I had completed the TCL Certificate TESOL with Shane English Schools Japan and found the experience rewarding yet challenging. I knew that the Diploma course would be twice as difficult, but helpful for my career change. I decided to give it a go, thinking that I would finish it within a year. Sadly, the course took much longer than anticipated, particularly with Section 2 - the Portfolio, and after a number of failed attempts, I was on the verge of giving up, and was lacking motivation to complete it. I was also working in a team-teaching environment and rarely taught independently and didn't have the opportunities to observe peers who were native speakers, so it was not easy to find the hours needed.
However, having said that, the other three parts of the course were innovative and practical. I gained much experience and opportunities to refine my EFL teaching, particularly to adult learners. I was able to reflect on habits (too much teacher talk, not making best use of monitoring time) that I wanted to change. The phonology component also gave me a lot of insight into pronunciation teaching, particularly in identifying and refining strategies in teaching problem sounds to Japanese learners. In addition, I got timely feedback from my tutors and much encouragement from them every time I made draft submissions.
I would recommend this course for those who are serious with developing their career in TESOL education and have already had a few years of experience in the field, particularly in immersive education. I rushed straight into the course with the bare minimum required and found it slightly discouraging when the expectations were so high. I also ended up changing careers before finishing the course, so I became highly unmotivated to finish it for the sake of not wasting the 80% I had already completed.
If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would recommend starting Section 2 as soon as one begins the course, as the time it took to complete it by far exceeded the weighting this component had. I would also recommend devoting the entire year to just working on this course, as I was trying to juggle my full-time job, Japanese language learning and volunteer work with this course unsuccessfully.