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The Times They Are a-Changin
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
Location: peyi kote solèy frèt

PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 5:42 pm    Post subject: The Times They Are a-Changin Reply with quote

Things are changing . . . slowly . . . It will be interesting to see what opportunities for English teaching, if any, open up over the next decade or so.

Want to travel to Cuba? Keep these things in mind
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cuba-travel-flights-hotels-us-normalize-relations-travel-ban/
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11359
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's an interesting journal article, "Introduction of Communicative Language Teaching in Tourism in Cuba" (http://www.teslcanadajournal.ca/index.php/tesl/article/view/588/419), that's worth a look.
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
Location: peyi kote solèy frèt

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
There's an interesting journal article, "Introduction of Communicative Language Teaching in Tourism in Cuba" (http://www.teslcanadajournal.ca/index.php/tesl/article/view/588/419), that's worth a look.


Thanks, Nomad! Quite interesting.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 1186
Location: 24.18105,-103.25185

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found the first article a bit confusing. The way the article reads, the fact that USians can´t travel to Cuba has totally restricted it as a tourist spot, while the fact is that pretty much anyone else in the world can travel to Cuba, and Cuba is crawling with tourists. There are loads of hotels, at all price points, including a luxurious Melia hotel, that is 5 start by anyone´s standards. (I didn´t stay there, I stayed at a nearby, much cheaper hotel, but wandered in to have a look). There is even a Turibus in Havana. Loads and loads of tourists in Varadero too, and, again, hotels at every level, including some super luxurious, all included, ones. It IS true that the roads in some part of the country are less than well maintained, but the same can be said of most developing countries. Even in places without a lot of tourist infrastructure, you can easily find a place to stay, lots of people rent out rooms in their homes, and while you have to tell the immigration people when you arrive what your destination is in Havana, you can then wander around the country at will, staying wherever you want. I wonder if Americans are even going to want to go to Cuba, due to all the untrue and malicious statements made by that bunch in Miami. Either way, the article was very unbalanced and largely inaccurate, in my not so humble opinion. I would totally go and live in Cuba and teach for a year or two.
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
Location: peyi kote solèy frèt

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BadBeagleBad wrote:
Either way, the article was very unbalanced and largely inaccurate, in my not so humble opinion.


Thanks for sharing your first hand experience, Beagle! The U.S. media has been misinforming the American public about Cuba for decades (and, for that matter, many other places in Latin America and beyond), so no surprises here. I think many Estadounidenses are curious about Cuba and will want to go. Certainly, a sudden huge influx of folks from the States will put a strain on Cuba's existing tourist infrastructure. In the long term, it could also have a negative impact on neighboring Caribbean countries by rediverting travelers to Cuba.

It will be interesting to see how things unfold over the next several years.
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Unrung School Bell



Joined: 13 May 2015
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my favorite song about Cuba
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWS_Ap5hEaY

USB
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
Location: peyi kote solèy frèt

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unrung School Bell wrote:
my favorite song about Cuba
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWS_Ap5hEaY

USB


I haven't heard that in ages. Thanks for sharing, USB!
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Unrung School Bell



Joined: 13 May 2015
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Though I'll never be there
I know what I would see there
I can always find my Cuban skies
in Rosalinda's eyes
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grahamb



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 1945

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 3:59 pm    Post subject: Teaching EFL in Cuba Reply with quote

A couple of points to consider for would-be TEFL tourists:

Most Cubans earn the equivalent of 10-15 USD a month, and a litre of cooking oil costs approximately 2.5 USD. That doesn't leave much disposable income to pay for English lessons.

Anyone dreaming of flitting around Havana from one class to another is in for a nasty surprise; travelling on public transport involves a lot of queueing at bus stops, which is very time-consuming and tiring in that climate.

For the record, I've been there eight times (staying with Cubans, not in hotels).
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 2:02 am    Post subject: Re: Teaching EFL in Cuba Reply with quote

grahamb wrote:
A couple of points to consider for would-be TEFL tourists:

Most Cubans earn the equivalent of 10-15 USD a month, and a litre of cooking oil costs approximately 2.5 USD. That doesn't leave much disposable income to pay for English lessons.

Anyone dreaming of flitting around Havana from one class to another is in for a nasty surprise; travelling on public transport involves a lot of queueing at bus stops, which is very time-consuming and tiring in that climate.

For the record, I've been there eight times (staying with Cubans, not in hotels).


Yes, good points. I was thinking more along the lines of a cultural exchange or something along those lines. I know a couple of people who went to college in Cuba (Mexicans) and that was what they earned, 10 USD a month, for their clinical work, but everything else was provided for them, food housing, etc. But I don´t think that will be happening any time soon anyway. And a lot of Cubans I met spoke English, at least to some extent. Cubans, in general, are very educated people.
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EFL Educator



Joined: 17 Jul 2013
Posts: 962
Location: Cape Town

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand a lot of former Marielito Cubanos from the land north of the border are now trying to immigrate back to Cuba in hopes of teaching English to their compadres...as volunteer TEFL teachers! