Monday, February 18, 2008
Poorly Equipped or Untrained English Language Teachers and What We Can Do About Them
Poorly Equipped or Untrained English Teachers
For much too long a time, there was a disturbing tendency among English language institutes in a number of countries, to immediately contract as “English teachers”, anyone who showed up and could communicate in some way in the English language. This included even native English speakers who, although they were unquestionably English speakers, had little or no knowledge of teaching, and no skills or techniques with which to impart their native tongue to others. Simply being able to speak English doesn’t make you an English teacher as an untold number of EFL learners has found out the hard way. There simply are no shortcuts here. Teacher training of basically qualified practitioners is called for. Whether using INSET or external training media, teachers much continually become more professional and qualified to perform in-classroom tasks. Ultimately, responsibility falls on teachers, administration and the learners themselves to resolve issues in this area.
Low-Quality in Learning or Expectations
Another thorn in the side of the English or foreign language teaching and learning “industry” is the proliferation of “language schools” as a “cash cow” or “cottage industry” That is, a “language institute used for the sole purpose of cranking out “profits” from an expansive sea of English or other foreign language learners. Considered to be nothing more than a “side business” in many locales, there is absolutely no regard for quality, standards of teaching / learning or anything else except the collection of tuitions and fees. “Teachers” lacking knowledge or skills of any type are thrown in with learners desperate to acquire foreign language skills result in the detriment of the process to all. This is yet another area where responsibility falls on teachers, administration and the learners themselves to resolve issues. EFL and foreign language learners, don’t waste your time and money. Taking “classes” in a poor, low-quality institution serves none of your interests.
Your Ideas, Suggestions and Comments, Please
While it would be absolutely impossible to provide detailed answers to such critical, world-wide problems in the English language teaching and learning class room here, we can recognize our limitations and constraints, and collectively make an effort to address and overcome them. If you have ideas on any of these problem topics, feel free to share them in comments, e-mails, forums, ELT conferences and teacher meetings. Who knows, your voice may be just the one to break open the problem with a universally workable approach or solution.
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Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? Contact the author by e-mail for a prompt response.