SCHOOLS AND RECRUITERS REVIEWS
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#1 Parent N - 2017-09-06
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

In response to these online attacks: personally, it’s hard for me to empathize with the mind-set of someone who attacks an NGO that has helped over 200,000 children.

Sorry everybody but you are not allowed to criticize anyone who gives to charity or helps people in need. No matter who they are!

If you work at a charity you better not complain to your boss for working "100 hours a week" you ungrateful fiend. Stop thinking about yourselves! These poor children in this first world country need your help. Won't someone think of the children

#2 Parent Principal Skinner - 2017-09-06
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE
#3 Parent N - 2017-09-06
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

TL;DR Meaningless rhetoric featuring sound bites from every "inspiring" essay he has ever written sprinkled with a dash of spelling mistakes.

#4 Parent Frank Carle - 2017-09-01
The English Teacher Training College of Austria

Dear all,

I don't know for certain, but judging by his response, I guess that is former student Ben B-wen. The organization was smaller back in the old days, so I remember most of the students personally from that time, particularly ones who became great teachers like Ben B-wen.

Ben was a great student and an even better teacher, you can read a bit more about him here from a story written by one of the school's he visited in Austria: http://www.chs.stsnet.at/englisch.htm

So anyways, yea, we've had nearly 300 student teachers in the last few years and some of them have been named Ben, which just happens to be the same first name as one of the co-founders.

Considering Ben is the 10th most popular name in the English-speaking world, it had to happen eventually.

Best,

Frank Carle

#5 Parent Frank Carle - 2017-09-01
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Dear all,

When Ben Stone and I founded ABCi almost 6 years ago, our original goal was to work with 60 schools by 2022. To say we underestimated the huge demand for quality project-teaching would be an understatement. The first few projects quickly led to fast growth (official recognition by Austrian Ministry of Education: https://www.bmb.gv.at/schulen/pwi/pa/abci.html) and new positions (From 4 staff members in 2013 to 20 members of staff 18 months ago and this winter we’ll have over 50) that have made those initial projections look ridiculous. We are not MBAs or businessmen, we’re just a couple of regular teachers who wanted to help change things for the better. So hopefully we can be forgiven somewhat for concentrating on the quality of teaching and teacher training first and focusing on the administrative aspects second. Like any good teacher, we’re still learning and we appreciate your feedback as well as your patience.

Just on this past program alone (April to July 2017), the College gave away free outreach English projects to 25,489 children. Of that number approximately 2,800 were refugee children and another 5,900 came from families living at or below the poverty line. Were it not for ABCi’s visit, these children would have never have had this incredible linguistic, social and cultural opportunity that can serve as the impetus that guides them towards a better future. The college has recently worked with outside experts to create a theory of change model for children in the German-speaking world. I think it is important for us all to stop sometimes and remember that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves.

The college recently commissioned an academic study by award-winning TEFL researcher and author Jason Anderson to inspect, research and summarize the efforts of the College's outreach projects in the wider EFL field: "Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), Task-based Learning (TBL) and Total Physical Response (TPR) within a communicative language teaching (CLT) framework.” You can read more about it here: https://www.english-teacher-college.at/about/academic-research/

So thanks to the great efforts of staff and Student Teachers, we have popularized a very effective style of English-language instruction at a scale and speed across an entire country that we never thought possible before. But there’s a downside to doing something so well that you grow so fast, and that’s the growing pains that we’ve experienced over the last year. When you grow fast, one of the things that is hard to get right is people. Like I said, we’re teachers, not MBAs – just like the kids we teach, we are learning by doing here.

One of the things that always made the College a great place to work was that we only hired good people, the sort of people who do with all their heart what they know in their head is right. I know that probably sounds simplistic, so let me explain. When I say good, I mean empathetic and competent. That’s really all you need, we can teach you everything else. Empathetic because those kinds of people identify with the mission of the organization to help children and see that if they don’t do their job, it hurts everyone else and one of their colleagues has to step in and do it for them. Competent because once you realize what needs to be done to help, you need to be able to do it: e.g. you need competence in English to teach it or knowledge of HTML to design a website. Competence without empathy ends in empty selfishness, empathy without competence ends in frustrated inefficiency.

So if we’re such a great place with such a wonderful approach to language teaching and such awesome people, then why the negative reviews of the organization and its staff that have appeared online recently? The truth is that we grew so fast over the last year, our hiring strategy could not keep up and we necessarily hired some staff who turned out to not fully meet our expectations as outlined above. That’s one of the reasons why we are slowing down to consolidate our growth now. At the end of the day, I am the boss and I shouldn’t have let that happen. But I did. Mea Culpa. So the good news is that we all learned a lot about people and recruiting from that experience and we can be sure to avoid putting ourselves in that position again. In response to these online attacks: personally, it’s hard for me to empathize with the mind-set of someone who attacks an NGO that has helped over 200,000 children, is one of the only institutions trusted by both Trinity College London and Cambridge University to run their world-leading TEFL courses and is an official partner with the Austrian Education Ministry. In any event, those people who did not fit the ethos of the organisation are no longer employed here.

So where does that leave us moving forward? Well, if you are one of those empathetic and competent people I wrote about above and are thinking about joining us in Austria, all I can say is that Ben Stone and I have worked up to 100 hours a week for the last 6 years to help create the kind of place where we, as teachers, would want to come to work every day: a place where the focus is on teaching and teacher training and not on taking shortcuts to turn a big profit. And despite some growing pains, we’ve done it. So let’s focus on some of the positive things happening right now. In my former role working at a state teacher training college, I’ve seen thousands of teachers and right now we have just hired or promoted 6 out of 7 of the best teachers I have ever seen in my life on staff into leadership positions. As an educator, these are great people, these are the kinds of people that you want to work for and learn from.

There have been some additional exciting changes and additions to the College over the past month. As we grow and decentralize, these changes are all a sign of our healthy growth from a start-up NPO to a larger NGO.

The governing organ of the college has been restructured and the manner in which it operates made more robust and transparent as per the advice of our external advisers at Leitner and Leitner (https://www.leitnerleitner.com/austria/en/about-us) and IGO (http://en.gemeinnuetzig.at/igo-interest-group-of-public-benefit-organizations). At a board of directors meeting on July 25th, 2017, the statutes were amended to add six extremely competent directors to bring professional operational oversight to each department at the college. It was in large part due to the advice and insight from these directors that the college has begun a plan to consolidate and optimize that will have a great knock-on effect in the coming weeks, months and years for student teachers, staff and Austrian pupils alike. It is time to slow down and really concentrate on quality control. It is time to train and retain these turly great people that we have on staff at the moment. It is time to eliminate, once and for, the commerical presence of multi-national corporations from Austrian state schools, where they have NO BUSINES BEING WHATSOEVER.

More information, along with our latest financial statement, will be made available shortly on our updated college website’s ”impressum” page: https://www.english-teacher-college.at/about/impressum/

With new dorms, new partners and a redesigned (and less-intense) course, the experience that we now offer for student teachers has never been better – the TEFL program that will run in 2017-2018 will be superior to previous courses in almost every way imaginable: Every year, the college recruits 130 program participants from a pool of over 2,000 applicants.

I wanted to finish this message by again publicly thanking existing staff for their hard work over the last few months. Working at a start-up NPO in Europe is not easy. That's why 95% of them go bankrupt in the first 3 years. It requires passion. It requires dedication. It requires good people who believe in what they're doing and in each other. When we're stuck in traffic or stuck going through 100 emails in our inbox, sometimes it's easy to forget how much of a difference we are all making in the lives of children and young people every day.

Clearly it was not our plan to go through the last few months with an understaffed college and in retrospect, we probably grew a bit too much and a bit too fast. But we did it. Or more exactly, you all did it. And I won't pretend that you did that for me, Ben Stone or even for the mission of the organization, I am sure that first and foremost, in most cases you did it for each other. For doing so and doing it well, you are to be commended.

It is easy to make the right choices and to be a good person when times are easy, but by your choices over the past few months, you showed yourself and those around you that you are a good person when it matters and that you care about others around you when things get tough.

Your dedication is inspiring - I am proud to have the opportunity to work with you.

You have all earned a much-deserved rest and right now it is time for all of us to relax a bit and restore a bit of work / life balance for ourselves and those around us. No more phone calls, emails or working outside of normal hours. We don’t have to anymore. We did it. The sprinit has become the marathon. Pace yourselves accordingly.

