Some clips of Flight of the Conchords. "Business Time" and "Jenny" are partcularly great. Two very talented and funny Kiwis!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Cactus TEFL

Check this bunch of people out! Want to waste your money on a TEFL certificate that's worthless ? One of the biggest unmentioned scams is of course ripping off teachers for either a "delicious" (their word) TEFL qualification that magically will transform you into a teacher without ever having had to teach a class or in some "super delicious cases" without ever even having had to meet your instructor.

Or would you rather chuck a ton of your hard earned money down the pan for a so called proper TEFL course which is exhorbitantly expensive especially when you'll probably end up getting paid peanuts in your new career (?).

Sound like a good investment? Not to me it doesn't.

This outfit couldn't care less what you waste your money on as long as they get their hands on their grubby little commission.

Why should this seem so strange in the rip off world of TEFL where teachers not only often get shafted in the job but if not careful will also get shafted before.

The TEFL certificate scam is one of the worst ones ever and they will get away with it as long as the cash registers keep on ringing.

The Cactus Teachers website (as they also misleadingly call themselves}, even have the cheek to say that they work in affiliation with the Education Guardian and use its logo to buy (?) themselves some credibility, apparently just because some expert (?) called Richard Bradford initially posted an article on the Guardian website offering advice to any teacher (sucker) who was daft enough not to see through his cheap marketing ploy and now you'll find that lots of seemingly impartial, informative articles are written by a very helpful person by the name of XXXXXXX* advising you on TEFL and especially where to spend (waste?) your money on courses.

Guess what she does for a living. Yup dead right, she's "Head of Cactus TEFL" and if you look at the online version of the Guardian there's a neat little Cactus TEFL search button by the side of each article she writes, to help you spend your money. Who pays who? My guess is they pay the Guardian for a hidden and totally plausible and subtle form of advertising/marketing, not that you'd notice. It looks suspiciously like a paid hidden endorsement designed to push up the sales of their advertised TEFL courses for which they get paid the commission I mentioned.

Anyone who knows how the Google rankings operate will also realise that this is why they rank so highly for such search terms as TEFL and TEFL COURSES etc. etc. It's a clever way of manipulating the Google search engine results. Try it yourself, just do a Google search for TEFL and see how near to the online Education Guardian's position they rank. One naturally imagines that they rank highly because they are important. No no no my dear, perish the thought! They rank highly NOT because they are important BUT because they have in effect paid for a link, a practice Google naturally frowns upon and if notified blacklists sites for, yes you've got it.....trying to artificially manipulate the search engine rankings. Phew.... I feel a denunciation to Google coming on and must wipe my brow in shock horror.

Inspector McHammered of the Lard considers this to be underhand and devious and as a consequence they've been blacklisted for being sneaky. Shame on The Guardian also for betraying the trust that innocent teachers place in the objectivity of their articles and indulging in a little link selling on the side.

Check it out. You'll find I'm right and it could well be argued that Cactus TEFL are master con artists. And the teachers? Well Cactus TEFL considers them just like turkeys taking advice on where to spend Christmas.

Prime candidates for the first shyster award of 2007. Cactus TEFL.


I noticed on the web the following information which amazingly wasn't available on the Cactus TEFL Website, but I spotted it by chance on doing a search for the lady in question. The Inspector offers his deepest condolences and has felt it appropriate to remove all mention of her from the TEFL Blacklist.

"It is with deep sorrow that Cactus announces the tragic death of XXXXXXX, who passed away in hospital on Tuesday 22nd May following a road traffic accident in Cordoba, Spain. "

By the way who is this young lady whose picture is still on your website in an advertising context? Richard Bradford, I know you're a total plonker but please do answer. This is genuinely one of the rare situations where the Inspector would like to be demonstrated to be wrong. Please do tell the readers that this is not the person mentioned above and that any similarity is purely coincidental.

Inspector McHammered of the Lard


Anonymous said...

About time that this outfit was exposed. They are just middlemen taking a cut and pretending to be a kind of advice centre or a sort of Thomas Cook for Teflers.

