Shane Training Centre

Program Reviews

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Mark
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A few years ago, I was chatting to another teacher and mentioned I was thinking of doing the diploma. She said sh’ed been thinking about it for 10 years and still hadn’t done it! This was the impetus I needed to get me started (i.e. time flies … and you never get around to doing stuff!). I was pleased to have a great and supportive tutor, without whom I simply couldn’t have done it. (N.B. So you don’t waste time or fail modules, ALWAYS send your work to your tutor for checking/suggestions!)

I decided to start with Teaching Practice, as this seemed the most daunting. It was, admittedly, no picnic, and I’d never worked so hard in my life. However, it made me completely reassess my classroom practices (i.e. WHY was I talking so much and not letting the LEARNERS speak, and struggle a bit on their own - as they would in reality!?). Like the exam, T.P. is set within a limited time frame, so you get through it, … somehow! Sophia had prepared us so much in preceding T.P. lessons that the final external T.P. exam seemed a breeze in comparison!

The most challenging part was the portfolio, as it’s left largely up to you what you do. Choose something that interests you, but that you can read up on. Two of my projects had very little literature about them, so I struggled to justify my theories etc. I felt like I was expected to write like an academic on subjects I was researching, yet knew little about, and was somewhat dismayed at the rather negative feedback and down-marking shown to me by the TESOL U.K. person marking my final projects. My interest in the topics really did make them very interesting to research, nevertheless, and so easier to complete.

It took me nearly 4 years to finish my Diploma, and I wouldn’t recommend doing it as slowly as I did, as you can lose momentum (and the will to live, lol!). However, not rushing through it did allow me to really see how it could/can improve my teaching, and that development doesn’t stop with getting a TESOL Diploma certificate, which, I’m pleased to say I finally did.

Good Luck!!!

What would you improve about this program?
It was tough being constantly criticized as I get easily put off. I feel the U.K. organization expected me to be an expert about something I was/am still learning. There remarks on my final portfolio left me feeling a little dismayed. Fortunately, my Shane tutor here in Japan encouraged me to enjoy my success.
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Amy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had been teaching in Japan for 9 years before I took this course. 4 years at a private eikaiwa and 5 years freelance. I had started feeling that my lessons were getting stale and wasn't sure how to improve both the lessons and myself as a teacher. I decided to take this course to learn how to become a better teacher and develop new skills.
The course taught me even more than I had expected to learn. I feel far more confident in my ability as a teacher now. Already I have had the chance to incorporate what I've learned into my work and my students are responding well.
The course tutors are very helpful, knowledgeable, and fun.
I realized that so much of what I had thought about teaching English was so wrong or could be improved. By experiencing learning a new language from scratch as part of this course, I could see first-hand how effective these new methods were.
If you have the money and the time, I absolutely recommend the course for any teacher.

What would you improve about this program?
I would be more stringent with deadlines if I were the tutor. In my experience, the tutors set deadlines for each assignment but nearly every participant missed every deadline, which the tutors allowed. This resulted in most of the participants turning in several assignments during the last week and even the morning of the deadline, which overwhelmed the tutor. As a result, I felt the tutor was not able to adequately support me, even though I had been the only one to turn in everything before the deadlines. During the last week, I wanted support about the final assignment, but I felt unable to get proper support.
In addition, I felt that if the participants are going to be certified as ESL teachers, they need to be able to meet deadlines. In my opinion, a teacher who repeatedly misses deadlines should not be certified as they have repeatedly shown inability to work under pressure and meet deadlines. By allowing such teachers to become certified, I also feel the Trinity CertTESOL certification's reputation will be diluted.
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Liesl
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

After finding my feet as an EFL instructor working overseas, I wondered 'what's next?'. I wanted to advance in my career as well as gain more in-depth knowledge and practical experience in teaching. The TESOL Diploma provided me with these things and so much more. At first, this course was rather challenging, but I soon realized how it was contributing to my understanding of teaching and learning. My knowledge of phonology and how to integrate it into lessons have especially been improved. I am now able to teach this aspect with confidence and also see immediate results from my learners.
I would recommend this to anyone wishing to further develop their teaching skills and knowledge. It might seem daunting at first, but don't give up and rely on your peers and tutors' support throughout.