Whatever else has happened, we're still on track to give every child in Austria a free outreach project by 2020, so let's keep working together until every child in Austria has had a free English project.

That will be something we can all be proud of for the rest of our lives.

Let’s all make a promise to relax and take it a bit easier on ourselves and each other in the future. It is time to slow down.

It is time for a fresh start.

Best,

--
Frank Carle BA BSc MPhil (OXON)
President
The English Teacher Training College and Bilingual Classroom Initiative (ABCi)
Vorchdorf Campus
Bahnhofstraße 13
4655 Vorchdorf
Österreich

#6 Parent Taffy - 2017-07-31
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Hi Ben, it says your name is Ben Stone.
In which case why are you posting a fake review and talking about yourself in the 3rd person?

Now listen here, Viv- hahahaha! Jokes aside, Viv dear, we don't, and we won't know that he has posted a fake review, unless you tell us why you think that the blighter has done so! Now, am I right or am I right, Viv?

You started off too friendly with a 'Hi Ben-hail-fellow-well, met, greeting! You should have started with a 'Now listen here, Ben!'-And then proceed with 'you total shit...fake reviewer, etceteras!' Nothing personal mind, I just used to teach writing in China, haha!

Off to Exeter now, speak in a few weeks. PS. I think he just accidentally sent a post to himself instead of the other poster.

#7 Parent Viv - 2017-07-30
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Hi Ben, it says your name is Ben Stone.
In which case why are you posting a fake review and talking about yourself in the 3rd person?

#8 Parent expat hubby - 2017-07-28
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Was the experience grueling and extremely hard work? Yes, but you tell me where in the world teaching isn't this and doesnt require long hours.

I'll tell you - PRC, public college/university EFL jobs teaching oral English. The proverbial walk in the park!

#9 Parent Ben B - 2017-07-28
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

To whom it may concern, my name is Ben and I was a trainee with ABCi (The English Teacher Training College of Austria as it is now known) in 2015.

I will firstly give my honest and open impression of my time with the organisation. When searching for a suitable ESL/EFL company to give me the suitable and amount of experience I wanted, there weren't many offering the wealth of hours ABCi was. Therefore I opted to apply and spent 3 months with the organisation. I was immersed in the Austrian schooling system meeting hundreds of pupils who all benifitted from the program ABCi was providing. And I guess this brings me onto my point in writing this; the petty and somewhat below the belt comments I read below are sad to read. Not because it attacks ABCi, not because it attacks the employees and founders of the organisation, but the fact it is so detracted and removed from the point of what should really be discussed, the impact ABCi has on it's pupils. And it is brilliant. Working with and watching pupils expand their language and enjoy doing it, something as teachers we should all thrive for!

Was the experience grueling and extremely hard work? Yes, but you tell me where in the world teaching isn't this and doesnt require long hours. Was there long journeys starting at the crack of dawn? Yes, but if you were aware of the educational system you were entering in, you'd know the days started early, and as the organisation strives to reach every child, of course the journeys will be long to engage with pupils in the outreaches of Austria who may not encounter a native speaker usually. Was the accomidation unluxurious and lightly said 'basic'? Yes, but this is a non-profit organsiation, and at the end of the day as a trainee, you would've been someone who upon applying would have seen the breakdown of accommodation and pictoral examples, none of which were ever misrepresentative from the truth.

There are many a comment in this stream of opinions of the founders of ABCi, I have worked under many educational heads and directors, and never would they appear 'chummy', Ben and Frank was always professional and appropriate to their position and yes they may have not been as intergated into day to day proceedings as other memebers of staff, but I ask those who put this in a negative light to find a leadership member in any educational organisation or school who isn't withdrawn with the large amount of other tasks they must undertake. in regards to the use of surnames, as pointed out be a fellow post-trainee, this coincided with the Austrian schooling culture.

I found that ABCi helped me considerably in my paedalogical development and what I learnt there in their focus on active learning has continued with me into my other forms of my practice.

I am sorry to those other trainees who had a bad experience, those who's expectations were not met. Yet despite this I would consider why not make the choice to leave these negative experiences that you may have had, instead of maintaining focus on them in ongoing comments here. I know if it were myself I would take the opportunity to just move on and take what I could from the experience and leave the rest behind. That said it saddens me to see those involved in any form education would stoop to personal and vindictive remarks, the EFL/ESL and the education system on a global scale is better than that.

Having worked in numerous countries and in varying educational environments, I cannot think of one where the work hasn't been long and arduous and where there have always been upsets here and there. What I can say though from an objective view of just a teacher, focusing on what should be discussed in such a thread? I'd say that ABCi does a great job, it progresses and develops its pupils in the short time it has with them and inspires english speaking in a fun nature. It pushes it's trainees and staff, works them hard, but the reward seen in the pupils' faces and success of the organistion show how this is a positive thing. If you are looking for a true immersive experience of teaching in a foreign country, to ingite your paedalogial practice, or develop it in a new vein, then I would recommend them highly.

Ben

#10 Parent Casey - 2017-07-21
Re My experience with ABCi

Good questions. Not sure who this is, but I didn't know about this thread until a few days ago when I was asked to write an honest review so I did. Please feel free to message me again on FB so I can tell you that it's really me.

*Alice was my course tutor. She taught me a lot about teaching and was amazing.
*Emily was my best friend on the course. Still in love with her. Shout out to Emily!
*I dont know why I keep calling myself trainee. It goes back and forth.
*I refer to my work as volunteer because I wasn't paid for it.
*I don't know why I called him Mr. Kirk. Probably because I was drilled to...
*I follow a few Instagram accounts and saw that they bought tons of new vans, prepare hot meals now, etc. If you were on my course, you can imagine the jealously of seeing the improvements. We definitely got the worse end of the stick. But if they did do all of this because of our complaints, and are really trying to make the organization better, why is this necessarily a bad thing? Maybe it's bad for us, but there were a lot of things ABCi needed to work on and from what I see on social media, they're taking steps in the right direction. Feel free to correct me if I don't know what I'm talking about.
*I talk highly of Kay because she was fun and nice to us. I absolutely loved the week learning Norwegian and looked forward to the input sessions during this time.

Again, message me on FB if you don't believe me. Waiting for your message!

Best,
Casey

#11 Parent Question Master - 2017-07-21
Re My experience with ABCi

Hey "Casey",

Quick question to test if you are actually real and not Frank and Ben pretending to be someone. I asked you on facebook and you said you were unaware of this post...

Who was the tutor you were close with?
Who was your best friend on the course?
Why are you refering to yourself as a "trainee" and not a student teacher?
Why are you refering to your work as volunteering?
Why do you refer to Dan as Mr. Kirk (you have never done this and he insisted not to do this) yet refer to Frank as "Frank Carle"?
How do you know of these recent developments at ABCi yet not having contact with them since finishing your course?
Why do you talk so highly of Franks wife despite only meeting her for a week for one hour a day?

Something smells slightly fishy with these "real" reviews posting for the "first" time.

#12 Parent Question Master - 2017-07-20
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Hi Mr HR,

What happens to staff pensions when they leave?

Could you produce these annual reports with the exact figures here rather than say they are publically available?

How many court cases against your company is the HR department dealing with at this moment in time?

#13 Parent Taffy - 2017-07-19
Re My experience with ABCi

I'm not sure if it is Calvinism that sustains the ridiculous administrative structure where interns in Teaching hospitals provide medical services while working in sleepless stupor for days on end.

While ESL teachers don't wield scalpels, exhaustion is not a genuine educational tactic.

Some time ago we had a Calvinistic Scottish defrocked pastor on this forum. He used to swear that a beer-induced stupor used to get him through many a lesson. His students used to love him-.He used to quote the Scottish proverb......let me recalll..ah yes "You speak of my drinking but you don't know my thirst."

#14 Parent Claud you are a nonce - 2017-07-19
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Why dont staff get paid on time?

#15 Parent FTinPRC - 2017-07-19
Re My experience with ABCi

I'm not sure if it is Calvinism that sustains the ridiculous administrative structure where interns in Teaching hospitals provide medical services while working in sleepless stupor for days on end.

While ESL teachers don't wield scalpels, exhaustion is not a genuine educational tactic.