They are just rip off merchants no better than pimps .

BTW why has Sandy retired?

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

Sandy has lately taken a keen interest in skiing. I also believe he may have a trip to Japan planned for the future. He is (as readers of his personal main blog will be aware) very knowledgeable concerning fermented yaks milk. This can (like some Japanese language schools) leave a nasty taste in the mouth.
I've no doubt we'll hear from him before long. His spirit (G and T or Vodka and Tonic) will live on through this site.

Anonymous said...

Sandy is still alive - and enjoying it, apparently! However, his/my preferred spirit is 100g of vodka (straight), preferrably helped down with large helpings of gherkins and rye bread; or a Jamesons Irish on the ROcks.

But beer is best, in my humble working-class opinion - especially large bottles of Old Speckled Hen! Forget about the Yak's milk, though, will you - it's making me feel a little ill already...

Anonymous said...

I almost worked for this outfit. I say "almost" because they offered me a job, then refused to tell me where it was and then began to refuse my repeated attempts to contact them.

Shelley said...

This is really confusing. I will be applying for a CELTA course at International House in Durban through Cactus. Does this mean that you think the course is worthless? Would I likely pay less going direct to International House? Given your posts on International House, should I drop this idea altogether? Please advise!

Anonymous said...

Hi there.

I have worked as a trainer on the Cactus TEFL course run in conjunction with my school. My colleauge, who has an MA in TESOL, experience teaching CELTA courses for a British-Council accredited school, wrote most of the TT course that we run. (I and some of my colleagues wrote the rest.) I have a DELTA and 3 years post-DELTA experience.

If you want or need a CELTA, you should defnitely spend your money on that. However to say that these courses are crap is really unfair. If my experience is any indication, each Cactus TT course is different so it depends on who you do the course in conjunction with.

Myself and everyone who has worked on this course with me is very serious about ELT, and very committed to our students- including the teacher trainees. While our students don't get anywhere near as much teaching practice as they do on a CELTA, ALL trainees get at least 3 sessions teaching in front of a class.

I would say our course is a good one for those with no teaching experience who might be planning to study abroad in a country where you don't need a CELTA. Again, it is not at all a substitute for a CELTA - but to call it a worthless course is simply unfair.

Just like Sandy's Blog, it seems to me you like the sensationalism of coming up with a juicy article for your readers but have failed to do the necessary research. There is a grain of truth but a good reporter follows up on the rumours and finds out what the truth is for the benefit of their readers.

I should add that I am no fan of Cactus, and I personally know what it's like to spend a lot of money on a TEFL cert that, because it is unrecognized, was ultimately not as valuable as the CELTA I later acquired.

However I did learn a lot on the course, just as I believe our trainees do.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

I have worked as a trainer on the Cactus TEFL course run in conjunction with my school.
Who pray might your school be?
To make the accusation of a failure to do the necessary research is a little rich when you bleat about what a wonderful course you gave but fail to mention one essential ingredient .... the name of the school!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I found this site because I'm looking for a TEFL course and having come across Cactus TEFL I thought I'd better check out some reviews. I'm glad I found this site because I don't want to get scammed out of £1000+ but I'm a little confused as the courses I'm looking at on their website are CELTA. Is this false advertising or are you blacklisting only their own non-Cambridge-certified courses?

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

The Cactus TEFL blacklisting is because they are middle men and take a cut from every course they sell (probably about 20%) but pretend otherwise. Their advice is NOT impartial, contrary to what they say. Their priority is to sell you something, anything, as long as they get their cut.
Their advertising is very clever. A paid (disguised) article in the Guardian followed by a recommendation to contact Cactus.
My advice is to avoid them completely. £1000 is a lot of money to spend, especially when EFL teachers are generally very badly paid.
Depending on your destination, spend as little as possible to get the job. If a weekend course wil get you a job in China, then do that, although it will be a waste of money. There are plenty of jobs out there and the only way to really learn to be a good teacher is by actually teaching.