Published 22nd December 2015
As Teaching English as a Foreign Language becomes more and more popular, so common myths and misconceptions are spread. Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a, well, foreign concept to many people and so the majority of us are not fully aware of what it entails when we first hear of it, so it’s easy to be misled by erroneous information. Here we look at three so-called facts about TEFL that we hear all the time, and that we would like to debunk.
You need to speak the language
It is common sense to think that you need to speak Spanish to be able to teach a Spanish-speaker English. However, this is completely not true. Many studies have found that immersion is the best manner of learning a language and if you cannot speak Spanish then your learner is forced to be immersed in English in the classroom. They have no choice but to learn English in order to survive the lessons. While speaking the language can have some benefits – being able to use translation, for example – it is actually not widely recommended. In fact, many schools will ask you to pretend you cannot speak the language even if you do, just so the students won’t learn to rely on your translation.
You must have studied to be a teacher
Teaching English as a Foreign Language is teaching, but it is very different to teaching in the popular context. Teaching methods and styles are very different in a TEFL classroom than in a mainstream classroom, so you don’t need to study teaching in order to teach EFL. This is why there is the TEFL certificate. During the course you are taught everything you need to know about teaching English, so that you will be fully prepared to walk into a classroom and teach.
You must be in a foreign country
Of course being in a foreign country often means that there are numerous opportunities for English teachers, but doing TEFL in an English-speaking country is becoming more and more popular. Basically, Young Learners are being sent to English countries for summer camps and older learners are realising that living in the country is a very effective way to learn the language. Being a TEFL teacher, then, doesn’t actually have to mean that you travel to a faraway land; you can do it in your own country.
English has been known as an international language for many years and the industry is only growing. Being involved in TEFL is a good job choice, but before you make up your mind, be sure that you have all the facts.