#16 Parent Casey - 2017-07-18
My experience with ABCi

So I haven't written a review of ABCi or made any comment on the organization publicly before. My name is Casey and I was a student trainee at ABCi from August-Dec 2016. I will just talk about my experience personally with both pros and cons of the program.

Cons:

*Life in Vorchdorf was really hard for me. Living in cramped accommodation with little privacy felt like it was sometimes too much. I literally got ready in the morning with a pocket mirror because there were lines for the bathroom and no mirrors. I think the new cohorts live in even more cramped spaces because it seems there are more trainees than ever before. I'm not really sure how it is at the moment, but I think ABCi has made some changes to the housing. After we left they included microwaves, silverware, kettles, etc. to the dormitories in Pressbaum which is nice. I enjoyed living in Pressbaum despite the kitchen and cleanliness issues. My group worked really hard to clean everything for the other group but they didn't show us the same respect when we came to the dormitories. Still enjoyed the student teachers though!

*Working hours. You wake up at 5 something almost every morning and are expected to work a full school day and then go back to the campus for the input sessions. It was absolutely exhausting. Often everyone was in a bad mood because we were tired and didn't have a lot of time to rest or eat in between. I felt bad for taking sick days only because I knew it would come at a huge cost to my team. Sometimes I had no choice, but my fellow student teachers saved me and covered for me.

*Long driving hours. Get ready to spend hours each week in the car. I think ABCi also got new vans, which is nice because the cars were a little cramped when I was there.

*Some of the interns were terrible and quite frankly, bad teachers. I think I complained about them more than any other student teacher.

*I don't really like the power distance that I experienced in ABCi. In the classrooms, everyone was called by their first names. On campus, we had to call each other by last names. This is the Austrian way, so I can understand why ABCi wanted to do this... but it made me feel very uncomfortable.

*** NOTE: I think a lot of thinks have changed since my time with ABCi: vans, warm meals, scholarships, new spaces for input sessions/events, etc.

Pros:

*I taught over 350 hours and received loads of instruction and help from my tutors. When I applied to jobs after the program, I was hired right away and I am the only person at one of my companies that has only a certTESOL. Everyone else has a CELTA or higher, but they were impressed with the amount of training I had. I was very lucky with my course tutor, and she taught me so much about teaching. For me, this was the most beneficial part of the program. I feel bad for the student teachers who didn't have the same relationship or feeling towards their course tutors... I think I got lucky. I now work for 3 different language schools in the Frankfurt area and continue to pass my observations with flying colors. My training in ABCi was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my ENTIRE LIFE, but I really don't regret doing it because now I make money and life is good.

*I'm not sure if Mr. Kirk still works there but he was an amazing addition to the ABCi team, and really motivated us in our last month in the program.

*I loved my students and my time with them. Of course there were some behavior management issues from time to time, but with some groups I couldn't wait to wake up and go to school. I think about them almost everyday and some of them changed my life and motivated me to be a better teacher. You learn how to work with different learning styles, different ages, different personalities, cultural backgrounds, etc.

*I really didn't have to spend a lot of money on food. They generally gave us a decent amount and more than I expected. I think they provide warm dinners now which seems pretty cool.

I personally cannot comment on Frank Carle because I never saw or talked to him in my life. From what I heard about a comment he made to one of my fellow trainees, he didn't really care for talking to us much. He didn't make an effort to see us or welcome us to the organization. He stayed in his office. His wife, Kay, is lovely though and we got to spend a good deal of time with her.

I also personally do not have anything negative to say about Ben Stone. He is a fantastic teacher, and he really has a true passion for teaching. From the few moments we spent with him, he was very nice to us. I got to observe him teach and this was very helpful for me. After talking to him about potential work in Germany, he also got me in touch wiht a few schools and wrote me a recommendation.

All in all, this course is not for the weak. It challenged every fiber of my being. Mentally, emotionally, physically, you name it. I complained a lot and questioned parts of the course. What got me through it was my tutor, and especially the group I was with. We were like a family, and we supported each other despite the difficult circumstances. I made a best friend, and a few other close friends and got along pretty well with everyone. I also can work at almost any language school in non-native speaking countries in the world if I want, which is the whole point of the program. If you honestly just follow the instructions, do the assignments on time, and be a little optimistic, you will make it through the course with the certificate and recommendations. I really don't think any other program in Austria offers this much intensive training, as my employers had never heard of such a program before. If you want to impress employers, and you want a really tough challenge with tons of volunteer experience, go for it! Just don't be surprised when it's actually hard!

#17 Parent HR - 2017-07-12
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

To whom it may concern,

No one by the name of "Richard Harvey" has been interviewed for a staff position at the college in the last 5 years.

Fulltime senior teacher positions start at 1784 EUR (14 times a year), course tutor positions top off at 2741 EUR (14 times a year) and both include a full package of health, social and pension benefits.

Frank Carle and Ben Stone are co-founders of the college, but they are not "owners" of the college. The college is structured as a NPO in Austrian law and run by a board of directors that reports quarterly to a newly formed advisory board. Both sit on this board of directors with 4 other people and currently draw no salary from the organization.

The college's annual financial statement, including staffing expenditures, is calculated and published annually by external financial auditors at the firm of Leitner and Leitner in Linz, Austria.

All this information is publically available.

-Human Resources
The English Teacher Training College and Bilingual Classroom Initiative (ABCi)

#18 Parent Richard Harvey - 2017-07-12
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Review.

I encountered this outfit a few years back, the name led me to think its a "College which requires professionals to actually train teachers".

Owners of this outfit, come on, let's have some honesty here.

When I interviewed with you, the offered pay was on the same level to what a cleaner or shop assistant gets in Austria. It did not even cover rent for a decent home let alone utility bills and food.

In return you wanted a professional that would carry your organization into profit, but where does that profit really go? Into who's pockets?

Your defensive comments were touching but sadly far from reality. Teachers do not spend their pay traveling to and from Europe to teach, even to suggest you have seen teachers doing that before, comes over as surreal. When they teach in Europe they simply live in Europe, though that would be very difficult on the pay your outfit wanted me to accept. Of course I turned down the offer. This reflects squarely on your other claims and devalues anything that you claim.

Listen to the feedback, use that feedback and be realistic.

#19 Parent Ben Stone - 2017-07-11
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Dear all,

Yes, this is the other "boss" mentioned in this thread. It is truly astonishing what people will write online. To be honest with you, I think this may be the only online review thread that I have written on. I am motivated to reply here as it is clear through this thread that:

1) People will act very differently to one's face than they will speaking about them online.

2) To make sure that good people, honest people, passionate people won't be turned off making a great decision to join us as student teachers or staff.

I don't think it is necessary to mention specific names again here, if you are on this site then I am sure you have spent some time reading through the list of comments below.

There are so many ridiculous comments and accusations here that it is hard to work out where to start so perhaps it is best to tell you a story. I met Frank in 2008 during English summer camps in Germany. Between summer 2008 and summer 2009 I learnt some German and worked at a Business English school. In the summer of 2009, the idea to found something together was born. It was born from seeing too many organisations doing too little to really prepare and support young teachers in the classroom. From seeing too many organisations exploit the "native speaker" name to justify a high cost for learners. From seeing too many native speakers spend all their pay travelling to and from Europe and on weekend accommodation or settling with a pay-by-the-hour contract because there was nothing else available. In 2011, Frank and I finally took the leap to begin our organisation in Austria. We made the decision to do something about the situation, rather than just complaining about it. Right from the beginning we wanted to create something different, we wanted to create something that really was Austrian and really focused on the area of schooling that needed it the most, compulsory education in Austria. We wanted an organisation which really focused on teacher training and not one that just saw teacher training as a line item under costs. After ignoring advice from our original business advisers who told us that it was too hard to found a NPO in Austria and too difficult to "get money out of it" we founded ABCi. I never knew that the following 5 years would be the hardest (and most rewarding) time of my life. Our original business adviser was right, it was hard and it is hard to "get money out of it"! We started with the two of us and grew quickly because what we were doing was quality and the way we were structured wasn't making anyone rich. We have continued to adapt what we are doing to make sure we fulfil national requirements for an NPO. The 3rd sector in Austria is a bit old-fashioned, it isn't like Australia or the UK or the US, but it is exactly these types of organisations (NPOs) which should be in compulsory education and not commercial groups. As we have learnt more, we have adapted, we got advice from the right people and also sometimes from the wrong people. We hired people, sometimes not the right ones but often perfect ones and we lived and learnt and grew. We kept the good ones, got rid of the bad ones but lost some good ones too. It is expensive to be an employer in Austria, a lot of money goes to the state health provider and to taxes. But all of this comes with the territory when you begin something, when you expand something, when you do things for the first time.

