Review of Oxford Seminars Course / Oxford Seminars Reviews

A Google search for Oxford Seminars Reviews shows, when excluding the company's cherry-picked reviews and advertising, that Oxford Seminars, an accreditation program to teach English as a second language (ESL, TESL, TESOL) is probably worth the money. Most people on various review sites seem to praise the book as being instructive and practical. Based on those reviews, and a suggestion from a friend that I take the course, I decided to read the entire book (cover to cover), take the course, and report my findings as I went along. Since there is no index to the Training Manual (see below), I scanned the physical book (for personal educational use only) into a searchable PDF file on a high-speed book scanner to support my results below.

DISCLAIMER

In this review, I respect the copyrights of Oxford Seminars (OS) and the authors and publishers involved in the course. Because OS students must sign Waivers, Disclaimers, Terms and Conditions, and other legal documents preventing publication of extracts from certain areas, I cannot always quote directly from the works or systems involved. However, in all other cases, I am asserting my rights to critical review, as copyright expert and lawyer Steven Fisher explains in his book, Copyright Handbook: "An author is free to copy from a protected work for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, or research so long as the value of the copyrighted work is not diminished."

COURSE REVIEW: Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL/TEFL Certification Course# 2329

Overview

Pricing: The course costs about $1200 USD. To "test drive" the program, I purchased a used 2009 (99% equivalent to the 2011) edition of the Oxford Seminars Training Manual for $15 from goodwillbooks on the Amazon Marketplace. After reading the book, I attended the class.

Course: The course contains two parts: the Seminar portion and the Online portion (powered by the free, open-source Moodle education project). The Online portion begins upon successful completion of the Seminar (lecture) portion. The Seminar also requires a practicum, which is a 30 minute "class," based on a Lesson Plan that you must present to the class of ESL teachers and is subject to their evaluation.

Seminar Portion: On day 1 of class, our professor gave us two books: The 2011 version of the Oxford Seminar's Training Manual and Jeremy Harmer's How to Teach English books. On the last day of the course, we received a third book Focus on Grammar, along with Oxford Seminars Job Search Manual.

Online Portion: Oxford Seminars sends you an e-mail which grants access to the Online Portion. To access the system you must agree to a Disclaimer and Waivers document which includes this language: "You shall not modify, publish, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, create derivative works, or in any way exploit or use the material, in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Oxford Seminars." Because of that agreement, I cannot legally critique language verbatim from that portion here, though I will give my impressions (see my disclaimer above).

Reading Requirements: The above-mentioned manual contains 484 pages and How To Teach has 288. That's 772 pages without the handouts, which were roughly 50 pages. If you want to complete the readings during the seminar portion, consider that you must read roughly 882 pages in 21 days or roughly 33 pages per day -- every single day! I suspect that few students accomplish this. I didn't (though I had read the entire manual prior to attending the seminar) and none of my peers did either. The Focus on Grammar book with answer key is nearly 550 pages long. The Online Portion adds another 100 pages of material, so in total, expect about 1500 pages of material. In practice, most students probably read some of all of the books after the seminar portion and during/after the 40-hour required Online portion. You have 105 days to complete the 40 hour Online component, so if you give yourself 105 days, that's roughly 1500 pages / 105 days = 14 pages every day starting the day after seminar day 6 ends. Our teacher also assigned (very easy) homework on Saturdays, due on Sunday, which mainly consisted of watching videos and analyzing the teaching methods involved.

Book Review: Oxford Seminars TESOL/TEFL Certification Training Manual

Details

  • Details: ISBN 978-0-19-543176-6 / 9780195431766

Impressions

  • Cobbling: The training manual seems piecemealed together. By piecemealed, I mean it substantially paraphrases other works and often lacks much structure between parts. One chapter, which is just a few pages long, says, "This chapter corresponds with How to Teach English, by Jeremy Harmer, chapters 1 through 8." and simply asks questions from that book. The Credits section lists the sources from which the book was assembled.
  • Cursory: Often the book mentions important terminology in passing, with shallow if not obvious explanations. For example, in its introduction and explanation of an approach called PPP, "The two lessons that follow have a Presentation-Practice-Production (PPP) structure but even when two lessons follow a similar order, there is room for a lot of variety in activities and techniques." The description is so trite, it's effectively meaningless. Harmer (see below), instead writes, "both Audio-lingualism and its assimilation into structural-situationalism have their modern equivalent in the procedure which is often referred to as PPP. This stands for Presentation, Practice and Production. In PPP lessons or sequences, the teacher presents the context and situation for the language (e.g. describing someone's holiday plans) and both explains and demonstrates the meaning and form of the new language (for example, the going to' future - e.g. 'He's going to visit the Hermitage Museum').
  • Editions: Having read the 2009 edition, I was excited to see new or improved content in the 2011 edition. The excitement didn't last long, since I quickly realized that the 2011 edition is almost word-for-word the same in every section and every way. In some places, the page numbers and content are the same in both editions!

