Review: LanguageCorps TESOL Certification Program

After two weeks in class sessions and two weeks of in classroom practicum with LanguageCorps Asia (LC), I am now certified to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

 

LC Certificate

 

THE PROGRAM

 

Week One – Classes

The classes are what you expect for the first two weeks. The amount of material was fairly intensive and the amount of take home work in the evening was considerable.

Pros:

  • The time allotted for the program was sufficient
  • Assignments were fair and required students to be creative
  • I learned many new concepts and methods to teach English

Cons:

  • I think that the exam at the end of week one should really have been at the end of week two
  • The exam was open book and the instructor informed everyone what would be on the test making it too easy for students to pass
  • Daily assignments were graded but the grading system (A to E) seemed irrelevant and inconsistent. After inquiring about how to improve a “C” grade the instructor informed me that I had done everything perfect and there was no way to do so.

Overall the course material was good, but I would have liked to have seen a heavier focus on grading. This would have made it more difficult and challenging for students, and overall would have made it feel like it was really earned.

The Instructors

The instructors in Phnom Penh for the first two week program were a mixed bag. There were some who clearly had a passion for what they were doing. They made the classes interesting, and when a class is grammar or classroom management, something is necessary to keep minds from wandering elsewhere.

And then there was an instructor who obviously didn’t want to be there. On the first day he mentioned that he felt as if they were back in America “driving in crazy traffic to come to job I don’t want to be at”. Not a very good first day impression, nor inspiring in the slightest.

The Setting

The main classes are at the PUC University Main Campus in Phnom Penh. If those were unavailable for any reason, they were held instead held right in the hotel.

Pros:

  • Classroom size was suitable for the amount of students
  • Good location to city center

Cons:

  • Poor location in relation to our hotel
  • Air circulation was poor making it uncomfortably hot at times

Week 2 – In Class Practicum

I had informed LC that I wanted to teach high school students or adults for my practicum weeks. So needless to say when I received my notice of what classes I would be instructing I was quite disappointed. I had a class of 11-15 year olds at an orphanage and 4-6 year olds at the LC campus. Fortunately another student decided to withdraw from the program so I quickly traded for his adult class giving up the class of 4-6 year olds.

Pete in Class

 

Pros:

  • The real-time experience adds an extreme amount of value and prepared me for what it would be like in the classroom
  • We were responsible for developing a lesson plan, teaching the class, and the post class self-evaluations
  • In class evaluations by LC staff were very valuable in terms of feedback and improvement

Cons:

  • There was a lack of lesson syllabus availble in the classroom. Certainly it made it more difficult to come up with lesson plans, and in terms of providing structure for the students it would be better to have an actual curriculum

 

OTHER ASPECTS OF THE PROGRAM

 

The Marady Hotel – LanguageCorps Asia HQ – Phnom Penh

Included in the LC program costs were our accommodations for the month.

Marady Hotel Phnom Penh Cambodia

 

Pros:

  • The rooms were quite spacious and the beds were extremely comfortable
  • The office space and classrooms downstairs made good work areas to complete assignments and prepare lesson plans
  • Laundry service offered in the hotel was decent and very reasonably priced
  • Overall, the Marady staff were very pleasant and accommodating. They seem to always have a smile on their face and loved to practice their English
  • The gym on the bottom floor had good quality modern equipment and was a nice benefit to keep in shape for the month. Although we did not swim in the pool, many of our new friends really enjoyed it
  • The hotel restaurant overall was just “okay”, and we tired of it quickly. More fresh fruit and vegetable options would have been appreciated

Cons:

  • The location of the hotel is awful. It is inconveniently located near the outskirts of town and away from the main attractions and other places to eat
  • The rooms were not completely clean. There were corners and areas which had clearly not been touched in months. The cleaning schedule was also very inconsistent and we sometimes went days without our room being cleaned
  • The wi-fi was decent but inconsistent (expected for Cambodia, as I understand), but only available on certain floors (not ours). We asked about the router on our floor during the first week and to our knowledge it was never even looked at
  • It is on a very busy street beside noisy construction of a new overpass. After two days we requested a room change to an upper level to escape some of the noise

Marady Hotel Staff

 

The Administration

Pros:

  • Staff was overall very pleasant
  • Print outs for classes were readily available in time
  • The administration offered a job search program to help you find a teaching job. I did not participate as we were moving on, but it involved resume blasting and introducing yourself to schools. From what I heard from other students the opportunities were much better in Phnom Penh than in Thailand

Cons:

  • On numerous occassions I had requested missing pages of my LC text to be supplied and they never were. The reliability for these sorts of requests was very questionable
  • Dedicated tuk tuk drivers were consistently charging different and overpriced amounts to the centre. If they are at the hotel in part to serve the students, a fair and pre-negotiated price with them would have been appreciated to avoid the hassle.