It has been through the quality of what we are doing and through the way we are structured as an NPO that so many doors have been opened to us. I have now met with so many district school inspectors and state school inspectors and I have been so pleased to tell them about our organisation and to hear their positive support of the work we are doing here. It is with great satisfaction that I can now see our organisation on the Ministry of Education's website as an official partner, reflecting the support I received in person. It is also with great satisfaction that I have been working with Leitner and Leitner to ensure we continue to do things correctly here in Austria as an NPO. I wonder how many other organisation have these partners….. Of course, an easier way to have done what we did would have been to follow the other organisations that have been listed here, I certainly would have made more money and worked less! But they have a very short life-span, they don't do the good that we do, they don't give the training that we do, they don't do what we do.

So to those who have left negative comments below, I'm sorry that you didn't get what you wanted from your experience with us but don't write lies about someone who has worked so hard to provide this opportunity to so many. Don't thank me for giving you this amazing experience and offer your support to me in person and then turn around and say that there is some secret organisation backing this in the States or that my stroke never happened. Believe me there are days when I wished we would have had some company in the States backing what we did (I would've been paid much more and not needed to work all the hours I did) and I certainly wish my brain functioned like it did before Feb this year. My wife and one and a half year old daughter feel the same way.

Our team will, of course, work through all comments online to decipher what is really feedback we can react to, it is how we continue to improve.

Anyway, if your reading this, just remember that there are makers and breakers in this world. It is hard to make something, it is hard to commit to something, it is hard to found an NPO in the 3rd sector in Austria without any initial start-up capital, but we did it. The future looks even better too because there are more makers than breakers with us and more on their way! It is hard to become a good teacher, it isn't something you can do online or in a lecture room. It is something that you do by doing it, by experiencing many different groups of learners in many different places. Add to this observing other teachers, being observed, reflecting on what you observe and on what you do yourself and you can relatively quickly learn a lot. Six months isn't really very long in the scheme of things..........I wish I had been given the chance to meet so many teachers and teach so many different learners earlier on in my career. If you are interested in this experience, don't believe me nor the other comments left here. Apply for the course, do the first interview, learn about the course yourself, compare it to others and make your own decision. The course isn't for everyone because not everyone should be a teacher.

So to all the ex-staff and ex-students that made (and make) this organisation great, thank you, we could not have done it without you. To all those ex-staff and ex-students who tried to break us (and by the looks of things are still trying), just move on, we have. Focus on the good, not the bad...life is too short. There is so much wrong with the ESL industry, go pick fights with the guys really making money..........they're not teachers and they are all over the place.....we're making great teachers and providing so much for so little along the way. Our heart is in the right place, is yours?

I have received so much great feedback from Austrian teachers, from colleagues but most importantly from Austrian pupils and from our student teachers. I know that they have learnt so much from me and through their experience with our organisation and I know that there are so many more people out there who are better thanks to the experience they have had through our organisation. I will concentrate on those people and on the great people who are at our organisation.

Now, can we get back to teaching??

Thanks,
Ben Stone

#20 Parent Kim Mares - 2017-07-09
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Well well well, this whole thread doesn't not surprise me one bit. For starters, from what I understand is that the last class was unable to take the test at the school, does this also mean that you didn't have a meeting with the moderator from Cambridge? This makes total sense. There was NO mix up if this is true. We met with the moderator 12-2016 and told him how horrible things were there and he said if they didn't change they would be shut down. Chicken-shits! Our group had the same horrible experiences you all had, in fact, [edited] was in my group. Everything you said about him is correct, he's a manipulative nasty man and fooled many of the people in my group. Everything said about Frank and Ben are true; they are a disgrace. I believe the way they get away with this scam is that it maybe a NPO, but it's based out of the states and therefore the money is run through the States company. What a scam. Stay away, they lie about everything and treat you horribly.

#21 Parent BF - 2017-07-09
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

In the interests of full disclosure, I was one of the horrible male students on that same course male who apparently: "would not shower, wore no antiperspirant, did not brush their teeth, and hardly ever washed their clothes" and "wore jeans" and was "using drugs" the whole time. While I could respond to the points in more detail, they are so different from what I experienced (read: made-up bullshit by a bat-shit crazy person) that I think it's probably easier to say the truth: yea, it wasn't perfect, but overall it was a great experience where we all learned a lot about teaching and the courses are clearly accredited by Trinity College London and Cambridge University English. The TKT testing problem at the end sucked, but you were there with me, why don't you tell the truth? That it was clearly a mistake of the external Wifi Cambridge testing center which they apologized for and provided everyone with compensation and new testing date. They clearly put Frank and Ben in a terrible situation, but looked how they responded to it: treated all of us to lunch out at local resturant before apologizing in person back in Gmunden and than making arrangements for us all to take the same test in our home countries. Did you not follow-up to do so? Why is that their fault? But don't take my word for it, have a look at the other students from literally the same course who have posted online using their real names - are they all lying?

"With 300 hours of teaching experience in addition to an intense linguistics teacher training course on the side, I have the practical experience and theoretical knowledge to teach anywhere in the world. Working with other trainees and alongside senior teachers means we always get to observe and be observed. This approach to teacher training is ideal for constantly improving one’s teaching methods."
- Alice Gilchrist, Spring 2016

"My favourite part of this course has been our students! As I said before, I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to work with children all over Austria. My favourite story so far is an impromptu Herman the Worm performance during a school wide Fasching event from a project week in the first month of our course. It was so exciting to watch all of the students join in! Only a quarter of the group were in the ABCi program but Herman the Worm (in perfect English) echoed through the halls the rest of the week."
- Joshua Norton, Spring 2016

"It is really useful to have the CertTESOL qualification – so many jobs ask for this in their requirements. Many more jobs and opportunities are now accessible for me and it’s great to be able to say that you’ve spent up to 300 hours in the classroom. Practical experience is what the employers are after, and this is certainly what you get here."
- Kate Wilkinson, Spring 2016

And why are you complaining about this now, 18 months later? Does it have anything to do with the fact that there is a member of staff who got fired and is now trying to encourage old students and staff to leave nasty reviews on this site? I know (and had the chance to read your lovely post) because he emailed me too and tried to get me to do so as well, why don't you tell the truth about that either? Since you failed to mention that, it calls your motives and everything else that you've written here into question.

#22 Parent Kate - 2017-07-08
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

I'll try to touch on just the main points because I could go on for pages on the concerning/disturbing things that this program does.

In my intake (Jan 2016) our entire group was lied to and told we would be receiving accredited certifications upon completion of the course. It came to light in the first week that this was false. At the end of the program they claimed the testing facility made a mistake and no one was able to take the exam. ABCi promised to pay for trainees to take the exam in their home countries however more than half of my fellow teachers have yet to receive this. ABCi is famous for never returning emails, something you will learn quickly upon signing up.

Within the first 2 weeks about a quarter of the trainees jumped ship. The continuous lies you're told and the fact that your day starts at 5am and usually goes until 5pm is a good reason behind this. They claim they are a volunteer based non profit when in reality it's simply slave labor that you're agreeing to.

Accommodation: How awesome that this is provided! Yea... right. In Gmunden my group had the 'nicer' of the two flats. Our shower broke the second week and wasn't fixed until the following. When we asked how we were expected to shower we were told to walk down to the other flat to do so.. in the middle of 3ft of snow.. in January.. with wet hair. GREAT idea! In the flat in Vienna there were disturbing cracks along all the walls and ceilings. After googling, we discovered part of the building had actually crumbled away a few years prior. Our first week we had no working radiators (so no heat or hot water). We were told to use lots of blankets and 'shower at the gym across the street for a charge' if we wanted to shower. This was while they took their sweet time having various instructors come and poke and the units to see if they could save money by having staff fix them.

While going 90+mph on the Autobahn our acting 'senior teacher' whom was one of the very upper level staff, fell asleep at the wheel. We nearly collided with the barricades but the front passenger woke in time to yell and wake him up. This same man often got drunk with and shared drugs with trainees. Very charming, ABCi. (Photos available to anyone interested!)

