International House World Bristol Speaking to the World

Trinity TESOL Certificate course

Once you have completed one of our five-week intensive Certificate in TESOL courses, you'll be able to work as a TEFL teacher anywhere in the world.

The Certificate in TESOL course

Certificate Group

Our course leads to the internationally recognised Trinity Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Cert TESOL). This is the first professional qualification for TEFL (teachers of English as a foreign language).

I have absolutely loved my time here. I've learnt so much and met some great people!

We have a great success rate on our programme: an amazing 100% of participants who have completed the course have passed and obtained this valuable professional qualification on our last 15 courses!

Previous participants have gone on to become TEFL teachers in countries as varied as Argentina, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK.

No experience is required ‒ this course is open to anyone with at least qualifications for entry to higher education, such as A-levels. Typical participants include:

  • College graduates
  • Professional people looking for a career change
  • Teachers of other subjects
  • People who see TEFL as a means of living and working abroad
  • Gap-year students
  • Non-native English speakers and international applicants are also welcome

If English is not your first language, you should have a level of proficiency in English equivalent to CPE, CAE or an IELTS score of 7.0, TOEFL 600.

Course aims

Our Certificate in TESOL course will give you all the basic skills and the essential knowledge you need to find a good job as a TEFL teacher anywhere in the world.

In particular, you'll ...

  • Understand and feel confident about the main features of grammar, phonology and vocabulary
  • Know how to assess the learning needs of your students
  • Be able to design and evaluate TEFL materials
  • Know how to plan effective lessons
  • Be familiar with many leading published TEFL titles
  • Be confident in using the main classroom aids such as whiteboards, interactive whiteboards, OHPs, visual aids and dictionaries
  • Appreciate the needs and the problems of all kinds of learners

Key certificate course content:

Here are the five units of our Trinity Cert TESOL:

Unit 1: Teaching skills

Teaching practice: you will learn about the main aspects of modern, communicative TEFL teaching, how to teach effectively with different materials and a variety of techniques. It's also important to learn to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your lessons so you can build up a repertoire of successful activities.

You'll have six hours of TEFL teaching practice and the chance to observe our expert TEFL teachers in their classes for at least 4.5 hours over the course. This will show you best TEFL practice in action, and give you lots of ideas for your own teaching.

Unit 2: Language awareness

You will learn to analyse the relationship between linguistic form, function and meaning, so you can understand and explain this clearly to your students. You'll also study phonology, so you will have lots of techniques to help your students sound more natural in English.

Most people are initially not very confident about their grammar awareness, so this is an important part of any TEFL programme. We've got lots of materials to help you get to grips with grammar.

Unit 3: The learner profile

Here you will work closely with one student and learn all about his or her learning background, needs and interests, strengths and weaknesses. You will prepare and teach a one-to-one lesson ‒ a very useful skill for today's TEFL market.

Unit 4: The materials assignment

You will develop an extensive bank of your own TEFL materials from a variety of sources, so you create and assess classroom materials of all sorts. You'll also become familiar with some of the best TEFL materials available today, and learn to assess their strengths and weaknesses so you know how to adapt them for your classes.

Unit 5: The unknown language

This is always one of the fun elements of the course. You'll have a chance to learn a new language from scratch and think of the issues and challenges of being an adult beginner. It will also show you essential classroom techniques to use when teaching beginners.

Professional development

Here, we help you think and behave as a professional TEFL teacher, working as a member of a team in a communicative profession. You will learn to take more responsibility for your work inside and outside the classroom.

Success on the Certificate in TESOL course

Our course is very practical, covering all the fundamental principles of teaching English. This will help you develop your confidence as you learn more useful TEFL classroom techniques, and cover all the fundamental principles of teaching English as a foreign language.

Thank you very much to the IH Bristol team. I've really enjoyed my five weeks here and am so impressed with how you run this school.

After the course you will be familiar with a range of task types for all sorts of lessons, and will feel confident about teaching in different circumstances anywhere in the world!

We believe our programme and our record of success will give you all you need to begin a successful career in TEFL anywhere in the world.

Every TEFL course provider is different. Our focus on quality, and the fact that we offer far more than the minimum requirements of a certificate course, will help you become a confident TEFL teacher able to teach in a variety of different circumstances.

That's why with our programme, you get FIVE weeks of training, not FOUR.

In addition, you will have all these advantages:

  • Our excellent range of TEFL materials: We have a well-stocked study room with more than 5,000 hours of materials, a library full of pedagogical videos, and a vast range of TEFL resources
  • Life in a busy language school, where you can get to know all our students personally
  • Daily contact with foreign students from all over the world: We generally have 10-15 different nationalities in school at one time
  • Top-quality teaching from experienced TEFL teachers who are also examiners and materials writers
  • Our tradition of success: We have an unbeatable pass rate. Since 2000, every candidate has managed to pass the programme. Not many TEFL course providers can say the same!
  • Career guidance: Very practical advice about traps to avoid and how to ensure you have the best chance of getting the TEFL job you want in the school you choose.

Frequently asked questions


Q: What's the difference between TESOL, TEFL, ELT and CELTA?

A: TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and ELT (English Language Teaching) both refer to the industry of teaching English as a foreign language. TESOL and CELTA both refer to the qualifications that can be gained if you would like to teach English in the UK or abroad. TESOL refers to the Trinity Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and CELTA refers to the Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults.


Q: Are there any differences between the Trinity Cert TESOL and the Cambridge CELTA?

