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Teacher Training (TEFL, TELT and SEPTT Courses) FAQs


Teacher Training Courses
Alan Marsh 2020

  • Try and book as early as you can, as courses tend to fill up quickly.
  • Do please read the Important Information given in reply to FAQ number 3 of this document.
  • There are two types of courses: TEFL Cert. Courses (including free preparation for the SEPTT exam) and TELT (Test for English Language Teachers) Exam Preparation Course: see the differences in the accompanying FAQ attachment.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Alan Marsh’s TEFL Cert. Course and TELT Exam Preparation Course

Alan Marsh English TeacherPlease note that the answers below refer specifically to courses designed and led by Alan Marsh, and are not necessarily applicable to other courses held in Malta and Gozo.

For more information about Alan, see his website www.alanmarshelt.com


1. What are the main differences between the two courses?

TEFL and TELT courses by Alan Marsh at IH MaltaThe TEFL Cert. Course introduces participants to, and gives practice in, modern teaching methods. The main content of the course focuses on methods and techniques to help language learners communicate (speak, listen, read and write) using real-life, useful language. Participants are also shown ways of teaching communicative grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation in a learner-centred, interactive classroom. They practise these techniques throughout the course. Lesson planning and other areas of TEFL are also dealt with. Some main areas of grammar and phonology terminology are also explored in Alan’s TEFL Cert. course (although these are covered more intensively in his TELT Examination preparation course).

Participants are also prepared for the SEPTT (Spoken English Proficiency Test for Teachers) Examination during this course. This examination is held once a month and it assumes familiarity with TEFL methodologies i.e. you need to have undergone a TEFL training course such as the TEFL Cert. Course. Information and a manual can be found here: https://eltcouncil.gov.mt/septt-sessions/

The TELT Examination Preparation Course is a course which prepares participants for the TELT Proficiency Examination held by the ELT Council of the Department of Education in Malta. Syllabus and Past Papers can be downloaded from https://eltcouncil.gov.mt. In Alan’s course, grammar (mainly tenses and parts of speech), phonology and other areas which appear in EFL course books are covered in some depth. Some writing skills and differences between formal and informal English are also addressed.

Please note that as of May 2019 the ELT Council has introduced the following change regarding the SEPTT exam:

Prospective teachers in possession of an international diploma at National Qualifications Framework level 7 or a higher qualification in ELT of a recognised university or institution, plus a minimum of 1,000 contact ELT hours will not have to sit for SEPTT; a regular ELT permit will be issued provided that all other requirements are met.

All other prospective teachers in possession of all ELT permit requirements as per legal notice applying for a new permit, will be granted a temporary teaching permit valid for 3 months. Holders of this temporary permit will have 3 months to achieve a pass in SEPTT to be awarded the ELT permit. The temporary permit cannot be extended and no teacher in possession of the temporary permit is allowed to teach past the permit letter validity date until a pass in SEPTT and the regular ELT permit is obtained.

Go to https://eltcouncil.gov.mt/septt-sessions/ for more information.


2. Do I need to do both courses?

No. You must do a TEFL Cert. Course accredited by the ELT Council of the Ministry for Education and Employment in order to get a permit to teach EFL in Malta. If you have a Cambridge ESOL CELTA or a Trinity Cert. TESOL (or the higher Diploma of both Cambridge and Trinity) you are exempted from doing a Maltese TEFL Cert. Course. Higher qualifications that have a strong teaching methodology component are also sometimes accepted.

If you have an A-Level pass in English (Grades A-C are pass grades) you do not have to do the TELT Exam. However, we recommend that prospective teachers who have an A-Level in English also take the course, as it covers areas of pedagogical grammar, lexis and phonology in much more depth than is normally covered on A-Level English courses (where the emphasis tends to be on literature, an area which is mainly irrelevant to English Language learners). The examination also tests your own proficiency in English. The course will prepare you more thoroughly for areas of language terminology and awareness (particularly grammar and phonology) which English language learners commonly study or already know.