Most of the staff are 20 somethings from the UK who are looking for an escape for a bit. Most recognize how ridiculous the program is as far as functionality. ABCi has looped a few 'alumni' to work for them, most of which whom had never taught prior to this program.

The male trainees are held to a much different standard than the women. We were told we absolutely could not wear jeans. The male trainees did constantly. Some male roommates often would not shower, wore no antiperspirant, did not brush their teeth, and hardly ever washed their clothes. ABCi felt this was completely acceptable and took no corrective action despite being told numerous times by the house managers.

One of the most absurd things ABCi spews is just 'how many thousands of people are applying for this very RARE opportunity'.... Uh huh. They would also threaten that if you leave that would be fine because there were plenty of people on a waiting list. Only one of these supposed 'waiting list' people ever showed up and he took off within 2 days. Has this changed since I was there? NOPE! A woman from the current intake group has said she was one of 14 that has already left the original 60. On top of this they threaten that if you are to take any time off for being sick that it will be noted on your certifications. This resulted in me working an entire day with a high fever and horrible cough.

While I was there they brought on an intern to handle social media and things (if you've done any research on reviews you'll have noticed that they are now being responded to by ABCi staff and explained away). I eagerly look forward to whatever response will come to my own review. Especially since the upper administration said wanted to make sure we all wrote HONEST reviews. Yes of course, nothing less.

I will note that the curriculum for this program is great. Ben Stone was amazing the few times I met him. His heart in genuinely behind the program which is about the only positive thing I can say for this 'college'.

I left with one month remaining to spend my last 4 weeks exploring Europe instead of remaining slave to a faulty program. While the organization has expanded they are not properly run. Please do EXTENSIVE research before signing on. And please do take the negative reviews seriously, I wish I had. I came away with some incredible friends and learned that next time I'll sign on with a REPUTABLE program.

#23 Parent Shameem Aziz - 2017-06-22
Re English in Action Austria

When i was a trainee at ABCi, we didn't see mr. Carle much. His car was normally already there before we arrived and the door to his office was closed. That said, mr. Carle immedately scheducled an hour out of his day to meet with me when i emailed him. He didn't have to do this, he was the head of the organization, didn't really have anything to do with the course and i was just a trainee there and he didn't really know me. But he took the time to meet with me, so i think that says something. He answered a lot of questions i had about life, the tefl industry, the npo sector, academia and what i should do with myself after the course. In fact, he let the meeting go long as i think he could really see that i was struggling with what i should do with my life. So he didn't "ruin" my experience in austria and i don't think he is a "despicable" person. Who are the trolls on this page and what happened to them that they are filled with so much hatred to say such mean-spirited things about another person? did they not attend the lessons and fail the course? that's not his fault. i think it says a lot that all the normal positive comments come from people using their real names or initials and all the strangely negative comments come from people like "Silverboy" and "SuperWoman" and "Agree re Frank Carle." who are these people? they were not on the same course that i was.

#24 Parent Agree re Frank Carle - 2017-06-17
Re English in Action and ABCi

Frank Carle at ABCi truly is a despicable human being. He ruined ABCi and every single persons experience in Austria, be it staff or students.

#25 Parent Shameem Aziz - 2017-06-16
Re: ABCi: good place to get a TEFL certification

i did the course back in 2014. my experience was similar to james. it was generally a good experience. free bed, free food, free travel inside of austria, and best of all, free certtesol. negatives were the intensivity of the course - between the classroom teaching and theory sessions, it's really full-on. the shared living conditions were a bit cramped and sometimes information didn't get out to us trainees far enough in advance to plan our lessons, but overall an intensive experience that taught me how to be a pretty good teacher in a short amount of time. the best part is the kids, austria kids are a dream to work with. so much better behaved than kids in london!

#26 Parent James - 2017-06-14
Re: ABCi: good place to get a TEFL certification

I'm not the "boss" and I don't work for ABCi. My name is James Hogan and I was a trainee on their TEFL course from January 2016 to March 2016. It wasn't perfect, but all-in-all it was a great experience that helped me become the teacher that I am today and bears no resemblance to the rants on this message board from what I assume are competitors, dismissed students, fired employers and just plain trolls. One of the reasons that I'm bothering to take the time to post here is because I saw how hard everyone worked to provide this opportunity for young people who wanted to get a TEFL certification, and it doesn't seem fair to me that their hard work be slandered like this by online trolls who seem to have ulterior motives.

#27 Parent Arthur - 2017-06-13
Re: ABCi: good place to get a TEFL certification

"Boss": You are trying to justify the bad living conditions offered to your teachers while you are making money. It won't work on this board.

#28 Parent James - 2017-06-13
Re: ABCi: good place to get a TEFL certification

From my perspective, what they had in Austria was very similar to the housing I had at University and exactly what we were told to expect: dorm-like living conditions with shared bathrooms and kitchens. Remember, we were students, not staff. But rather than talk about it online with people with have no actual experience on this particular TEFL course (or are bitter from having been failed or dismissed from the course), I think it makes sense for everyone to have a look at the dorms themselves:

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXRyZZnoxFY&list=PLIUIZifd9AdrCqN3Tapgws90-1Zncl0Lh
2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yc096v9xao&list=PLIUIZifd9AdrCqN3Tapgws90-1Zncl0Lh&index=8
3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Nsgdxzc85s&index=9&list=PLIUIZifd9AdrCqN3Tapgws90-1Zncl0Lh

I've worked in China, and to be honest, the conditions for paid staff (let alone the uni students on a course) were much worse (e.g. see here: https://poupets.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/student-dorms/) than anything I experienced in Austria, at ABCi or otherwise.

A quick reality check is in order here: Students are literally shitting in a hole in the ground in China. In Austria, we had 3-4 modern toilets per dorm (with between 16-24 people depending on the rotation) and the same number of showers and baths, with everything cleaned by an outside agency at least once a month, not to mention 3 kitchens regularly stocked with food.

#29 Parent Heather - 2017-06-12
Re English in Action

Hi,

Heather here. I "worked" for English in Action a few years back and so I know a bit about what Trevor is talking about. Here's what I remember:

I was recruited after having just finished an on-line TEFL certification. After a one-day training session on the weekend, I was given a ticket and boarded a flight to Austria from the UK having signed a 6-week "freelance" contract. I was responsible for my own accommodation, travel and food once in Austria. However we met up with a couple others once in Austria and were given a room in hostel from Monday until Friday morning, which normally came with a breakfast. For lunch, dinner and the weekends, we needed to provide our own room and board. The kids in Austria are wonderful and the country itself is beautiful. We were provided with very pretty glossy materials, but we often had the wrong materials for the group that we were working with that first week. When I asked for the correct ones, the home office told me that I was in a remote area and I needed to "improvise."

In the classroom, it was a complete free-for-all, some of the teachers were actually teachers, but many of them were like me: a mix of young and old who had just finished on-line TEFL courses or native speakers seemingly selected at random. The academic, admin and welfare support, once in Austria, was non-existent. Not that there was much of anything that the EiA staff could do from back in Canterbury. No one observed us, no one gave us any feedback, no checked to ensure that we were actually doing anything resembling an english project. So on the plus side, we could pretty much do whatever we wanted. At about halfway through the 6-week mark, we met up with one of their regional sales managers at a train station, who handed us each an envelope full of cash with the accommodation bill deducted from it (in my case, it came to about 300 euros in total pay for the three weeks). No health insurance, no travel insurance, no employer income tax, nothing but a envelope with a couple hundred euros in it. The expectation was that we were supposed to pay tax on it ourselves, but no one I knew ever did.

Then return to the UK and wait around another few weeks for a call and another chance to for a 4-week, or 6-week or 8-week contract where you do the same thing. I did it for a season and then went away, did a real TEFL course at and got a real job with International House. Considering how much they charge the kids (up to 150 EUR before tax), there must be someone making an awful lot of money back in Canterbury (http://www.englishinaction.com/management_team.php) The only time I heard about ABCi was from my fellow "teachers", who complained that contracts were drying up as ABCi was taking away all our EiA schools in Austria. This was used as an excuse by management for why they had fewer contracts and made them particularly angry as they actually thought of themselves as real "teachers" after their on-line TEFL courses and couldn't stomach the fact that ABCi was training teachers in the classroom who were more effective than them and putting them into Austrian classrooms.

So, in summary: free flight to Austria, Hostel Mon-Fri, no training, no support, under-paid, questionable legality, no insurance or other benefits. Honestly, EiA was so focused on money, it seemed like the teaching was an afterthought. It felt like we were parts on an assembly line.