A: Yes and no. Both Certificates teach the same basic TEFL/TESOL skills and require the same number of hours of teaching practice and observation, for example. Both lead to the same level of professional qualification, which is Level 5 of the National Qualifications Framework, and both have equal status on the TEFL job market.

There are some elements of the Trinity syllabus we think are particularly interesting, though. With the Trinity Certificate in TESOL, for example:

‒ You must study a foreign language from scratch for a number of hours to appreciate what it's like being an adult beginner again

‒ You have to do some one-to-one teaching, which is a valuable skill when you are a TEFL teacher abroad

‒ You have to create a materials project, so you get a lot of practice finding and making your own EFL materials

‒ ll your teaching practices are observed by our teachers, not outsiders

What's more, if anything goes wrong with the final marks, Trinity has some in-built flexibility so you can retake parts of the course by an agreed deadline. We like that flexibility.

In addition, Trinity has given us scope to teach to our specific strengths. That means that on our programme, you get these benefits:

‒ You'll learn how to use phonology as an active part of your teaching

‒ You'll know more about how to use technology, such as interactive whiteboards, in TEFL teaching

‒ You'll find out more about how to use learning aids such as dictionaries. You'll see our special innovative methods and TEFL materials in action

‒ You'll learn about teaching business English, teaching teenagers and young learners and about testing and international exams for EFL students

Q: What's the difference between your course and a cheaper weekend or online course?

A: Weekend or ‘taster’ courses may be helpful in giving you an idea of what to expect when teaching English as a foreign language. However, you will not get the full range of input ‒ training in teaching methodology, language analysis, classroom management, and so on ‒ that you will get on a longer course, and you will not be eligible for the same range of jobs that a longer course and its associated qualification will give you.

Similarly, online courses can be very helpful and you may enjoy working in the privacy of your home or workplace. However, you will not get the full range of training that you will receive on a TESOL or CELTA course. There will also be less experience of working face-to-face with trainers and other trainee teachers, which is very important for teachers at an early stage of their professional development. Again, an online qualification may not give you access to the range of teaching posts you would be eligible for with a qualification following a longer, face-to-face course.

Q: I never studied English grammar. I'm worried I won't understand how to teach it. Is that a problem?

A: Don't worry. Many, many participants say this. On the course we'll help you understand how grammar works, what the key terms mean, and how to teach it effectively. There are lots of books to help you, too.

Q: What nationalities are in the school?

A: We have students from all over the world. Our classes are always mixed. At any one time there could be up to 15 different nationalities in the school. This is of particular benefit to you: you'll experience the learning problems of students from as far afield as Korea and South America.

Q: I don't live in Bristol. Can you help me with accommodation?

A: Of course. We have about 50 host families in Bristol and can easily arrange half-board accommodation for £135 a week or self-catering for £115. Please contact us for details.

Q: Will I be able to continue with my part-time job during the course?

A: No. It's not a good idea. You'll have a lot of reading and preparing to do after classes in the evenings. You'll probably want to organise your notes and catch up on some reading during the weekend, too. You need to be giving 100% to the programme. After all, it's the start of a new career; don't jeopardise it before it's even started.

Recommended books

These are the books on our required reading list. You must buy your copies and read through them before your course starts. Don't worry if you don't understand everything ‒ much of the material in the books is covered in input sessions on the course. We want to ensure you know your way around the books, and you should be familiar with the basic ideas before starting. All three books are available from Amazon.

Learning Teaching ‒ Jim Scrivener (3rd edition 2011) approx £20

This is a methodology book giving lots of very useful information about how to make your lessons a success. You'll also learn how to approach different types of lessons: grammar lessons, speaking lessons, vocabulary lessons, and so on. The style is approachable and you'll find many practical ideas  you can use from your first lesson. You'll also see many of the ideas in action when you observe our teachers.

Sound Foundations ‒ Adrian Underhill (2nd edition 2005) approx £18

The other aspect of the course trainees often worry about is phonology. What is phonology? Why do I have to learn it? How can I teach it? These are common questions. The good news is that this book takes you through the whole phonology syllabus step by step. It's clear, concise and full of lots of practical activities to help you get to grips with every aspect of the sound system of English and how to teach it. We'll use the book for input throughout the programme.

Practical English Usage ‒ Michael Swan (3rd edition 2005) approx £25

This book is a classic. It gives you great explanations in clear English of every aspect of grammar ‒ and more ‒ that students can have problems with. It also gives examples of typical student problems and explains them. Basically, this is the TEFL teacher's Bible, which is why every TEFL teacher we know has a copy.

Dates and prices for the certificate course

Dates Prices
January 6th to February 7th FULL
February 17th to March 21st FULL
March 31st to May 2nd  £1,495
May 12th to June 13th £1,495
August 18th to September 19th £1,495
September 29th to October 31st £1,495
November 10th to December 12th £1,495

This price includes all tuition, materials, use of resources and Trinity College moderation fee plus VAT.

International House Bristol will invoice you for a deposit of £205 once you have accepted an offer of a place on the course. Please note that if you cancel your place on the course, the registration fee of £100 is non-refundable.

For peace of mind we recommend you take out insurance which covers reimbursement of fees. International House Bristol has negotiated an extremely competitive rate for such insurance with the insurance company

Please click here for the policy summary.

Courses will only go ahead with a minimum of eight trainees on any one course. The maximum class size is 12.

Shadowing: At any time before or after the course and for any duration by arrangement. Cost: £36 per day or part-day.