Pros

  • Terminology: I appreciated the rapid-fire vocabulary and definitions in certain sections: ESA, EMT, ELICOS, and Diglot Weave

Cons

  • Editing: Despite the vocabulary in some sections, many terms are presented without definition or explanation. For example, in a listing of elements students will cover, the book lists various items, then mentions "lexical sets" as a bullet point without supporting material. In Foxit Reader, I then searched my book for "lexical set" and found only one other reference to "lexical set" or "lexical sets," in the section about teaching Pronunciation: "Introduce the new language for the day, e.g., introduce a new lexical set such as toys; add more vocabulary to a topic you have introduced before, such as adding new colors; teach new phonics; teach word recognition of words they already know." That is not a lexical set -- at least not as defined by John C Wells the man who coined the term: "The Standard Lexical Sets of Wells are widely used to discuss the phonological and phonetic systems of different accents of English in a clear and concise manner." (Wikipedia)
  • ESA: You must take a practicum, but the book waits over 400 pages to present its required methodology: Engage, Study, Activate (ESA). ESA was presented to us as the cornerstone of ESL teaching methodology.
  • Expressions: Some expressions ("write the test") used are just wrong. In part U - English Language Teaching, instead of explaining the requirement to write an essay, the author puts it the following way and rephrasing it (again incorrectly) in the second sentence: "Very often, the aim of these courses is to prepare students to write the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Many non-native English speakers are required to write this test and achieve a minimum score."
  • Errors: In addition to the lexical set error mentioned above, the IPA phonetic transcriptions are also incorrect. For example, they write that |a| is used in cat, instead of the correct |æ| transcription. They also mistake the monothong /fɔːr/ with the dipthong /maʊθ/.

Book Review: Jeremy Harmer's How to Teach English Review

Details

  • ISBN: 978-1-4058-4774-2 / 9781405847742

Overview

  • Within the first 20 pages, you can tell that Harmer's book is much better organized than the manual. Ideas flow more smoothly from one section to another and he tends to define terms with references to other works. He also cites more helpful examples than the manual. Consider this citation: "One way of helping students to sustain their motivation is to give them, as far as is feasible, some agency (a term borrowed from the social sciences) which means that students should take some responsibility [...] This means that they will have some decision-making power [...] (see page 97)."

Pros

  • Vocabulary: Harmer does a wonderful job of bolding important terms. He effectively tells you visually which concepts are important and thus which terms deserve memorizing.
  • Balanced: Harmer presents two sides of contentious views, tending to wrap up discussions favoring his preference. For example, he discusses American linguist Stephen Krashen's belief that acquisition is more important than learning. Then Harmer explains, albeit confusingly, Krashen's points, admitting ultimately that the "convoluted" discussion doesn't support all student's needs, since "teenagers and adults have perfectly good reasoning powers and may want to think consciously about how language works."
  • Q&A: Harmer's book has a Question and Answer section. In total, it takes up about 1/3 of the book. This is handy and highlights your problem areas as a future ESL teacher.
  • Glossary: Glossary is essentially a helpful recap of all bolded terms in the book. It is well done.

Cons

  • Exaggeration: Harmer does exaggerate some. For example: "Staying in touch with these developments can seem daunting, of course, because of the pace of change, but it is worth remembering how deadly it would be if things always stayed the same." I doubt he really meant people would lose their lives. Or, "We also need to consider how we appear to the students, and how we use our most valuable asset - our voice." He probably means "knowledge" there instead.