#30 Parent Observer - 2017-06-12
Re: ABCi: good place to get a TEFL certification

A room with 4 people, share a bathroom or kitchen with 7: This is the worst I ever heard of. Even the worst accommodations for teachers in China do much better than that.

#31 Parent James - 2017-06-12
ABCi: good place to get a TEFL certification

I was a student on a course here in 2016 and I never stayed in a room with more than 4 people, never had to share a bathroom or kitchen with more than 7 people, there were always good public transport to built-up areas like Graz, Vienna or Linz and we always had hot water and the kitchens stocked with food. I am not sure why anyone would leave the acomodation, it was fine and a great place to exchange ideas with fellow trainees on the course about lesson planing.

#32 Parent Trevor - 2017-06-09
English in Action

Hi, I work for a company that has run English projects in Austria, English in Action. We have been operating in Austria now for more than 25 years and have enjoyed a great deal of success running project weeks in Austrian schools, partly because we focus on native speakers from the country that invented the language, England! The name “English in Action” has become synonymous with project weeks in Austria and it is safe to say that we are the experts in the field: our carefully crafted worksheets form the structure of a great project week.

I actually met Frank Carle from ABCi and he is insufferable. He had the nerve to tell me that “commercial businesses” had no place in the state education of young people and that English in Action shouldn’t send our native speakers to schools in Austria just because we are a “for-profit multi-national corporation.” He arrogantly stated corporations had no place in a compulsory state school curriculum and that only NPOs should work in state schools.

He also said that organizations in education should be there as a resource for teachers and students to provide as much of what they do as possible for free! When I said we provided one scholarship per project to take part in our projects, he cut me off and said that they gave away English project days to entire schools, to the tune of 80,000 kids a year, and that they would give away more for free if they had the resources to do so.

You know, you can only hear so much about how “passionate” someone is about teaching and helping children and young people, at the end of the day, we all know that its’ money that makes the world go round. So arrogant!

-Trevor K.

#33 Parent CS - 2017-05-25
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Just look at staff turnover and student drop out rate to get a good idea of what this place is like. It's like a revolving door. Student Teachers are not the priority, we are there to teach at schools - nothing else.

#34 Parent Definitely Not Ben Stone - 2017-05-04
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

No requirement to stay in the dorms. Just you have to pay for your own food and accomodation in a random village that's at least 45 minutes from civilization. And can be moved at a moments notice.

3-4 in a room... more like 4-5.. with 20+ people in the accommodation with 1 kitchen and bathroom.

The co-founders (you and Frank) are greedy and are out of touch with what's going on in your organization. I've tried calling your external accounting firm and "apparently" you've switched and it surprises me that two fathers with children are working next to nothing but own houses and cars in Austria. FRANK'S BIG AUDI Q6 SHOWS HOW HUMBLE THIS POOR MAN IS. Meanwhile us student teachers don't recieve our food deliveries on time or have hot water in our dormitories.

I was on the last course and these two men have no input other than making terrible decisions and being overbearingly condescending. Please, I advise anyone who's considering ABCi to consider their priorities before joining this course.

#35 Parent Definitely Not Frank Carle - 2017-05-04
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

I disagree with this. Look at our amazing reviews. The current student teachers we have are not complaining. I would sum up the experience similarly to that of the ongoing Fyre Festival in the Bahamas. Get rich young people to come over with this unique opportunity and utterly shaft them, whilst keeping them stranded with no opportunity to leave.

#36 Parent Sam - 2017-05-01
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Erm... these positive posts have definitely been written by either of the two men who run the organisation, or the staff there have been instructed to do so. The staff that still exist that is, as they all just leave. Good for them. Why would anyone want to put up with ABCi's bull. And THATS why ABCi are continuously advertising job vacancies. Don't fall for it people. Find somewhere else to do a tesol. There are loads of better places.

#37 Parent expat hubby - 2017-04-29
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Before arriving in Austria, I hadn't stepped foot in a classroom since I left school. I had worked with children at a summer camp in America, but never in formal schooling, so I was predictably apprehensive. Owing to ABCi's innovative teaching methods, however, my experience in alternative education proved just the background I needed to succeed at leading a class in active learning.

What particularly impressed me about the course is how it prepares you for EFL employment that doesn't follow active learning principles. Despite ABCi's work focusing on game-based learning, song and drama, trainees leave with a thorough understanding of classroom management and in-depth language awareness. The hundreds of hours spent honing these skills in real classroom settings has made me feel like a far more experienced teacher than my CV would suggest.

EFL teachers with experience teaching young learners are in high demand and short supply. ABCi's input sessions and assignments focus specifically on this learner type. I've found that employers are consistently impressed by the willingness and ability with which graduates of the programme are able to work with this age group.

Fun, rewarding and challenging, I recommend this course to anyone who is dedicated to becoming a resourceful English teacher.

What should your next footsteps be?

I suggest you find a redbrick university in Blighty. There're many to choose from. That's just great for you. Enrol in any degree course that is not challenging because you don't want to be sent down. Do not take an honours course as you don't want to study for four years. An ordinary degree will suffice; it's less challenging and it's only a three-year course. After graduating, you can teach EFL in Asia, where you can save and prosper.

#38 Parent Silverboy - 2017-04-28
Re Warning! Wumao attack!!!! Re: The English Teacher Training College

Well. you certainly put that little Austrian wumao in his place!

#39 Parent SuperWoman - 2017-04-28
Re: Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Another wumao post!!!

#40 Parent SuperWoman - 2017-04-28
Warning! Wumao attack!!!! Re: The English Teacher Training College

What a ridiculous post! "Danny", you will make the best brown-nosing wumaos of China get red in the face (brown and red won't be appetizing). Is Austria now #1 in wumao-ing, displacing China?

By the way, how do you say "wumao" in German? Google translates it literally as "fünfzig Cent" (wumao = 50 cents) but I am sure there is a real-life expression in Austria for fake news or fake reviews written by a school in its own interest.

Please, "Danny", don't think that everybody who reads this thread is as stupid as you are. Try to grow up beyond all your free charitable work and heart attacks.

#41 Parent Danny - 2017-04-28
The English Teacher Training College

ABCi changed my life.
I arrived in Austria on the 29th of August at the ripe old age of 18 thinking I knew everything about the world.
Quickly, I became accustom to the ABCi way of life including getting up at 5:30 in the morning, living with others, teaching in schools that open ridiculously early, all day, before resting for a hour and completing essays until late at night.
BUT I WOULD'NT HAVE HAD IT ANY OTHER WAY?
I got to live in 4 beautiful towns/cities while gaining quality experience in what I now know is my my chosen vocation. I was supported fully through the course, given feedback on lessons and even extra support for the grammar test (which is tough if you have no background in linguistics). The company provided free travel to and from schools, free accommodation and food basics which many other companies do not provide. I met life long friends during my short stay, joined a rugby team and grew in confidence. Although, most importantly it gave me the experience and ability to teach in a fun engaging way allowing me to pursue a life as a teacher where without ABCi this would not be possible. For example, I am now a teaching assistant in Manchester using very similar skills to what I learned in Austria. I would recommend this course to anyone. Don't think it will be easy but it will change your life because it changed mine.

#42 Parent FTinPRC - 2017-04-26
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Before arriving in Austria, I hadn't stepped foot in a classroom since I left school. I had
worked with children at a summer camp in America, but never in formal schooling, so I
was predictably apprehensive. Owing to ABCi's innovative teaching methods, however, my
experience in alternative education proved just the background I needed to succeed at
leading a class in active learning.

I seldom laugh explosively, but right now several people in Starbucks are staring at me wondering if they should call the men with the white coat with long sleeves.

Mike, step those novice feet into that classroom and lead those children down the righteous path of active learning with ABCi's innovative teaching methodology.

#43 Parent Mike - 2017-04-25
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Before arriving in Austria, I hadn't stepped foot in a classroom since I left school. I had worked with children at a summer camp in America, but never in formal schooling, so I was predictably apprehensive. Owing to ABCi's innovative teaching methods, however, my experience in alternative education proved just the background I needed to succeed at leading a class in active learning.

