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  • Who owns and operates ACTDEC? How do I know this is a genuine organisation?
    ACTDEC was founded in 1993 for the benefit of the public. It is a non-profit making body governed by officers and Council. It was established to advance professionalism by maintaining and improving on standards of online TESOL/TEFL programmes. The Chair of ACTDEC, Secretary and Treasurer are elected annually from accredited members. All funds generated by ACTDEC are used solely to further promote ACTDEC, its work in general and in developing and advancing its accreditation aims, professional standards and excellence in TESOL distance learning. ACTDEC has now been around for 30 years (see Our Story). We are recognised within the profession, have well-qualified, named A&A Panel members and a list of accredited members who can all be easily contacted.
  • What exactly does ACTDEC do? How does it work?
    ACTDEC is an accrediting body for online/distance TESOL/TEFL training course providers. Accreditation, in simple terms, involves ensuring that a product or organisation meets and maintains certain established quality standards. Applicant providers first send us documentation and evidence that they have certain administrative, logistical and communication systems and procedures in place. We review the documentation against our Code of Practice to ensure that the provider is able to deliver quality service and support to their trainees. We then look in detail at the course or courses that the provider wishes to accredit. The course is reviewed against our Code of Practice as well as the Standards and Learning Outcomes we have established for that level. For each part of the accreditation process, our Audit & Accreditation Panel furnishes the provider with detailed reports, explicitly commenting on what we like, suggestions for areas we think could be improved, and aspects that must be improved in order to meet our standards. The provider then has two months from the date of the report to implement any required changes and/or respond to our recommendations. Once a provider has been accredited (both the course they are offering and the organisation itself, they become full partner members of ACTDEC and are listed on our website. Students who wish to train as teachers (teacher trainees) can buy an ACTDEC-accredited course from one of our partner providers with confidence, knowing that both the course and the organisation itself meet our high standards. We also ensure that these initial high standards are maintained and improved on. We believe strongly that creativity and innovation are key aspects in education, so we expect our providers to stay on top of latest research and technology and to refine and enhance their courses on an ongoing basis. Our partners commit to providing us with an annual report on any changes or innovations they have implemented since their accreditation to be reviewed by our A&A Panel. Additionally, another full audit is carried out every 3 years.
  • Do I have to be an established Course Provider to get accredited with ACTDEC?
    No, you don't. We have experience in getting first time course providers up to scratch and helping you to improve your course before you go live. However, you should be prepared for the accreditation process to take longer and you will be required to monitor and evaluate procedures and systems for future audits.
  • How long does the accreditation process take?
    If your organisation and course already meet all ACTDEC requirements, the process could, in theory, take as little as two months. However, frequently the time taken depends on you, as the applicant, providing us with complete and coherent information and the relevant evidence. For more information about the stages of the process, see our 6 Steps to Accreditation section.
  • Is it really expensive to get accredited with ACTDEC?
    As a non-profit working with a small team, we believe our fees are highly competitive. Please download our Information Kit for a complete breakdown of our fees. However, as a rough guide, the Initial Organisational Audit for new applicants currently costs GBP £300 (2023) - please see 6 Steps to Accreditation. Additionally, we charge between £400-£750 for review and accreditation of the course itself, depending on the level of the course. Once you have achieved accreditation, you will pay an annual fee of £715 (2023).
  • What's the difference between TEFL, TESL and TESOL? Are the courses different?
    You will probably find these three terms used interchangeably in the context of teacher training courses; for most purposes they can be considered synonyms. However, there are subtle differences in meaning, as outlined below: (1) TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language - it is most often used in the context of teaching English in a country where English is not the first language (e.g, Japan, China, Brazil). The term TEFL is most popular in the UK. (2) TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language - it is most often used in the context of teaching, for example, immigrants in a country where English is the first language (e.g., the UK, Canada, Australia). (3) TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and encompasses both TEFL and TESL. TESOL is the preferred acronym in the USA. At ACTDEC, we use TESOL to refer to both the TEFL and TESL contexts.
  • Do I need to be a native English speaker to follow an ACTDEC-accredited course?
    Not at all! Non-native speakers are warmly welcomed by all our accredited members. However, we believe it is important that your proficiency* in English be high enough both to benefit from the course and to be able to flourish as an English teacher afterwards. We require our member providers to verify that this is indeed the case BEFORE you pay for your course. This may involve, for example, an interview, requesting proof of a recognised English level exam, an online test of English, a required piece of writing and/or other procedures a provider has developed. If, for any reason, you have begun your course and subsequently your tutor feels that your level of English is not high enough, you should be offered a full refund. * Definitions of "Proficiency". TESOL International Association, 2014 researched various organisations’ descriptions of proficiency, and we list some of these below. Providers may use their own descriptions or choose from the following: (1) "A proficiency level at which teachers can speak spontaneously in the classroom, provide rich language input to allow for language acquisition, and interact with students in the target language" (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), 2013). (2) Teachers must be able to "speak English with accuracy and fluency on a variety of topics, manage complicated social tasks, support their opinions, explain content in detail and hypothesize on topics which they are familiar". (TESOL International Association, 2008). (3) Teaching candidates are required to "understand complex, extended discussion or presentations, discuss detailed complex information and opinions, understand a range of complex texts in some unpredictable contexts and on some unfamiliar topics, and write formal and informal texts of some complexity for a range of purposes" (Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, 2013). (4) The Common European Framework describes speakers as proficient when they can "express ideas fluently and spontaneously and use language effectively for social, academic and professional purpose" (Council of Europe, 2001).
  • Which course will be best for me?
    This is not at all easy to respond to simply because it’s largely a question of personal preference based on concerns ranging from choice of course level, how this might feature in your career aims and also budgetary consideration. For more detail on the accredited levels we offer, please read through our course level descriptions.
  • How do I know which providers and courses are accredited?
    ACTDEC accreditation consists of two parts: first, we look at a provider's organisational procedures and systems to ensure that they provide their students with the best possible support; second, we look at specific courses they offer and accredit individual courses. To become an ACTDEC partner, providers will have met our standards as an organisation AND have at least one course accredited with us. Only those listed as partners on our website are genuine bona fide ACTDEC-accredited members, and only the courses specified on our website have been accredited with ACTDEC. This list is completely accurate and updated regularly. Below the list of partners, we also briefly mention the names of our applicant providers - these are organisations that are going through the rigorous process of improving their course(s) and operational procedures; as soon as they complete this process, they will join our list of accredited partners.
  • Where can I see a sample syllabus for the level of course I am interested in?
    Previously, courses were topic-based and we used to provide our applicant providers with syllabuses for each level. Now, however, in line with more recent best practice, we have developed learning domains, standards and learning outcomes for each course level. You can see a detailed course description here; and you can download each level's standards and learning outcomes here.
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