Book Review: Fuchs, Bonner, and Westheimer's Focus on Grammar (FOG) Review

  • Book: ISBN 10: 0-13-1899848 / 0131899848
  • Answer Key: ISBN: 0-13-189991-0 / 0131899910
  • Overview: This book is essentially a series of grammar exercises and lessons for ESL Teachers. It features a large number of exercises for students to complete, with an answer key for teachers.
  • Answers: The Online portion suggests taking the Review Tests but the book, which explains that the answers are provided in the book's Answer Key, conspicuously skips Review Test answers, which is confusing. In fact, the answers are included at the end of the book, not the Answer Key. Also, FOG appears to be part of a larger package including 3 CD's, but our version (provided by OS) only contained a single CD and is missing much of what the book explains is included.
  • Lessons: This book is wonderful for explaining the common grammatical problems of the English language. For example, in questions, we say, "Could you pass the salt?" but in answers, we don't repeat the could ("Yes, I could."). Or, adverbs of frequency almost always precede the verb (never miss, never fight) unless the verb is "be," in which case you place the adverb after the verb (I am never sure).
  • Appendices: The charts in the appendices are excellent. I really liked the Modals and their Functions chart which breaks down the functions of permission, ability, requests, etc. into allowed time. For example, learn is present or future only: I must learn that tomorrow and NEVER *I musted / will musted learn that. [that's because many, if not all modal verbs, are defective - though that is not explained in the book]

Review: Oxford Seminars Online Portion

  • Common Mistakes: Some parts of the Online portion of very helpful, including coverage of common mistakes that non-native English language speakers make, along with grammatical explanations of the root cause and solution.
  • Book: It appears to be a book or other organized work broken into various sections. For example, portions of the text refer to an Appendix.
  • Advertising: The online portion refers contains a references section, but it so highly promotes the FOG series, that any bilateral financial relationship would be unsurprising. On the other hand, the FOG series does seem to be excellent (see above).

Review: Oxford Seminars Final Exam / AKA Online Component Assignment

  • Frustrating: Too many questions on the exam had little apparent relevance to the textbooks or seminar content. Although some might argue that the exam is "teaching students to think on their feet," in practice it suggests that reading the materials was a waste of time. For example, nearly every text mentioned the importance of learning styles or Multiple Intelligences, including the importance of acting out plays, role playing, and pantomiming for kinesthetic / physical learners However, the exam asks teachers how to engage students in a situation where acting, role playing, and pantomiming are not possible. Thus, the books seem to matter little in answering such a question; guessing is equally productive as having read. To be fair, other questions do rely on the assigned reading and seemed reasonable. While the exam may not always correspond to the readings, those readings seem useful outside of the exam context -- that is, in the classroom and for preparing lesson plans.

OVERALL CONCLUSIONS

Overestimating Teacher's Grammar: Native speakers often know little about grammar, unless they have studied it. After all, how much trigonometry do you remember? Students are therefore likely to be unimpressed with "That's just how you say it," when their questions are well-formulated, thought-provoking, and grammatically sophisticated. Much of this is probably lost on a teacher with clearly inferior grammar skills compared to those of the students. In short, both the course and the Online exam seem to overestimate the "native" grammar abilities of the teacher. Put another way, the gap between knowing and teaching seems understated.

Your teacher matters I enjoyed the Seminars portion of the course. However, I thoroughly disliked our teacher's presentation style and lack of details. He discussed at most 10% of the content from the books. On the other hand, I enjoyed his (many) anecdotes about working abroad. The classes are, of course, long and sometimes monotonous although the games and activities help tremendously.

Worthwhile For anyone truly ready to move abroad and teach, I would recommend Oxford Seminars. But, you really need a plan. Some students in our course seemed to be adrift -- that is, to have such vague ideas about how to proceed abroad that actually accomplishing their goals seemed, at best, doubtful. Instead, it seems they should have had a timeline of goals in place (e.g. by X date, I will have visited with potential employers abroad or signed the contracts), a basic understanding of how VISA's and sponsors work, and a minimal understanding of the language spoken in the target country. Still, where there's a will there's a way, and it's likely that while some may not advance at all, many will turn out to be quite successful. As the Training Manual gushes, "Most importantly, go overseas and live the adventure that first inspired you to consider teaching English as a second language. " Good luck to them and to you!

Comments

I googled 'reviews on oxford seminars' and came across your write-up. Interesting read and you're very methodical, so thank you for taking the time to put this together. It would've been nice to see how you decided on OS and which other seminars you considered.

Woody, Did you read the whole review? The author stated in the first line of the last paragraph - exactly where a conclusion belongs - that OS is recommended. "Worthwhile For anyone truly ready to move abroad and teach, I would recommend Oxford Seminars."