What particularly impressed me about the course is how it prepares you for EFL employment that doesn't follow active learning principles. Despite ABCi's work focusing on game-based learning, song and drama, trainees leave with a thorough understanding of classroom management and in-depth language awareness. The hundreds of hours spent honing these skills in real classroom settings has made me feel like a far more experienced teacher than my CV would suggest.

EFL teachers with experience teaching young learners are in high demand and short supply. ABCi's input sessions and assignments focus specifically on this learner type. I've found that employers are consistently impressed by the willingness and ability with which graduates of the programme are able to work with this age group.

Fun, rewarding and challenging, I recommend this course to anyone who is dedicated to becoming a resourceful English teacher.

#44 Parent MK - 2017-04-24
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Its legit. There is no requirement to stay in the dorms but everyone did when I was there. I just completed the TEFL course recently and am in touch with some current student teachers. It was intense and the dorms are a tight fit with 3-4 people to a room, but I learned a lot and I finished with an internationally recognized TEFL certificate. I learned a lot of theory and practice: that was the best part, getting to try out things in practice in the morning that you discussed in theory in the afternoon. I can confidently say that I am a better teacher now than I would have been doing just a basic TEFL course with just 6 hours of teaching practice. Not only do I have the piece of paper, but more importantly, I can actually walk into a room and teach.

Both of the co-founders are hardworking and eager to take on board and implement feedback. One of them worked so hard that he recently had a stroke. I am pretty sure that if it was all about money and they didnt care about student teachers or Austrian Pupils that they wouldn't be working so hard so as to endanger their own health and they wouldn't have bothered giving free outreach projects to 200,000 children. But I decided to check it out for myself: I called the number that Frank Carle left below and everything he said checks out. They really did work for next to no salary over the last five years and apparently all this information is publically available from their external accounting firm.

ABCi seems to be growing rapidly (one of the interns told me that they are now officially the fastest-growing NPO in Austria): they announced ten new staff positions and a new campus while I was on the course so it makes sense that they are constantly hiring new staff. I heard that over half the graduates from the past course applied for entry-level staff positions, so obviously it can't be such a bad place if that many people want to stay.

I mean, don't get me wrong, there were bad points: Early morning starts, last-minute changes to logistics and issues with acomodation were some of the bad points. But these last few posts have been so negative and so personal (And bear little resemblance to the course that I completed) that they must have been written by someone who failed the course or was dismissed. For example: A member of staff on drugs in a school??? C'mon, that doesnt make any sense. We were working with children and there is a clear code of conduct with constant supervision. I watched student teachers get warnings and be sent home for showing up to teaching practice hungover, I suspect that any staff member who did drugs in school would not just be terminated, but turned over to the police by the Austrian authorities as well. Plus if that really did happened then everyone would have been talking about it for weeks, but this is the first time I or any of my coursemates heard of it. That's why I don't believe these posts, because I know the situation there and there is no way that would have been tolerated or gone unnoticed. I would take what they write with a big grain of salt.

#45 Parent Ing - 2017-04-19
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Do they allow you to do the program and NOT stay in the dorms? Are there hotels or airbnb nearby etc where one could stay? If the CELTA is legit the price is unbeatable

#46 Parent Gemma - 2017-03-22
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

The organisation is recommended by the government because the program is solid and the kids love it and learn a lot in a short time. As student teachers, we benefited from all the hours of 'practice' in a classroom. It is incredibly hard, planning lessons and attending input sessions on top of being in a school all day, but the pay off is worth it. The hours improve your employ-ability level and technical know how in a classroom. Celta and Cert TESOL courses typically only offer 6 hrs practice in a classroom. Having been on this course, I can say my teaching improved and I made some good friends. The accommodation isn't great and too many people are cramped into the 'dorms'. There is no privacy and with long study hours, this causes a high amount of stress.

Regarding the men who run this organisation, the ego thing is true. Surnames are used which is ridiculous and needs to be abolished. The both need to learn how to manage an organisation properly.

The staff turnover is high primarily because of Frank C[edited]'s domineering and patronising management style. However the staff themselves are lovely and do their best to ensure the course is a positive experience for the student teachers.

#47 Parent Lilly - 2017-03-15
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Why do the schools book? Because the government recommends them as an organization that does it for free?

#48 Parent Gem - 2017-03-15
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

The half day projects are free but it's also just a cover up. They are adverts for the full week projects for which each Austrian child has to pay 100 euro. The student teachers are used as walking adverts for this. It isn't made clear and so it seems there is a lack of transparency. Many Austrian schools don't see the value in the projects and find the presence of ABCi at their schools irritating. If you are being recruited to study or work at ABCi, my advice to you is not to be associated with them in any way.

#49 Parent Lilly - 2017-03-13
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Poor you! How can you survive with only € 712,57? What you write is pure nonsense and whoever has any brain will realize that!!You say the student's workshop is free of charge, why do they pay € 100.-? Where does all the money go?
Lies, lies, lies!

#50 Parent TR - 2017-03-01
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

>:( Stay away stay away stay away!
I had a friend do the course and from what he told me I am disgusted and annoyed.
Totally exploitative. Run by two men with massive ego's.
What a shambles of an organisation. Totally disorganised and MISLEADING.
If you call the "presidents" of the company by their first names, you're scowled at as if you're a little child.
They will promise you heaven and earth to do the course but then don't follow through. Once you are in the country and doing the course they don't give a damn about what promises they made just to get you there.
You will notice that their jobs are advertised continuously - the staff turnover is a joke.
They are desperate and always stressed as students and staff are always leaving mid-course - and for good reason.

MASSIVE POINT and one that DISGUSTS ME: one of the tutors was high as a kite on drugs while driving students back from a school! This organisation needs to be dissolved. >:(

#51 Parent Martin - 2016-12-31
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Knew someone who worked there and was given a bag a sandwiches at the beginning of the day for her food.

There are other companies who will do the same thing in Austria who will actually pay you for your work and give you food money.

One such company is Native speaker network, there is another called English in action.

From what I hear ABCI is slave labour of the worst kind.

#52 Parent The English Teacher Training College and Bilingual Classroom Initiative (ABCi) - 2016-03-15
Re The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

Hi everyone, before I get started, my name is Frank Carle and (in the interests of full disclosure) I am the president of the The English Teacher Training College and Bilingual Classroom Initiative (ABCi).

I've been involved in the EFL sector for the past 15 years, so imagine my surprise when I found that the organization I helped found 5 years ago was featured prominently on the forum pages of this message board. Unfortunately, there does seem to be quite a bit of conflicting information and cynicism flying back and forth, so I thought I would wade into the discussion with the aim of bringing clarity to the situation. In order to offset my lack of objectivity (I am quite clearly passionate about and advocating for the college and our mission), I will provide outside citations and contact information for authorities in Austria who can verify the information below.

First of all, let's get one thing straight: The English Teacher Training College and its associated Bilingual Classroom Initiative (ABCi) is a not for-profit Austrian College with a dual mission. Firstly, as a college, to provide a practical education in teacher training for trainees from the English-speaking world based solely on the candidate's academic merit. Secondly, as a charity outreach, to promote language learning, cultural exchange and foster understanding between English-speaking countries and Austria by bringing hundreds of teachers from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia into Austrian classrooms to reach every child with a free English project by the year 2020. This is publicly available information. For the record, I can assure everyone that the college is indeed registered as a nonprofit organization with the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior and fulfills all the legal and financial requirements required to achieve the status of a "gemeinnütziger verein" in Austrian law. This is publicly available information. You can quickly and easily confirm this information for yourself by checking at the ministry in Vienna or inputting our NPO registration number (249983245) in the federal "Zentrales Vereins Register" at following government website: http://zvr.bmi.gv.at/Start

The college's ABCi initiative gave free project work to nearly 200,000 children in the last five years. We do this with the support of sponsors (like Google, Microsoft, The Chamber of Commerce, etc.), membership fees (holding at 100 EUR for five years despite inflation and we'll reduce them further as soon as we're able to in 2017). As far as paying "400euros less per week" - the college meets and exceeds all wage schedule salary levels set by the Austrian authorities and pays all corresponding taxes and fees here in Austria. The college pays all required taxes and fees to the Gebietskrankenkasse, Finanzamt as well as the municipal authorities accordingly. You can confirm these three things by verifying our information with the GGK in Linz (referencing Beitr. Ktonr.: 65458527), the Finanzamt in Vöcklabruck (referencing Steuernummer: 209/0974-21) and the local mayor in Gmunden (Stefan Peter Krapf - you can call him directly in the Rathaus at 7612 794200 and ask about the college meeting our legal and financial obligations to the gemeinde where were headquartered for the last few years before our move to Vorchdorf).