Excursions

As a part of the TESOL program, LanguageCorps Asia offered some extra curricular activities. These included a trip to Siem Reap to see the impressive temples of Angkor, a weekend in Sihanoukville to get some beach time, weekly karaoke, and a welcome dinner. The admin also arranged an evening river boat excursion for an additional cost.

Pros:

  • Angkor Wat and Sihanoukville should not be missed. They are two of Cambodia’s biggest tourist attractions and you have not seen either, I would make sure to go.
  • Karaoke night is fun and a good way to bond with other students outside the class

Cons:

  • Corners seemed to be cut in terms of cost or time. The sunrise at Angkor Wat was offered, and then taken away. We were given the excuse that the weather would be bad, but no weather reports confirmed this. Thankfully we chose to do it on our own time and expense.
  • The transportation from Sihanoukville was the split point for students going on to other countries for their practicum week. The bus bound for Thailand we saw was over filled and the students were extremely uncomfortable for the ten hour journey. LC should have provided a second bus, without question.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS

My experience with LanguageCorps Asia was a mixed one. Although I am happy to have achieved my TESOL certification, I question the overall value of the program, as I get the feeling that they are simply pushing its students through. The grading should have been much more difficult, there should have been an exam at the end of the second week, and any exam should not have been open book. The more difficult it is to achieve the certificate, the higher quality teachers you will see graduate from the program, thus making the certificate of more value.

The hotel was below standards and the location was poor. This definitely had a negative impact on our stay.

The staff at the hotel were very kind and accommodating but the LC staff were hit and miss on simple requests, and at times I felt that corners were cut to save money.

The saving grace for this program is the high quality of some of the teachers, and I came away having learned a lot. However, given the other negatives in play, I still have a hard time stating that this program would be entirely worth the cost. Hopefully some improvements can be made.

 

***We were guests of LanguageCorps Asia to visit Cambodia and review their TESOL Certification program. As always, all opinions are our own.

 

24 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • mira
    December 28 2013

    Thank you very much for this review!!! I am currently looking at Tesol Programs and this review helped a lot to know what to expect…. thanks!

    • December 29 2013

      Glad this helped. If you have any questions at all, please let us know.

      • josh
        March 29 2014

        did you end up teaching english after completing the tesol program with language corps

        • Pete
          March 31 2014

          Hi Josh, No I did not end up teaching as we had other project commitments. But, many of my classmates were successful in finding teaching jobs. There are plenty of opportunities in Phnom Penh and Bangkok, those seemed to be the most successful locations to find work.

      • Andria Keirn
        March 19 2015

        I signed up for the LC Asia TESOL summer volunteer program. After reading this review I feel a bit discouraged. After Phnom Pehn where did you guys end up?

        Also, did you have much free time while you were training for your certificate during the evenings and on weekends?

        • Pete
          March 23 2015

          Hi Andria,

          After PP I decided not to teach. But the majority of my classmates found placements in Phnom Penh. Thailand is a very competitive market and very few found long term placements there. Only classmate ventured to Vietnam, but chose to not to stay (I’m unsure of the reasons). That being said, LC will help (to some extent) you find a position, but they don’t guarantee success. That is really up to you and how motivated you are.

          Regarding free time, it really comes down to how serious you are about the program. The evenings were fairly busy with work and prep for the lessons. There were however some that didn’t take things as seriously and were hungover the next day in class. That being said, nobody failed or was held back (but I believe there should have been).

          Anyway, my hunch overall is that there is demand in the market and when there’s demand there’s expectation. LC will keep handing out certificates so expats can be eligible to teach. It’s really up to you how qualified and professional you choose to be. It obviously will reflect when you do get placed to teach.

          Let me know if you have any other questions.

          Very best,
          Pete

  • julie
    January 3 2014

    I am currently starting a TESOL program at TEFL Worldwide Prague and would be happy to give you my feedback when I finish at the end of January. Sounds like you two are living the life. AWESOME!!

    • January 3 2014

      Please do reply back with your thoughts Julie! Will be beneficial to our readers. Thanks! 🙂

  • Evan
    January 5 2014

    How much was the program?

  • Shaya Kraut
    February 2 2014

    I was just reading your post, thanks!

    I have saved a little, enough to cover cost of a ‘TEFL’ certificate program–I was looking at CELTA and Via Lingua. I studied Spanish for many years (I had a couple jobs also where I was able to us it daily), French for 3, and Italian and Hebrew for about a year…LOVE languages. I also did a short term (few months) volunteer stint in Dominican Republic.

    Anyway a lot of the demand is in Asia–China, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. I wondered if you’d have any thoughts on teaching in Vietnam. From reading, I am really interested in going there–it sounds like the people are welcoming and it not super cold like China, and just sounds like a beautiful fascinating place.

    I am a little scared because I am on the shy/quiet side. I am afraid I won’t be funny/entertaining enough, or if there are discipline problems I will have a tough time (that was hard at a job I had as a teachers aid with American kids).

    Any thoughts you have would be much appreciated!