I stumbled upon this review the same way and agree with the praise, thanks for putting together this review!

Thank you. I am 51 and applying for teaching opportunities abroad. Because of my age, I don't want to waste time. I have a MEd, teach at the HS and college level. Is there a way to skip this process and still have employers make contact?

I am 45 yrs old. I have been a teacher for 10yrs now. I have taught some four summers in Ecuador. I really enjoyed the experience. If you go there, however, I will advise you to teach at the university academies. Stay away from the highschools. Discipline there can be tough, but more of a "rich kid, spoiled brat," type than vicious outright misbehavior. The good news, though, is that the same management teckniques work there as they do here in the US. I devised a system for neutralising the discipline problems at the academy, and I was soon promoted to department head and dean of discipline, since my solution worked and worked very well. I just used what they do here all of the time!
Anyway, my future plans are to take the Oxford Seminar class very soon. I wish you well with it!

Not sure if you'll read this, but I would skip the course and look at applying to international schools directly. I hear of job fairs in the U.S. (not sure where you're from), but I can't refer you to any. If it's teaching English you want to do, take the course, otherwise with your qualifications you should be able to go abroad and teach at top paying schools.

Great Insights thanks for being so Charitable with your time and energy!

thanks this is really helpful.

Sean!
Great review!

I hold an earned doctorate in anthropology and was a state-level ESL administrator, one of those clods who had no classroom experience but plenty of theory, back in the day. In the '90s, I taught language acquisition to teachers in the Midwest who had been suddenly pressed into service as ESL teachers. I've taught at the university level off and on for years (I'm in my mid-50s) but I really do not have any up-to-date pedagogical training in TESOL. Given the price, and my desire to take a year teaching in China (where I've worked on and off since 1999), this course seems like an adequate insurance policy that may help me land a better paying gig at a better institution (anthropology instructors are not much in demand, of course). Lets hope I draw a decent instructor from the Oxford pool!

By the way, a detailed review of Harmer's book is on Amazon, and it suggests picking up a copy of Trapper-Lomax, Hugh and Ian McGrath (Eds.), 1999. Theory in Language Teacher Education; and Cohen, Andrew D, 1998. Strategies in Learning and Using a Second Language. Do you have any other handy, practical books that should be on my bookshelf?

Methinks I'll take advantage of your "buy a used copy" suggestion and pre-read this stuff.

Last, I might suggest joining TESOL International (tesol.org) and taking some of their on-line seminars: back in the day, I found their training events at regional meetings to be very good, indeed).

Ken Genku Erickson
www.paceth.com

Thanks for this very informative review!
The TESOL.org recommends a minimum of 100 hours in three areas of study: Culture, Linguistics and Methods of Teaching. Oxford covers two of those with mediocre success. Our program has been around for almost 15 years and provides a foundation in these three disciplines and adds the Teaching Grammar segment as well. Our students have 120 hours of well organized content, taught by highly qualified instructors with Master's degrees and real life ESL experience.
Employers do pay for the certificate, and ours is one that is recognized by some of the more reputable agencies and schools abroad for the quality of our graduates.
For more information, please see our program online at: ccpe.kennesaw.edu/tesol

I have read many reviews online. Most are from 2010 or earlier. Perhaps OS was a bad deal back then. I took the seminar in 2012 and found it very informative. Some of the critiques are still valid. There is way too much importance placed on the book and not enough training for classroom presentations. This may be due to only having a 3 weekend course. There just is not enough time to complete everything you should know. I think OS seminars should expand their 60 hours of training to include one additional weekend and dedicate it strictly to classroom management and performance.

I was also not very pleased with the job placement. I did try to use it. They did give me a couple of leads to some schools that were hiring. But, there really was no interest in helping me get a job. I eventually found a job on my own through other websites.

One other critique I will make. They really did not offer any warning to a person of my age (46). I specifically mentioned that I wanted to teach in South Korea due to the benefits package. I mentioned that this is a new career for me. I was not one of their college kids looking for an adventure and a party. So, pay and benefits were very important. To OS’s credit, they did give many warning, such as Europe is only open to those from the EU and that South America does not pay well.

In the end, I am in China teaching. The pay is a bit less than South Korea. My plan is to teach here for 2 years to get the experience requirement to teach in the Middle East where the pay is the best for ESL teachers.

