I’m saying this as background to some reflection I’ve been doing based on the recent FREE TEFL Certificate course I launched.
It has always been my goal to provide free or low cost assess to knowledge and materials for teachers. I’ve worked night and day, year in and year out, to counter so much of the blatant commercialism that pervades TEFL. Worked tirelessly to “fight the good fight” and use the possibilities of new technologies to the utmost benefit of hard working and low paid teachers. Sharing, community, can empower us.
However, both on my community EFL Classroom 2.0 and especially with the launch of the new TEFL Certificate course, I’ve learned an important lesson. If teachers get it for free, some really don’t value what they get. Not everyone but my guess is a good majority. Not blaming or accusing any one person – it is just human nature.
I won’t go into all the emails of support and so positive in nature. I also won’t go into how many emails I got from so many who seemed “entitled” and being very aggressive about why “this wasn’t there” or “there was a dead link, quit wasting my time”. Not going there. Want to relate something else.
With the Free TEFL Course, I was gladly going to pay the cost/ student that is incurred. My paying it forward for education. However, never thought so many would take advantage of this (I expected 20-30/month – we now have over 300 and close to 200 students taking the course right now). But most importantly, never thought so many would just NOT watch the videos, think about the ideas but rather whiz through the quizzes, just trying to complete them and get the certificate.
The nice thing about the school’s LMS is that I see everything. Loads of student data. I can tell how long a teacher stayed on a page, interacted with the content. How many times they took a quiz, the results etc… To my amazement, over 70% of teachers were just clicking the quizzes and trying to run through the lessons like it was some video game.
So, I tried limiting the attempts. Also, monitoring the time on task. However, still teachers are taking very little time watching videos and reflecting/interacting with the ideas in the PDFs. And there isn’t a lot I can do.
So I’m now going to make teachers pay a minimal user fee for the course. I think this will make it so they will value the community, the resources and the certificate that results. Sorry it has to be this way but I guess I have to learn the hard way.
All those who pay the $9.99 will get my Teach | Learn coursebook when they graduate + a great certificate of completion. Also, 3 months of access to the resources (and to complete the course). The course will also serve as a pre requisite to the 120 hour accredited certificate I’ll offer in Jan. 2012.
Those who’ve already signed up for the class will get it free. I hope they slow down and savor the lessons! All those presently doing the course will have a month to graduate. Good luck! I also think this course would be a great “primer” for any teacher training program and hope trainers out there might encourage their students to take it. Even plan a course around it.
I do hope all teachers understand and realize the truth of what I’m saying, where I’m coming from. I thank you all for your support and again, not accusing any one teacher at all.