The college's strict compliance with Austrian law is ensured by external consultation and oversight by professionals in contrast to some commercial or "black market" operations based out of other countries that apparently hand their teachers envelopes of cash at train stations, hide in offshore tax heavens or pretend their salary is part of some tax-free "Honorarnote" reimbursement. As I will explain below, the TEFL sector is one in which I and many other good teachers saw things that could be improved.

Why are we doing that? Why run free TEFL courses for young teachers and free projects for children? Well, in a nutshell, after years of seeing businessmen with MBAs and no teaching experience run foreign corporations that seek to avoid paying taxes in the country where they work, pay their teachers as little as possible, give their trainees no support or training, all while focusing on and charging middle-class parents as much as possible while ignoring poor ones (resulting in unhappy experienced teachers, untrained new teachers and dubious (or non existent) teaching methods in the classroom that exploits children and the larger tax-paying community) - using people up as "TEFL Cannon Fodder" was something that I and the other founding members of the college experienced firsthand. And that just didn't sit well with us. The profit motive can be a great thing in many situations, but it doesn't seem to have worked very well for EFL education in Europe. In compulsory education at state schools in a country where education is valued as a right and not a privilege, it is not appropriate for commercial enterprises to be operating and exploiting children and their parents. When kids are learning more English from playing video games, listening to the radio and watching subtitled movies than they do from commercial language schools working in Austrian schools - something is wrong.

Staff, senior teachers and course tutors at the college are required to work hard to ensure that all of our trainee teachers have a rewarding experience here in Austria: the combination of a TEFL teacher training course, teaching training placement in state schools and travel throughout the alpine region that the college offers as part of our trainee teaching placements is truly unique – I think you’ll find that there is nothing else quite like it in Europe. But let's get another thing straight: Attending seminars and workshops and then being given the opportunity to practice those concepts with children using a lesson plan that a course tutor helped the trainee create, using the methods that another course tutor taught the trainee, and finally being observed and given feedback by another experienced teacher is not "work" or "volunteering" - it is studying to become a teacher at a teacher training college. Teaching practice is an integral component of teacher training. It grants student teachers experience in the actual teaching and learning environment. If it wasn't, the college would not be Trinity College London Registered Centre: 47961 or a Cambridge English Exam Preparation Centre. We do not "pay" trainees anything - the college is structured in such a way as to subsidize the costs of their teacher training. Furthermore, Our college is a level five degree-granting institution in the QCF/EQF Ofqual framework. So that is to say, in much the same way that Oxford is an institution accredited by Ofqual and then goes on to offer bachelors of arts and bachelors of science, ABCi is an institution that offers two variants of a TEFL-YL (one of which includes the CertTESOL). To be very specific on this point, ABCi is institutionally accredited by Trinity College London as a Registered Centre (47961). Additionally, it also needs to be said that the TEFL-YL course has been created in consultation with and is in accordance with guidelines and best practice as set out by the following organizations and departments: EAQUALS, Linz Teacher Training College, IATEFL, TESOL International Association, and the Austrian Red Cross.

The college does indeed provide intensive TEFL teacher training (Including Cambridge TKT certification and the Trinity CertTESOL) and nearly all of our graduates report finding employment within months of graduating. Just to be clear, the college does not pay for the flight to and from Austria, but does indeed provide transport between the campus and schools in which the teaching practice takes place. Simple hostel-like student accommodation is provided in college apartments as well as a very basic food bursary in the food of basic non-perishable essentials in a communal kitchen (with the expectation that trainees will purchase fresh fruit, veg and meat on their own). The quality of what the college does is overseen by two external members of the board who are NOT salaried employees of the college: but you might already be familiar with Jakob Gfrerer, the well-known EFL professor from the Teacher Training College in Salzburg, who serves on our board of directors or Dr. Sebastian Stein, Professor from the University of Heidelberg. You can reach Dr. Stein here: [email protected] and Professor Gfrerer here: [email protected].

After graduating from our course, the graduate's connection to the college doesn't end. As an alumni of our course, we all want to ensure that their experience is being put to the best use possible for both the trainee and young learners everywhere. In an effort to ensure that our past trainees are being placed into gainful employment after graduating our courses, the college has started a Job Placement Program. The job placement program is run jointly by management and human resources at the college and offered to all trainees successfully completing the requirements of the college’s Intermediate TEFL-YL course. The college places a heavy emphasis on practical experience as well as employability, which are synonymous to most employers in the EFL sector. Management has nearly 3 decades of combined experience in the EFL sector and use those connections to help our past course graduates find work teaching. Reports back from employers about the last group of graduates from the course are outstanding: all of them are quite satisfied and each have asked us to recommend more graduates from our intermediate TEFL-YL course in the future.

While our academic manager can understand how the practice of Communicative Language Teaching may resemble "summer-camp teaching" - CLT is in reality an established approach that we combine with elements from various other schools of thought, including, but not limited to: Active Learning, Steiner-Schule, Montessori, Project Work, Waldorfschule, Task-based Learning, Total Physical Response, Marchtaler Plan, Problem-based learning, Game-based learning, etc. The point is that we do it because it works. Children remember what they DO much better than what they're TOLD to do. I can assure you that while borrowing from existing methodologies, there is no other organization that does what we do in Austria (or Europe for that matter) and the reason for that is simple: there is no profit incentive for commercial language schools to do a better job or explore new ideas like project work and active learning, as parents are happy to throw money at anything that has a chance of improving their children's future, even if it is just watching a "native-speaker" watch their children fill out a worksheet in silence for an hour.

If I am honest with you, the majority of feedback that we get from course alumni is along the lines of: "Thanks, you changed my life and made me decide to start a career in education" or "I learned so many new active learning activities, techniques and methods that have helped at my new job" or "I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue teaching, but my time at the college help remind me why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place" and getting a steady stream of comments like that does of course remind everyone what the point of what we're doing is and inspire everyone to keep working hard even if the hours are long and we don't get paid as much as the MBAs.

Finally, I want to address this comment that we are someone is somehow making a lot of money at the college: We take transparency about our mission very seriously and I hope you understand that management works hard to hold high ethical standards for ourselves, our staff and the college in general. For example, it is important to understand that members of the board like Professor Jakob Gfrerrer or Dr. Sebastian Stein are unpaid volunteers. Even myself and Mr. Ben Stone only earn a minimal salary of 712,57 EUR (after tax) each month (If you like, you can call our external accountancy firm to confirm that figure: Reinhard Mayrhofer, Address: Gmundnerstraße 10, 4861 Schörfling am Attersee, Phone: 0043 7662 60000). If we took the sort of large salaries that people in similar positions at commercial organizations took, there is no way that we would have the resources to give free english projects to 80,000 children each year or give over 100 trainee teachers a heavily subsidized teacher training course. The point is, the college is by no means a for profit money-making organization: we teach and train teachers out of passion, not out of a desire for money. I genuinely hope that it is with the same attitude that future applicants to our programs will approach their careers in education, one that values the experience of the child or student over any degree of remuneration.

Best,

--
Frank Carle BA BSc MPhil
President & Vice-Chancellor
The English Teacher Training College and Bilingual Classroom Initiative (ABCi)
Vorchdorf Campus
Bahnhofstraße 13
4655 Vorchdorf
Österreich

tel. 07614 51400 11
email: [email protected]
web: http://www.english-teacher-college.at/
web: http://www.abci-english.at
facebook: www.facebook.com/AustriABCI
Trinity College London Registered Centre: 47961
Cambridge English Exam Preparation Centre
IATEFL Institutional Member: 25841
ZVR: 249983245

Bella - 2015-10-28
The English Teacher Training College of Austria (aka ABCi) - BEWARE

THIS COMPANY HAS CHANGED IT'S NAME FROM ABCi - this is to avoid paying any reimbursements they promised to the last lot of trainees and because they had so many negative reviews online!!! They lie about everything and you work very long hours for free for four months. Half the certificates aren't certified by anyone other than ABCi. You will live in cheap cramped accommodation and pay to teach all day with no training. You are given only weekend off. Days are 5.45 to 6.30 door to door. If you want to go to Austria get a help X or try ENGLISH FIRST - AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COSTS.

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