You do not have to do a TELT Exam Preparation course in order to do the examination, but it is highly recommended that you do. Remember, you must pass the examination if you do not have an A-Level in English (Grades A-C).


3. What do I need to do to get a permit to teach EFL in Malta?

Current regulations state that in order to teach English Language in Malta, a teacher needs to be in possession of a Teaching Permit. This is issued by the ELT Council at the Ministry for Education and Employment, Great Siege Road, Floriana, VLT 2000 (Tel: 2598 2766; email: catherine.bugeja@gov.mt). The permit is only issued to those applicants who satisfy the following requirements (this is a simplified version of Legal Notice 221/15).

a) you should be at least 18 years of age when you apply for a permit

b) you should have a Matriculation standard of education (i.e. sufficient for entry into a university and recognised at National Qualifications Framework level 4) if you are under the age of 21

c) you should have a Pass grade or higher in the ELT Council TELT examination or a comparable qualification in English* not inferior to Grade C at Advanced level and which is recognised at level 4 or higher on the National Qualifications Framework.

The current price for the TELT examination is €35.

* An A-level in English Literature will not be accepted. An A-level in English has to have a language/linguistics component. If the certificate specifically states ‘English Literature’, then we are informed that the ELT Council will not accept it.

d) you should have a certificate in the methodology of teaching English language to speakers of other languages which is approved by the Council, such as the ELT Council TEFL Cert or any comparable qualification recognised at a minimum of level 4 on the National Qualifications Framework and which is approved by the ELT Council.

NB You are exempted from c. and d. if you possess an international certificate at National Qualifications Framework level 5 in English language teaching to speakers of other languages (such as, for example, the Cambridge ESOL CELTA, the Trinity Cert. TESOL) or a higher qualification from a recognised institution as approved by the Council. These include, for example, the Cambridge ESOL DELTA, Trinity Dip. TESOL, MA TESOL or MA ELT.

e) A SEPTT certificate at Band 3 issued by the ELT Council.

The SEPTT exam assumes that all candidates have already undertaken a TEFL methodology course e.g. our TEFL Cert. Course.

For those who enrol on Alan’s TEFL Cert. Course, the Preparing for SEPTT Course is included as a separate add-on to the TEFL Cert. Course at no extra charge. Applicants who require only the three-hour ‘Preparing for SEPTT’ session are kindly requested to call at the school hosting the course for further information regarding joining the ‘Preparing for SEPTT’ session.

SEPTT Examinations (a test of spoken classroom English where tasks will assume a familiarity with TEFL methodologies) are run once every month and are a requirement only for applicants applying for a NEW ELT Permit. The current price of the SEPTT examination is €45 and examination dates for 2020 can be found on https://eltcouncil.gov.mt/septt-sessions/

f) you should have a valid clean conduct certificate from the Commissioner of Police (issued within the month before the date of application for a Permit)

Please note that you need to apply for a permit no later than 36 months after the date on your TEFL certificate and no later than 24 months after the date on your TELT certificate.

NB You do not need to possess these requirements in order to join our TEFL Cert. Courses. Acceptance is at the discretion of the Academic Manager, who may ask to interview you in order to assess your level of spoken English. However, by the time you apply for a permit you will need to satisfy the other requirements.
For further information and to apply for a new teaching permit: https://eltcouncil.gov.mt/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/New-ELT-Permit.pdf


4. Is there any funding for Prospective ELT Teachers?

The TEFL Cert. Course fee may be eligible for funding under the Training Pays Scheme. The scheme offers assistance in the form of a training grant to aid participants with costs related to training. The grant will be awarded to the eligible individual (trainee) after the successful completion of their training. The grant will be equivalent to 75% of the direct training cost excluding VAT. More information can be found at this link: https://jobsplus.gov.mt/schemes-jobseekers/training-pays-scheme


5. I have heard that there is a high failure rate in the TELT Examination. Is this true?

The TELT Examination is designed to ensure that candidates have an appropriate knowledge of English grammar and phonology (which they will need when they teach EFL) and that their own competence in written English is sufficiently high to enable them to teach English with confidence.