I will say that the instructor was very good. She a took real interest in us and our development. Her evaluation of us was spot on and very useful. Her previous ESL experiences were interesting. And there were many tips she provided to us.

I will add two more things. One, RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. You should research everything you can about ESL work. It is expensive to get you visa, plane tickets, medical, supplies before leaving, and starting money. Yes, there are plenty of bad schools and companies that you could get stuck working for. And, although many will say that you should not learn the language of your host country, I say BS to that. You should have at least 200-250 key words and phrases ready before you travel. You will have 2-5 months before you reach your host country. Use that time learning the language, culture and other aspects of the country.

Finally, there are plenty of bad teachers out there. They do a dis-service to the profession, to their schools and to the countries they represent. We are ambassadors of our home countries. We are support to be professional. We are suppose to know how to teach. I think many of the negative complaints against schools and companies are from teachers that could not adapt or evaluated as being bad teachers. If a school or company has many negative reviews, then I would be concerned about joining that company/school. But one or two bad reviews should not be a concern. Some people are just not prepared or have the fortitude to be an ESL teacher. They only saw the money, the adventure, or the party. They failed to see that they would actually have to be a teacher of English to foreign students. And, that is the biggest shame of it all.

Thank you for your detailed comments. I am in my mid 20s but pay and benefits are also important to me. I agree that one should learn the language of the host country. Thanks for the tips!

Thanks for taking the time to write this up! I have been looking into taking the course and your review pushed me to order the older book as you did. It's definitely an easy way to get a debrief of the course and decide if I really want to take it or not.

Thanks so much!
-Toby
Website Designer in Las Vegas

I took oxford seminar and agree that the material on the test really isn't' covered in the textbooks. it relies more on your critical thinking ability and judgement of the situation. also, the instructors don't really cover much in the course. they primarily give you their oversea experiences and insight. they share stories about their previous stories in the countries they taught and how they adjusted to their new environments but when it comes to teaching methods and techniques, not much was covered. also, the teach i had, her name was kate corriveau - she was rather unpleasant. i would not recommend her, but there are other oxford seminar teachers that make the course really enjoyable, just not her. she was very rude and demeaning to student comments and questions - always making you feel inferior and that your concerns and opinions where juvenile and naive. it's rather belittling. when i mentioned my concerns with the course she was very defensive and became verbally aggressive. i told her i was going to speak with oxford seminars about her behavior and how i had felt uncomfortable in her class. she responded that it would only make me look bad as she had been teaching at oxford seminars for 6 years. then processed to smile and chuck profusely before walking away. she also shows prejudice as because of my issues with her teaching method, she purposely gave me the lowest marks for the in class practice teaching. all my classmates thought i did a great job and applauded my enthusiasm and efforts while she gave me an C average. it was on a 18 point scale with 5 different rating systems: excellent, good job, average, fair, poor. she gave me mostly average is every category while she gave my classmates all excellent. i had made a thorough lesson plan, provided several activities including songs, pair work, dialogues and flashcards. i put a lot of effort into my presentation and tried to make the lesson as enjoyable as possible for my classmates. everyone had a good time and enjoyed the activities. they all participated and the class went very efficiently. however, my teacher thought it was just average; tho she missed a great deal of my lesson as she was too busy scrambling comments to fairly assess my presentation. she told me i had not followed the activities outlined on my lesson plan and when i told her i did; she responded, oh well i guess u did it too fast that i didn't notice. i didn't say anything back but merely stared at her flabbergasted. honestly, she wasn't even paying attention. from the first day of class, i can honestly say did not like me and since then is constantly demeaning other peoples opinions. she seems to believe because she is much older than i am, that everything i say is the result of my nativity as i just recently graduated from college. she kept calling me young and then starts laughing or shall i say casually chucking at my comments. i felt it was really disrespectful as i would never laugh at people just because their opinions differed from mine. so honestly guys, if you get Kate Corriveau- she is a middle age single white female, slightly plump with orange hair, about 5'0-5'3 - although she may sound experienced for she has taught in france, germany, czech, and finland - right now her full time job is as an instructor for some online school (i can't remember the name). point is, i would HIGHLY not recommend her. there are other more positive and inviting teachers. i had gone to the tuesday introduction meeting for oxford seminars and met an instructor there that was equally experienced but with a much kinder attitude. i had hoped she would be my instructor for the seminar but unfortunately got Kate Corriveau which turned out to be a nightmare. honestly, when i told oxford what she had told me, they were rather shocked as well and told me that that was definitely not the kind of image they project to their students. the main issue with Kate is that i felt she did not value my opinions and just plainly disregarded them believing them for lack of better word, stupid. she wasn't very open minded and just laughs at you when you ask a question or make a comment. and like i said, when i told her i wanted to make a complaint to oxford. she just laughed at me and told me "it would make me look bad, as she had been with the company for 6 years." when i called oxford seminars, they reassured me that this was not what they believed and she will be contacted. hopefully they fire or at least she changes her attitude because taking the course with her was not enjoyable at all. thankfully, i had a great group of classmates that make the course at least bearable because, she is just not a nice person.
hope that helps guys :)

