www.costaricatesol.com - ITA Costa Rica

Getting TEFL Certified in Costa Rica | Updated: 01/27/2023

FAQ about the 4-week TEFL Course in Costa Rica

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

1. How many hours will I be spending in class and on course work during the course? Will I have a lot of free time to see Costa Rica?

Class Hours:  Students should plan on being at the school for the majority of the day Monday through Friday. You will spend 5-6 hours a day in class learning grammar, discussing teaching methodology and learning activities that you will be able to use in your ESL classrooms.  You will also get time to work on lesson plans and get guidance and feedback from your trainers.

During the first week of the course, you will spend 3-4 hours observing experienced ESL teachers.  Student teaching starts during the 2nd week of the course, and is in the afternoons and evenings, depending on the day. You will teach twice a week for a total of six times throughout the course. You will receive your practicum schedule on the first day of class to learn who you are teaching, what you are teaching, and when you are teaching.  Each practical class is one hour long and will include a 20-minute feedback session with an observer after the classes are finished for the day.

Class Assignments:  In addition to class and student teaching, you will have a number of homework assignments.  These include lesson plans, reflections, essays, quizzes, written assignments, etc.  Expect to spend 3-4 hours a day studying, working on tasks and lesson planning.

Because of the intense nature of the schedule, you should plan to do most of your sightseeing either before or after the class.  That being said, we do have a tour available for you on the Sunday before Day 1 of the course, and you will get an opportunity to visit the beach during the first weekend of the course.

2. Will grammar be taught during the course? Are there additional grammar resources in the course materials?

Yes!  We teach all of the tenses and major forms during the course. This can be a bit overwhelming for students who have not studied grammar previously, so we recommend studying before the course starts. Take the online ITA Grammar Module, which you will be given access to as soon as you register for our course.  You can also pre-purchase the course textbook if you'd like to get in some studying before the course.

We recommend buying or having access to a grammar textbook like Fundamentals of English Grammar, 3rd Edition by Betty Schrampfer Azar to help you with studying and lesson planning.


3. Can I buy the textbook at International TEFL Academy?

Yes!  We have copies of the book available for purchase so you don't have to bring it in your suitcase, however, you are able to buy a hard copy or PDF version of your textbook before the course starts.

4. What kind of ESL students will I be teaching?

The ESL students that participate in our Practical Teaching classes are all locals, and they range from at-risk teens to professional adults of all English levels.  

5. Are there any specific technology requirements for the course?

  • Laptop - Students are required to bring a laptop with a long battery life (at least 4 hours).
  • Tablets, Chromebooks, and mobile devices cannot be used in place of a computer.
  • Flash Drive - Students should bring a flash drive that is compatible with his or her computer.
  • Word Processing Software - Students should have a reliable word processing system on their computer such as Microsoft Word.  Assignments can also be submitted as PDFs.
  • Google Drive - We recommend having a good understanding of Google Drive as you will want to save your assignments here and not just to your computer's desktop.  If you are unfamiliar with Google Drive, check out this quick tutorial.  Many others can be found on YouTube.

6. How can I prepare for the course? Can I begin working on my assignments prior to the course?

Arrive informed.  Read as much as you can.  Student Affairs sends lots of resources about the course and Costa Rica.  Read our articles on our website to prepare yourself mentally and to see what our grads have to say about our course and teaching ESL in Costa Rica.  

You can also prepare your resume resources.  We will spend time during the course looking at and working on your ESL resume, but talk to your references, update contact info and start putting everything together so the process is easier once you get here.

Due to the requirements of the assignments, we do not recommend that our TEFL students complete any assignments prior to the course start date.  However, we do recommend brushing up on grammar.  See question 2.

To prepare for your time in Costa Rica, brush up on your Spanish.  We encourage you to make an effort to learn some phrases before coming to Costa Rica if you've never studied it before.  Knowing some common phrases to be polite and to help you get around will make you feel more comfortable during your stay here.  Check out free apps like Duolingo or websites like Study Spanish.

How to Prepare for your TESOL Course

7.  My commute is over an hour away. Will that be okay?

Because of the intense nature of the course, we recommend staying closer to the course. Let us know if you'd like us to arrange a homestay or stay at the Student House in Barva for you.

How to Make the Best of your Homestay Experience

8.  Does ITA set-up or recommend housing?

We recommend staying at our Student House with one of our wonderful homestay families during your four weeks in Barva.  At the Student House, you will receive breakfast and be within walking distance to the school.  With the homestays, you'll be close to the school, and you'll get three meals a day plus clean laundry.  You'll be very busy during the course, so not having to worry about these things is a lifesaver!

9.  What do I need to know for the first day of class?

Arrival Time: Students should arrive at the school by 8:30am on Day 1.  We are located 50 meters north of the BCR in Barva, Heredia.

Items to Bring: Students should plan on bringing with them the following items on the first day of class:

  • Monthly Planner
  • TEFL Course Book (if you pre-purchased it)
  • Notebook
  • Laptop
  • Pen

Lunch:  If you are not with a host family or your host family does not send a lunch with you on Day 1, you will have extra time to eat at one of the many options in Barva.  We also have a refrigerator, microwaves and a toaster oven for your use at the school.

10.  Who should I contact if I have more questions?

Luke Panek, ITA Senior Admissions Advisor                                                  
Whatsapp: 011-506-8533-9731

Haven't yet signed up for your 4-week, onsite TEFL course in Costa Rica?  Contact us right away to save your spot!  

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