    • Pete
      March 31 2014

      Hi Shaya, I think you would be fine in Vietnam. I’ve heard nothing but good things from a few of my colleagues who do teach there. Being shy/quiet is absolutely fine. I didn’t think I was either. The discipline is quite different in Asia. Through LC I was able to learn how to deal with disciplinary issues. If you need further advice please send me an email at peter at hecktictravels dot com. Cheers!

  • Ben
    February 26 2014

    Thank you kindly for this thorough, well-thought, and efficient review of LanguageCorps. I just applied for their standard TESOL program in Cambodia and I am grateful for your insight into this particular agency.

    If you would not have gone with LC, what would have been your second choice? Any other program you’d consider if one simply wants to earn a TESOL certificate and nothing else?

    • Pete
      March 31 2014

      From my understanding, there is not other choice for TESOL in Asia, LC has a grasp of this market. To be honest, I think the schools are just looking for a certificate of any kind, the more the better. Despite some of the disappointing aspects of LC, there were a lot of good things that I took away. So if I was serious about teaching in SEA, I would say LC would be your best bet. Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  • JB Nelson
    April 2 2014

    I’m about to sign up for the TESOL program in Hania, Crete through LC. I’ve been a bit skeptical of the program as a whole and this review was a little refreshing to read. Will LC help me find a job in Asia if I earned my TESOL in Crete?

    • Pete
      June 18 2014

      Hey JB, sorry for the delayed response, this comment somehow sneaked through our filter. Anyway, they will assist in some degree. I can’t complete comment because I never stuck around to find a job, but my colleagues who did were assisted by LC. They do have contacts and connections with the schools in the areas and by having a certificate with them certainly helps in landing a position.

      As far as Crete, I can’t say, but I would suggest sending them an email to find out.

      Best of luck,
      Pete

  • Rose
    May 28 2014

    I have been researching different certificate programs with the intent of securing a teaching position in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam and have been leaning towards this particular program. Your review was very helpful and I really appreciate it! I’m sure it varies but I was curious what the demographics were like of fellow students? Did you feel that there was time to explore the city somewhat or that you were overall too busy/too isolated with the location of the hotel to explore much?

    • Pete
      June 18 2014

      Hi Rose, sorry for the delay, we’ve been super busy in Romania and I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and answer your question.

      During the program there is very little time to explore. Well, that is of course if you are focused on giving 100% to the program. I would expect those who pay to take the course are there to do so. The location in PP is in quite an interesting spot. It is nowhere near the center so you are getting a taste of local life.

      Other than that the program does include excursions where you get to know the other students outside of the classroom. It was a decent balance.

      Hope this helps. If you have any other questions feel free to shoot me an email via our contact page.

      Cheers!
      P

  • nandi
    July 8 2014

    Hi, I want to do the flagship program with languagecorps, I really want to do Cambodia or Vietnam. I don’t have a 4 year university degree, so Thailand was taken off the list. I’m not light skinned and worried about finding a job though I was born in America. But that’s why Im doing the guaranteed job. My nervousness is what is keeping me from changing to a less expensive option. Do you have a preference over cambodia or Vietnam? And do you know anyone who stayed and taught in cambodia when you left? If so how long did they teach and did they like it? I want to teach for a year

    Thank you for your regards

    • Pete
      September 9 2014

      Hi Nandi,

      Firstly, my apologies for not responding sooner, this was somehow overlooked.

      To answer your question, yes I do know a few people who stayed in PP and taught. I also know quite a few who taught in Thailand, but with their visa restrictions, it is definitely more difficult. I found that there were plenty of opportunities in Cambodia. Understand that the pay is a bit less, but the cost of living is much less as well. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us through our contact page.

      Cheers,
      Pete

  • Andrew
    September 8 2014

    Hello Pete. I am interested in teaching in Taiwan. So I was wondering if you saw any evidence of Language Corps having the ability to place graduates in Taiwan?

    • Pete
      September 9 2014

      Hi Andrew, I did not see any graduates placed in Taiwan, but that doesn’t mean it is not possible. Generally all the schools are looking for is a certificate of some sorts. They LOVE certificates. Having your TESOL will definitely be an advantage going to Taiwan. Whether or not they need any other certs is another questions I can’t answer.

      Hope that helps,
      Pete

  • Elizabeth
    September 11 2014

    Hi Pete,

    In regard to the Taiwan question, is it that you did not see anybody that wanted teach in Taiwan get placement or nobody selected Taiwan as their destination? I have been accepted to teach in Taiwan through LC. They said they guarantee job placement before I leave. I want to believe they have to keep their word. Any advice would help. Thanks.

    Elizabeth

  • Shane
    October 8 2015

    Hi! My name is Shane! I found your page while doing some research on Language Corps. I wanted to reach out to someone that has been through the program. There aren’t really many reports about it and I’m trying to do as much research as I can because I know there are tons of scams out there regarding tefl. Do you think you can give me some insight?

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