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  • 5 Simple Tips for TEFL Job Success January 19, 2010
    Want to know how to succeed in the TEFL job market? Bruce Haxton tells you how. So, you’re thinking about doing a TEFL course, and it won’t be too long before you’ve got your crisp new TEFL certificate in hand – but what are you going to do with it?! Get a teaching job abroad and [...] […]
  • Why People TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) January 12, 2010
    Ever wondered why we do it? Find out now in this article by Bruce Haxton. TEFL, on paper, is perfect: an exciting career, a chance to see the world, a life full of fresh faces, opportunities and experiences. But, in reality, life at home holds people back: jobs, cars, family, friends, house, age, personal circumstances… so [...] […]
  • Classroom TEFL Courses – the Pros and the Cons January 7, 2010
    An online TEFL course or one done in the classroom? Honor Baldry offers advice on taking the latter option. Classroom learning – it’s what we’re all used to and the way we expect to study. Or is it? A classroom TEFL course is nothing like the lessons you took in school; expect it to be more [...] […]
  • How to Find a Good TEFL Employer January 7, 2010
    A new year and a new career? Check this advice by Bruce Haxton if you’re thinking about getting into TEFL. So you’re thinking about getting TEFL certified (or maybe you already are!), but once you’ve completed your TEFL course, what are you going to do with that crisp new certificate? Get a job and [...] […]
  • Tips about teaching English overseas December 22, 2009
    By Michiel Van Kets If you’re thinking about a career in teaching English you are choosing a great profession. Not only do you give your valuable expertise to others but it is also possible to teach English in other countries not just at home. You can do this as a long term option or just take [...] […]
  • Making money in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL/ESL/TESOL) December 14, 2009
    By Will Pearson First some context about the TEFL/ESL/TESOL labour market to think about. The market for English language learning in the world is booming. Compare the world now with that of twenty years ago. Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe is in its death throes, China is beginning the transition to capitalism, South America is [...] […]
  • Teaching English in Taiwan – Do I need a TEFL degree to teach? December 7, 2009
    By Creztor Tessel If you are thinking of moving to Taiwan to teach English, you might be surprised at just what kind of qualifications are required. Teaching English doesn’t actually require any special kind of degree or papers. Many people make the assumption that TEFL or similar degrees are required to teach English. While this may [...] […]
  • What is TEFL? December 3, 2009
    By John Harley TEFL is in all simplicity, Teaching English as a First Language. What this means is that if you are a native English speaker, your first language is of course English and as such, your teachers were in fact TEFL. On the other hand in the event that you are learning English as a [...] […]
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language – FAQs December 1, 2009
    By Rosana Hart If you are thinking of teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in a non-English-speaking country, no doubt you have questions. What’s it really like to do this? Here are some of the common questions would-be teachers have, with answers. [1] What will my students be like? They are unlikely to be children, as whatever [...] […]
  • Getting Your Dream Job November 29, 2009
    November at the Times has been dedicated to a series of articles from Sharon K Couzens de Hinojosa, the creator and writer of TEFL Tips, The LA Job List, and The Ultimate Peru List. There’s always someone with a great job. Maybe they only work 12 hours a week, 3 days a week. Or have 3 [...] […]

Teaching English as a Foreign Language – FAQs

By Rosana Hart

If you are thinking of teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in a non-English-speaking country, no doubt you have questions. What’s it really like to do this? Here are some of the common questions would-be teachers have, with answers.

[1] What will my students be like?

They are unlikely to be children, as whatever English the children learn is usually done within the country’s public school system. More likely, you will be teaching teenagers or adults. The adults will likely be very motivated, as they see English as a key to a better life. Some of the teenagers will have the same attitude, but some may be more casual.

[2] I only speak English. How will I communicate with the students?

Many methods of language instruction are based on using just the language the students are learning. So you will be fine. Once you get beyond the most basic levels of English, you can use English to explain things and most of the students will understand.

[3] I don’t remember much of the grammar I studied in school. Do I have to know it?

You do need to know some grammar, but you do not have to be a genius at it. This is one reason it is a good idea for you to take a TEFL class that gives you certification. Not only will it help you find work, it will also go over English grammar, from the point of view of what you will need to explain to your students.

[4] I speak fluent English, but it is my second language and I do have a slight accent. Can I still teach English as a Foreign Language?

It depends. Most language schools are understandably looking for people with native pronunciation of English. If you are looking for work in a country where there aren’t that many native English speakers who want to teach English, you are likely to be more successful. By the same token, people who are native speakers of English but have a strong regional accent may find it more difficult to get work than people who speak a more standard English. By the way, both American English and British English are acceptable.

[5] I graduated from high school but I don’t have a college degree. Can I still do this?

You may have fewer choices of positions, but you should be able to find work. Since you don’t have a formal degree, it would be a good idea for you to take one of the many TEFL courses that are available all over the world and online. Take one that provides at least 100 hours of instruction and gives you TEFL certification.

If you are traveling in foreign countries, particularly outside the US and Europe, you may be able to find work simply because you are there. The schools may be more lax in their requirements because they can talk to you on the spot, and you may also find smaller, more informal schools.

[6] I wonder if I would be good at this.

If you are friendly, outgoing, flexible, and genuinely interested in helping other people, it’s well worth a try! It also helps if you prepare your class lessons with care.

About the Author

Rosana Hart writes about Chinese language software at her website. She reviews a variety of programs for learning Chinese, and compares Fluent Mandarin, Rosetta Stone Chinese along with Rocket Chinese and Pimsleur Mandarin.

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