I took oxford seminar and agree that the material on the test really isn't' covered in the textbooks. it relies more on your critical thinking ability and judgement of the situation. also, the instructors don't really cover much in the course. they primarily give you their oversea experiences and insight. they share stories about their previous stories in the countries they taught and how they adjusted to their new environments but when it comes to teaching methods and techniques, not much was covered. also, the teach i had, her name was kate corriveau - she was rather unpleasant. i would not recommend her, but there are other oxford seminar teachers that make the course really enjoyable, just not her. she was very rude and demeaning to student comments and questions - always making you feel inferior and that your concerns and opinions where juvenile and naive. it's rather belittling. when i mentioned my concerns with the course she was very defensive and became verbally aggressive. i told her i was going to speak with oxford seminars about her behavior and how i had felt uncomfortable in her class. she responded that it would only make me look bad as she had been teaching at oxford seminars for 6 years. then processed to smile and chuck profusely before walking away. she also shows prejudice as because of my issues with her teaching method, she purposely gave me the lowest marks for the in class practice teaching. all my classmates thought i did a great job and applauded my enthusiasm and efforts while she gave me an C average. it was on a 18 point scale with 5 different rating systems: excellent, good job, average, fair, poor. she gave me mostly average is every category while she gave my classmates all excellent. i had made a thorough lesson plan, provided several activities including songs, pair work, dialogues and flashcards. i put a lot of effort into my presentation and tried to make the lesson as enjoyable as possible for my classmates. everyone had a good time and enjoyed the activities. they all participated and the class went very efficiently. however, my teacher thought it was just average; tho she missed a great deal of my lesson as she was too busy scrambling comments to fairly assess my presentation. she told me i had not followed the activities outlined on my lesson plan and when i told her i did; she responded, oh well i guess u did it too fast that i didn't notice. i didn't say anything back but merely stared at her flabbergasted. honestly, she wasn't even paying attention. from the first day of class, i can honestly say did not like me and since then is constantly demeaning other peoples opinions. she seems to believe because she is much older than i am, that everything i say is the result of my nativity as i just recently graduated from college. she kept calling me young and then starts laughing or shall i say casually chucking at my comments. i felt it was really disrespectful as i would never laugh at people just because their opinions differed from mine. so honestly guys, if you get Kate Corriveau- she is a middle age single white female, slightly plump with orange hair, about 5'0-5'3 - although she may sound experienced for she has taught in france, germany, czech, and finland - right now her full time job is as an instructor for some online school (i can't remember the name). point is, i would HIGHLY not recommend her. there are other more positive and inviting teachers. i had gone to the tuesday introduction meeting for oxford seminars and met an instructor there that was equally experienced but with a much kinder attitude. i had hoped she would be my instructor for the seminar but unfortunately got Kate Corriveau which turned out to be a nightmare. honestly, when i told oxford what she had told me, they were rather shocked as well and told me that that was definitely not the kind of image they project to their students. the main issue with Kate is that i felt she did not value my opinions and just plainly disregarded them believing them for lack of better word, stupid. she wasn't very open minded and just laughs at you when you ask a question or make a comment. and like i said, when i told her i wanted to make a complaint to oxford. she just laughed at me and told me "it would make me look bad, as she had been with the company for 6 years." when i called oxford seminars, they reassured me that this was not what they believed and she will be contacted. hopefully they fire or at least she changes her attitude because taking the course with her was not enjoyable at all. thankfully, i had a great group of classmates that make the course at least bearable because, she is just not a nice person.
hope that helps guys :)

