Monday, October 20, 2008

How the Global Recession is Affecting English as a Foreign Language Teachers

EFL Teachers, Have You Been Living in a Cave?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past couple of months, you are well aware of the recent severe fluctuations in world economic markets. Undoubtedly, this will ultimately affect us all in one way or another. This includes us as teachers of English as a foreign language. This is especially true for those who may be living and teaching English abroad as they continue to watch the value of their local-currency salaries incessantly plummet earthward like a falling Icarus with his melting wings. Others, like a mourning Daedalus, stand helplessly by, watching as potentially catastrophic events unfold all around us.

World Countries Affected

With even large corporations experiencing heavy financial losses, mid-size companies rapidly down-sizing and some major banks going bankrupt, economic shakeouts are an inevitable event. Stronger currencies like the Yen, British Pound, the US Dollar and the Euro, among other currencies, will be weakened and perhaps even be slightly devalued. In weaker economies based on currencies like the peso, the Baht, etc. may well see their standings against stronger currencies diminish greatly. The crisis may be positive or negative for you depending on your particular country and situation. See “Economic Troubles – Effect on EFL”.

Likely Repercussions to be Expected

These events are highly likely to generate repercussions and a variety of “trickle down” effects such as:

• Cuts in company staff training budgets
• Layoffs of employees
• Reduction or elimination of smaller, low-budget departments
• An increase in out-sourcing of services
• Consolidation of financial, banking and other related services

How English Language Teachers Can Prepare

This news in general is mixed, both good and bad for teachers of English as a foreign language. With an increase in out-sourcing will come a plethora of entrepreneurial opportunities for private contracts in providing still-essential business services such as teaching, training and tutoring, English included, to now cash-strapped companies looking for ways to maintain quality, remain competitive and still stay afloat financially. Staff training budgets likely will see cuts, but the need for English will continue to exist. This represents a continual need for skilled, knowledgeable English as a foreign language professionals with well-honed business and entrepreneurial skills.

A More Detailed Look into These EFL Teaching Related Events

For a more detailed, on-going look into these English as a foreign language teaching related events is available online for EFL teachers at the ESL Daily website post, “Economic Woes and the EFL Community: The Concern – Part 1". This is generally a good site for world news events relating to the teaching of English as a foreign language and is recommended.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 125 countries worldwide. Get your FREE, pdf format report on CD or via e-mail, "Can You REALLY Learn a Foreign Language While You Sleep?" by requesting the title at:


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link! Just to let you and your readers know, part two of the Economic Woes and the EFL Community is up:

Anonymous said...

English language training is one of the motors of globalisation and a multi-billion-dollar industry. But who is profiting from this English explosion?