Teaching abroad myths

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As a trainee or novice ESL teacher, the idea of working abroad will probably be a very appealing proposition, but you will meet those who will try to dissuade you with all sorts of wild stories. Here are three myths that you are likely to hear: ignore them all!

You need to speak the language

Many people can’t imagine how you can teach English to a person who cannot speak a word of English, and you cannot speak a word of their language. For example, 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. How else do you teach someone a language if not through translation? Well, many studies have found that immersion is actually one of the best ways of learning a language. Immersion learning simply means that you are taught the language you are learning with that same language as the language of instruction. So you teach a Spanish speaker English only by using English. In other words, if you are teaching a Spanish learner English and you cannot speak Spanish, then your learner is forced to be immersed in English in the classroom. There is no Spanish in their lessons. They have no choice but to learn English in order to survive the lessons.

You must have a teaching qualification

Teaching English as a Foreign Language is teaching, but it is very different to teaching in the context most people know it. Teaching methods and styles are very different in a TEFL classroom than in a mainstream classroom. You don’t need to study teaching in order to teach EFL because you will probably have a TEFL qualification, which is a teaching qualification but specialising in TEFL. This is why you should do a TEFL course that is both reputable and comprehensive. During the course, you are taught everything you need to know both about teaching and about teaching English so that you will be fully prepared to walk into a classroom and teach. You will learn about English grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking, lesson planning, classroom management, teaching techniques and learning styles – and so much more. Enrolling on a 168-hour TFEL course might sound daunting but the truth is, any TEFL course worth the paper it’s printed on is challenging and hard work. A TEFL course is no walk in the park. And you don’t want it to be, either, because you want to be as prepared as possible to step into a classroom.

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 learning English as a Foreign Language in an English-speaking country is becoming more and more popular. While the traditional image of teaching English abroad is usually teaching Young Learners in a country where English is not their first language, there are numerous opportunities for teaching adults in English-speaking countries. That’s right, even in the UK or the US!

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