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Steven
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Although heavily demanding it has transformed my teaching. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The course was thorough and there was a huge amount of support from tutors. We learned as much from each other and be applying the theory to our lessons. The course was intensive but forced us to analyse the language which now means I can teach it to a student depending on his / her needs. It was very interesting to connect with my own language and I feel motivated to continue my study and further my teaching career.

What would you improve about this program?
None
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Laura
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I found the course very professional and I feel grateful to my tutor, Ms.Sophia McMillan for the great support and feedback provided.
I had the opportunity to revise grammar materials, lesson planning, class management etc. This is also a course to improve and enhance teaching methods.
I would recommend this course for teachers with no experience and also for those who have experience in teaching both children and adults.
You will learn everything a teacher needs to know in order to create effective lessons.
After teaching English to children for more than 10 years, I thought I want more and this course was a great opportunity to expand my teaching skills in order to teach adults also.
Now I feel more confident and really happy to have completed it. It was a great learning experience, so I definitely would recommend this course to others. There is nothing to worry about, just follow the steps, ask for advice from the tutors and you`ll get all the support needed.
Thank you Shane Training Center-Tokyo!

What would you improve about this program?
It would be great to divide the program in two , one for teachers with no experience and the other one for those with teaching experience.
James
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I took the course to develop as a teacher and to improve my career opportunities within this field. It took around 14 months to complete. The tutor, Sophia Mcmillan, is very knowledgeable and capable. Her advice and guidance made the course manageable. However, the tutor was very busy and hence it often took a while to get feedback on essays.

My teaching has definitely improved, in particular concerning phonology and establishing achievable learning outcomes. I have interviewed for new positions but am still in the same position as I was during the course.

I would recommend this course to those who expect to be teaching as a career. I have grown and developed as a professional. It is not a perfect course, but it is definitely worthwhile.

What would you improve about this program?
More guidance for the portfolio section, perhaps a dedicated class series.
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nivedita
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I opted this course although I'm a Biology teacher as I believe all teachers are language teachers. Having been said that I feel multilingualism is crucial for students in the 21st century. That doesn't mean that people need to speak 'proper British English' until and unless it builds a communication. Mostly the second language English speakers determine why English is a global language in the current world. 'English' as a language had always been more flexible, as you may call it 'American English' or include worlds from 'Hindi' like 'shampoo, jungle and so on' but in this era where bias towards the "native speakers" widely exists, this course didn't build that awareness among the cohort.
Collaboration is essential for lifelong learning which is required not just by the students but also by the teachers or as a matter of fact by everyone. Still, the course lacked to build 'collaboration' among the teachers I was working with. Instead, I felt it was a competitive environment. Even if our classes were graded on our individual improvement rather than comparative, still this fact was not brought up. It would have been wonderful if this course involved group work or group projects and a healthier collaborative environment. We didn't discuss our lesson plans or form learning objectives or learning engagements together instead it was one way within me- my TEFL provider.
Keeping in mind this is a certification, I appreciate that it teaches you a lot in such a short span but there are a very few transferable skills taught. I have seen a common way of teaching displayed by most of all 'TESOL' certified teachers as if certification is turning out productive batches of identical people. There are the essential elements like 'reflection', 'lesson planners', observation, peer review but none in practice happen in its true sense.
If I haven't been taught how to 'reflect' as a teacher how can doing it for 10-15 times make a difference. Same goes with the lesson plans, what inquiry cycle you incorporate, which things come first (backward model or not), why I'm using the template given by TESOL, no discussions on such basic issues, I can't be using the same template throughout my life. So are there any transferable skills through which I can design my own planners in future?
The things I learned are innumerable and I give credit to this course that not being from a teaching background I could easily get into the University of Tsukuba to pursue Masters in International Education with International Baccalaureate (IB Board) Educator certification. Also, It motivated me to pursue teaching as a career and I'm doing an online course-Cambridge Biology Educator certification.

What would you improve about this program?
As I shared above;
1. Building awareness that language can be in different dialects or accents the primary purpose of it is communication and forming relationships.
2. Collaboration: I think this is something needs to be included in the way the course is structured not just in how the TEFL provider facilitates it. Is it possible to form a project which involves the group to work together? or lessons taught in groups? Why are you them starting a batch till you get 3-4 people because you want to build learning through the peers or is it just a financial side to it?
3. Focus on the basics rather than teaching practices which are nontransferable. It's not teaching people how to arrange 'evening tea' but to be lifelong conscious teachers.
4. Saying that I feel the focus was on 'staging activities' which is sometimes so unnatural, instead, should be taught how to plan engagements which lead to learning.


