Alumni Spotlight: Ahmad

Ahmad took the University of Toronto - TeachAway Online TEFL Course in Ottawa, Canada in August 2013. He graduated from Damascus University with a Bachelor's degree in Electronics. He hopes to travel and work abroad in the future, and is considering Brazil next!

Why did you decide to take your TEFL course with the University of Toronto?

Ahmad: When I first began my search, I was looking for a course that would be delivered 100% online. I had researched many TEFL online providers, each with their pros and cons, but eventually I ended up choosing the TEFL course with the University of Toronto. I chose UoT TEFL for several reasons: the academic reliability of the University of Toronto and the fact that the course they provide is designed by the Ontario Institute for Students in Education (OISE).

OISE is recognized around the world as a leader in initial and continuing teacher education, as well as graduate programs in education and education research. OISE is the largest and most research-intensive faculty of education in Canada, and one of the largest in North America, so I was really looking to the excellence of the teaching material provided.

What made this experience unique and special?

Ahmad: A few things made this experience really unique and special. First of all, not many reliable TEFL course providers were able to provide a 100% online course that is equivalent to an offline course. I had the convenience of being able to study from the comfort of my home without sacrificing the value of the course.

The course is delivered online, but its presentation was very modern and utilizes a bundle of multimedia features – audio, video and text put together in a very interesting and enjoyable environment. You do not feel like you are studying, but rather you feel that you are learning without much effort on your part.

Each unit has its own evaluation test which provides unmistakable criteria for the students to gauge their progress. There are also multiple Reflection Journals for each unit and the student has to answer open ended comprehension questions that really challenge the student’s understanding of each sub-unit. This is reviewed and graded by the instructor and feedback is provided to the student. There is no way the student can pass this without completely understanding the material provided.

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, etc)

Ahmad: This experience has already impacted my future in several ways. Before the course, I had never taught English, but I used to be an Assistant Teacher for undergraduate university students between the years 1989 and 1997 (so I have quite a bit of practical teaching experience). I left teaching to work in Technology and Business and during my many years of work, I coached, trained, and transferred knowledge to others. I decided to make a late career change and go back to teaching, as it was something that I really enjoyed.

I needed to learn teaching methodologies and I chose this course because it could help me enhance my career as a teacher or trainer, by providing me with the knowledge I need to administer a classroom and reach students of different ages and all walks of life. In addition, I also received a TEFL course certificate that will help me provide evidence of my ability to teach English. Even at the personal level, I learned a lot about how to be a good communicator and can help me at home or at work or anywhere in the world. The-cross cultural knowledge that I gained will be excellent if I need to travel and live abroad – whether as a TEFL teacher or as a professional worker.

What is one piece of advice you would offer to someone considering an online TEFL course?

Ahmad: Decide first what you personally are looking for in a course and assess its future application in your career. You have to consider a few things in any course that you choose: the reliability and authenticity of the knowledge it provides AND its marketability in the TEFL consumer markets. In addition, it is extremely valuable if the provider is capable and serious about helping the learner find a job after completion of the class. Of course these were the factors that led me to choosing the University of Toronto TEFL online.