If candidates do not satisfy these two main requirements, they will find it difficult to pass the TELT examination. As a rule-of-thumb guide, if your level of English is strong enough for you to be confident about passing an A-level in English (barring the literature component), it should be strong enough to enable you to pass the TELT Exam (as long as your explicit knowledge of TEFL grammar and phonology is brought up to scratch).


6. Do I need to buy any books for either course?

Your course leader will provide you with an abundant supply of handouts. However, they will also suggest books that you might like to buy – but which are not essential – to further your skills, knowledge and competence.
*see a list of book suggestions here


TEFL Teacher Training Courses (TEFL Cert. Courses)

Alan Marsh designs and leads professional TEFL Teacher Training Courses (also known as TEFL Cert. Courses). These courses are held in conjunction with various language schools in Malta and each course is accredited and approved by the ELT Council of the Ministry for Education and Employment and developed in terms of Legal Notice 60/96 and 221/15. These courses are recognised as an employment requirement (see below) by ALL language schools in Malta and Gozo, irrespective of where they are actually held. They are also recognised in many language schools around the world for employment purposes in countries where no official national TEFL qualification exists (Malta is one of a very small number of countries which has such a national qualification for employment in Language Schools). Past participants on Alan’s courses are presently working in various European countries, in South America and in Asia.

NB: Many EFL schools in Malta and Gozo use Alan’s courses as a resource for employing new teachers, both in summer and at other times of the year and on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Course fees are payable to International House Malta which runs the course in partnership with Alan.

  • The course is designed and led by Alan Marsh B.A., M.A., M.Ed. (ELT), Cambridge ESOL CELTA and DELTA. Alan has 40 years teaching and teacher training experience in various countries. He has taught and developed teachers from all over the world. He is also President of MATEFL (Malta Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) www.matefl.org. Alan is also a Course Tutor on the internationally prestigious Cambridge ESOL CELTA and DELTA courses.
  • The course is designed to provide participants with the basic teaching skills and knowledge they need in a communicative, learner-centred EFL classroom. Participants will normally have little or no experience of teaching EFL.
  • The course is highly practical. The procedures used to teach the trainees on the course are the same procedures that will be used when they teach a classroom of EFL students. This makes all workshops highly dynamic and interactive classrooms, where the trainee doesn’t only read or hear about methodology, but actually has it demonstrated on them. Teaching methodology is demonstrated via workshops/seminars, video, audio, and assignments, and there is a considerable amount of ‘get up and try it out’ on the course, where participants experiment with techniques by practising on fellow trainees.
  • You are already a fluent speaker of English. You instinctively use grammar correctly, but you perhaps don’t know why you use one form rather than another. This is what most learners want and need to know. Don’t worry - the course also develops your Language Awareness. You’ll learn the names of the tenses in English, and when they’re used, for example. You’ll also learn about many other grammatical forms (for example the articles, noun phrases and verb phrases, determiners, demonstratives, adjectives, present and past participles, infinitives and gerunds, passives, conjunctions, pronouns). We’ll also teach you the International Phonetic Alphabet as it is applied to English.
  • We’ll also show you videos of real teaching so that you’ll know what an authentic EFL classroom looks and sounds like.
  • The course also consists of two assessed Teaching Practice sessions and three Assignments, and you’ll get written and often verbal feedback on these from your trainers. You’ll also get tutorials to help you prepare these thoroughly.
  • Opportunities will also be offered for post-course observation of real classes.
  • This particular TEFL Cert. course is a prestigious course, and is highly respected in Malta (and abroad). Past trainees come back to us again and again to tell us how the methodology and knowledge they learned on the course have helped them survive and flourish in EFL classrooms, both in Malta and abroad. Employers are aware that if you successfully complete our course you are highly employable and they regularly contact us as a resource for new teachers to employ in their schools. Rest assured that we will give you all the help you may possibly require. However, as a guarantee to employers that standards are high, passing the course is not ‘automatic’. You will be entitled to a certificate that you have successfully completed the course if you:
    • Pass both Teaching Practice sessions
    • Pass all three Assignments
    • Attend at least 80% of the 45 contact hours (NB Given the essentially experiential nature of the training methodology, a medical certificate cannot exempt you from this requirement).
      Opportunities are provided for one repeat of one Teaching Practice session which is awarded a Fail Grade and for one resubmission of both Assignment 1 and Assignment 2.