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Michael
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I decided pretty early on that I wanted to live in Japan long-term, and while I was studying abroad in the Tokyo area as a university student, I decided to look for a full-time TESOL certificate that I could do during one of my breaks. As an American college student, I have a very limited budget and relocating to Kobe for the CELTA was almost impossible. I knew about Shane's CertTESOL from research, but no courses were offered during my break. I took a shot in the dark and emailed the course director, Sophia, about my interest, and she was more than willing to move the course start time to fit my schedule, so that was a great hint that Shane was very accommodating to my needs.

The Unknown Language is surprisingly effective, as I still remember the vocabulary and phrases. I used some of the activities from those lessons in my own teaching practice. The Learner Profile had the option to be done entirely in the school with a learner arranged by the school, so it saved a lot of time from having to hunt my own. Teaching Practice was the most valuable part, as I literally felt growth in my ability with each lesson. I am very introverted, so the practice is going to save some stress when actually teaching for a paycheck and it really helped me open up about teaching. The class sizes are fairly small on some days, which can be beneficial if one is nervous about teaching larger groups.

This course will teach a lot of phonetics, which is something many native speakers are not used to, but pretty valuable in the long run. Lots of grammar is reviewed, and there are sample worksheets and lesson ideas given with them. It should be noted that there is also a small unit on teaching young learners and business English, which typically has to be purchased separately for a lot of other courses, so a little of everything most ESL teachers may encounter is covered under the one certificate.

It cannot be stressed enough how intensive the course is, and I would probably recommend the part-time option if possible. The first day will feel overwhelming, and you don't fully appreciate the course until a few days of rest after its over. During the course, there were times when I questioned myself about doing it due to the long commute I had and the amount of work. In the end, I am hands-down very glad that I decided to take it and would recommend it to others who want to get in the ESL world, especially in Japan and specifically in the Tokyo/Saitama/Chiba/Kanagawa area. I feel very confident in being able to land a good paying job abroad after I finish my bachelor's degree, and I feel there is more mobility in making it a long-term career by having the certificate. Depending where I end up, I may even return someday for the diploma.

What would you improve about this program?
Even though I liked smaller class sizes, having a large number of students on some days may help prepare trainees for those situations. And while instructional technology is mentioned, the ability to have some hands-on practice with tools such as interactive whiteboards would help give more universal experience for trainees.
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Yi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

* What made you take the course?
I took this course because I want to become an ALT. The Trinity CertTESOL is well recognized by English schools as well as by ALT dispatch companies in Japan.

* How did you find it?
I was somewhat nervous going in, but the instructors were extremely friendly and helpful. Whenever I asked for help or feedback, their replies were very quick and consistent. The class size was small so it was always possible to speak with the instructor personally.

* What advice would you give other people on the course?
I’m currently in University and this course took way more time than my school work. You will most likely end up writing more than 50,000 words before getting your certificate. Basically, this course is a lot of work. I would recommend the full-time course over part-time course. You'll need to dedicate your life to TESOL either way, and one month of stress is better than six months!
Even if you take the part time course, I would recommend any student to finish the homework and assignments as quickly as possible. This is especially important for the guided observation journal, unknown language journal, and peer observation, where you'll be expected to remember and record specific details. I used a laptop to take notes throughout the course, which was extremely helpful.

* What did you benefit from the most?
The instructors gave us feedback based on our teaching practice, and I was able to fix many of my bad habits as a result. I now feel that I can teach students with confidence.

What would you improve about this program?
Many of the students that you will teach in this course are very eager to participate in class. This might not be representative of the average student that you will teach in Japan. More live guided observations and input sessions on teaching quiet students would be beneficial.
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Steven
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I started the DipTESOL course having already completed an MA in Applied Linguistics several years previously. I found that the practical focus of the Diploma course sharpened my professional practice far more effectively than the more academically focused master's degree. Meanwhile, the more theoretical aspects of the DipTESOL program served to link academic theory to classroom reality. I would particularly recommend Shane as a DipTESOL course provider due to the flexibility of their programme. While other providers will lock you in to a rigid schedule, Shane was far more accommodating. As a working parent with a high pressure job, a flexible programme of study was absolutely essential for me.