The top 5 2021 TEFL trends to watch out for

There’s no doubt about it – 2020 has been a strange one! Here, we’ll take a look at what we think might happen in the coming 365 days. This list of the top five 2021 TEFL trends dips its toe into the booming world of online TEFL teaching, digital nomadism, and TEFL tech. Enjoy…

2021 TEFL trends

Tech, tech, and more tech

The time of the hi-tech TEFL class is upon us. 2020, pandemic or not, was always set to be the golden age of online teaching. COVID only sped things along by a few years, so it’s hardly a surprise that there’s now a huge push within the private sector to innovate and explore all new sorts of ways to teach via the web. We’re seeing augmented reality, an extra use of audio and visual cues, platforms that allow for interactive learning, and even VR starting to be talked about in the TEFL world. Exciting stuff!

More conversational learning online

As more and more people look to the internet to start their English learning journey, there’s bound to be a bigger push for online conversational-style classes. It’s already a pretty big thing for offline teaching. Shorter lessons, lower prices, and less of a focus on getting technical grammar and vocabulary are all hallmarks. The overarching aim is to improve how students actually speak English in day-to-day situations, not to nail their past participles or tenses. We’d expect these sessions to be cheaper and act as a good supplement to more rigid, curriculum learning.

2021 TEFL trends

Collaborative teaching

We’ve already said just how much we expect the tech used for online teaching to improve in 2021. One part of that is sure to be advancements in the connectivity between teachers and their students. That’s where a collaborative approach to English lessons could come in. As video and audio tools like Zoom get to the next level, might we see the possibility for more fluid group classes online? Might we see the potential for sessions with multiple teachers present? It could be the perfect way to channel the power of peer-to-peer learning in the online teaching sphere, which, up until now, has been largely based on one-on-one tutoring.


Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling (or just TPRS for short) isn’t a new concept. It’s actually been around for more than 40 years. However, with the advent of the online teaching boom, it’s once again riding high. That’s particularly true in China, where heads of schools tend to be very interested in adopting teaching methods that ditch the classic textbook in favor of something more immersive and creative. TPRS does just that. It essentially means using narratives to teach language, instead of repeat exercises and drills.

2021 TEFL trends

Digital nomad teaching

TEFL was always an option for those who wanted to live the life of a digital nomad (someone who travels the globe while working). However, we think 2021 might be the time when it becomes a major option for those looking to pack the bags and get exploring. The reason? COVID has brought real uncertainty to what borders are open and when. People can’t be certain about planning trips in advance, so they’re looking for something that will let them move spontaneously and freely. On top of that, there are more online TEFL jobs paying good wages than ever before, with thousands of new opportunities popping up every month.

Can you think of any more 2021 TEFL trends to watch out for? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Alternatively, if you think it’s time you got qualified for next year, check out our TEFL courses page!

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