Course Content: Specific categories that are normally covered include:

  • Language awareness: e.g. the parts of speech; tenses; active and passive; vocabulary systems; International Phonetic Alphabet; word and sentence stress
  • Modern teaching techniques in a communicative, learner-centred classroom
  • Teaching and practicing grammar
  • Teaching reading skills
  • Teaching listening skills
  • Teaching and practicing pronunciation
  • Lesson planning
  • Classroom management
  • Effective use of textbooks
  • Starting a New Class
  • Getting your first job
  • Teaching and practicing vocabulary
  • Teaching writing skills
  • Teaching speaking skills
  • Teaching adults
  • Time management
  • Error correction
  • Teaching teenagers
  • Troubleshooting
  • Future Professional Development
  • Warmers and Icebreakers and fun in the classroom
  • Using pop music as a language development tool

For a detailed description of the syllabus, please refer to the ELT Council Malta website.

We look forward to welcoming you on our TEFL Cert. course. You’ll find it interesting, stimulating, and at times challenging. But most of all you’ll find that it is enjoyable and memorable and that it provides you with the skills and knowledge you need to teach TEFL. See you soon!

Some Practical Information

Please note that the following will appear on the TEFL course certificate:

Attendance Percentage:
In order to obtain a course certificate, participants must attend a minimum of 80% of the face-to-face hours on the course and complete all three assignments and the assessed Teaching Practice sessions before the course ends. However, we strongly recommend that you attend ALL sessions. Given the experiential “hands on” nature of the “learning by doing” approach adopted on the course, sessions which are missed cannot be made up on this course. Missed sessions cannot be easily reconstructed from notes taken by other participants or from handouts.

Work on the assignments and teaching practice preparation will require approximately fifteen hours (in total) of research and preparation.

Please note that course fees cannot be refunded if you do not satisfy the above course requirements. If your failure to satisfy attendance requirements is due to medical reasons, you will require a medical certificate and you can repeat the whole course within the following 12 months.

Assignment Grades:

  • A (Strong)
  • B (Good)
  • C (Satisfactory)
  • Fail

Pluses and minuses may also be awarded.

Assignments should be essentially free of errors in discourse, grammar, punctuation and spelling and should display an appropriate range of vocabulary. Assignment grades will reflect both content and appropriate level of English. Although consultation and using published resources is encouraged, any plagiarised or copied assignments will be automatically failed.

Teaching Practice Grades: As per assignment grades.


Past course participants have found the following books useful:

For Assignment 1 and Language Terminology

Either «Grammar for English Language Teachers» by M. Parrot (Cambridge University Press)
Or «Practical English Usage» (New Edition) by M. Swan (Oxford University Press)
Or «Exploring English» Volumes 1, 2 and 3 by A. Marsh (Lehrerselbstverlag)

For General Background and Teaching Methodology

Either Learning Teaching by J. Scrivener (Heinemann)
Or Teach English by J. Harmer (Longman)

All the above books are normally available at Merlin Library in Mountbatten Street Blata l-Bajda and Bisazza Street, Sliema. They will also be on sale during the course.


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