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TEFL Primer

John Bennett - Head of Multimedia and Online Learning Solutions

Each day, Language Link receives dozens of requests for employment information and/or online application forms. The vast majority of these are from applicants or potential applicants who are not qualified to teach English as a foreign language. Unfortunately, many of this number actually believe that they are qualified to do so. Their reasons for believing this are many-fold, too many to recount here.However,there does appear to be threads of one underlying theme and that is Teaching English as a Foreign Language is easy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (and Teaching English as a Second Language) are endeavours which demand, not just professionalism, but also a high level of knowledge and the possession of both skills and abilities consistent with the field. Unfortunately, the EFL/ ESL industries suffer from a kind of 'nearsightedness'. To speak plainly, most entrants into the field are there only for the short-term, a couple of years at most, and this is hardly enough time to acquire ALL the knowledge, skills and abilities demanded of the professional teacher. Thus, because of the high rate of teacher turnover which has resulted from these short teaching careers, the industry suffers from a lack of credibility. Secondly, even teachers who are committed to making EFL/ ESL a career rarely make the decision to upgrade their performance level through further education. In fact, many do not attend or are not offered the opportunity to attend a regular training programme of insets and seminars.

Given this sad state of affairs, Language Link has decided to dedicate this section of its website to dispelling the myths surrounding the EFL/ ESL fields. In so doing it is our hope that those who take the time to read the material included here will set aside an equal amount of time for some serious self-reflection prior to running out and applying for a TEFL or TESL job. Admittedly, the market for EFL/ ESL teachers has created the problem, however that said, the industry has not attempted to regulate itself either. It has been said that the 'doctor is unable to heal himself' as there are too many students and too few teachers (and unfortunately, evenfewer good teachers).

If you are attracted to the field of EFL regardless of whether it is for the short or long-term, you are advised to read through these pages. Call it 'forewarned is forearmed,' or as I prefer to say, 'an ounce of prevention now is worth a pound of cure later'.

For convenience, we have laid out the pages in this section in as sensible an order as possible. As such, the following topics and information have been included:

Introduction to TEFL: For those thinking to teach English as foreign language, it would be well worth their time to read this section first so as to gain greater insight into the field of EFL.

What to expect in TEFL:This section explores the expectations of the students, the schools and the teachers in a TEFL environment.

Gettingstarted in TEFL:If you are interested in teaching in the field of EFL, it is important to know where to start. In this section, there is information about qualifications, knowledge, skills and abilities which are needed to be a successful EFL teacher. There is also important information about TEFL training courses and hopefully tools to guide you when it is time to choose the right course.

Am I ready for TEFL?Do you truly know what you might be getting yourself into? Living and working abroad is not always the life of excitment everyone expects. The job can be hard and tiring, your life can be overwhelming. This section provides some honest imformation about the life of a TEFL teacher abroad.

If, once finished with these pages, you are still attracted to the field of TEFL and Russia sounds like your kind of destination, then I invite you to browse our job opportunities pages.

Happy reading!

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