turnover in language schools is quite high, as people want to try teaching in another country. We used to recommend against qualifying just before the summer, but then ex-trainees came back to us saying they had landed a job in June for July and August! So now we don’t!

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