I took oxford seminar and agree that the material on the test really isn't' covered in the textbooks. it relies more on your critical thinking ability and judgement of the situation. also, the instructors don't really cover much in the course. they primarily give you their oversea experiences and insight. they share stories about their previous stories in the countries they taught and how they adjusted to their new environments but when it comes to teaching methods and techniques, not much was covered. also, the teach i had, her name was kate corriveau - she was rather unpleasant. i would not recommend her, but there are other oxford seminar teachers that make the course really enjoyable, just not her. she was very rude and demeaning to student comments and questions - always making you feel inferior and that your concerns and opinions where juvenile and naive. it's rather belittling. when i mentioned my concerns with the course she was very defensive and became verbally aggressive. i told her i was going to speak with oxford seminars about her behavior and how i had felt uncomfortable in her class. she responded that it would only make me look bad as she had been teaching at oxford seminars for 6 years. then processed to smile and chuck profusely before walking away. she also shows prejudice as because of my issues with her teaching method, she purposely gave me the lowest marks for the in class practice teaching. all my classmates thought i did a great job and applauded my enthusiasm and efforts while she gave me an C average. it was on a 18 point scale with 5 different rating systems: excellent, good job, average, fair, poor. she gave me mostly average is every category while she gave my classmates all excellent. i had made a thorough lesson plan, provided several activities including songs, pair work, dialogues and flashcards. i put a lot of effort into my presentation and tried to make the lesson as enjoyable as possible for my classmates. everyone had a good time and enjoyed the activities. they all participated and the class went very efficiently. however, my teacher thought it was just average; tho she missed a great deal of my lesson as she was too busy scrambling comments to fairly assess my presentation. she told me i had not followed the activities outlined on my lesson plan and when i told her i did; she responded, oh well i guess u did it too fast that i didn't notice. i didn't say anything back but merely stared at her flabbergasted. honestly, she wasn't even paying attention. from the first day of class, i can honestly say did not like me and since then is constantly demeaning other peoples opinions. she seems to believe because she is much older than i am, that everything i say is the result of my nativity as i just recently graduated from college. she kept calling me young and then starts laughing or shall i say casually chucking at my comments. i felt it was really disrespectful as i would never laugh at people just because their opinions differed from mine. so honestly guys, if you get Kate Corriveau- she is a middle age single white female, slightly plump with orange hair, about 5'0-5'3 - although she may sound experienced for she has taught in france, germany, czech, and finland - right now her full time job is as an instructor for some online school (i can't remember the name). point is, i would HIGHLY not recommend her. there are other more positive and inviting teachers. i had gone to the tuesday introduction meeting for oxford seminars and met an instructor there that was equally experienced but with a much kinder attitude. i had hoped she would be my instructor for the seminar but unfortunately got Kate Corriveau which turned out to be a nightmare. honestly, when i told oxford what she had told me, they were rather shocked as well and told me that that was definitely not the kind of image they project to their students. the main issue with Kate is that i felt she did not value my opinions and just plainly disregarded them believing them for lack of better word, stupid. she wasn't very open minded and just laughs at you when you ask a question or make a comment. and like i said, when i told her i wanted to make a complaint to oxford. she just laughed at me and told me "it would make me look bad, as she had been with the company for 6 years." when i called oxford seminars, they reassured me that this was not what they believed and she will be contacted. hopefully they fire or at least she changes her attitude because taking the course with her was not enjoyable at all. thankfully, i had a great group of classmates that make the course at least bearable because, she is just not a nice person.
hope that helps guys :)

Thank you for taking the time to post this. I am close to retirement age and looking for something I can do part-time- teaching English to adults is one option. This seems like an affordable way to get certified - other programs cost much more. Thanks again.

Thank you for taking the time to take this course and post a review on it!!!!!!!! This is exactly what I was looking for and will make it much easier to make a decision. Much appreciated!

Having attended the famed course myself, I fully agree that it really overestimates native speakers' understanding of English grammar. I went in the course thinking I would come out with more knowledge about the grammar of the language I've been using since I was a child but that did not happen. It has been 4 years since I've taken the course and found that "A Complete's Idiot Guide to English Grammar" I picked up from a local bookstore helped me way more in learning about English grammar. That is just kind of sad.

I'm about to go teach English overseas next year and sadly, all I really got from this course was a paper certificate and some ideas on classroom management.

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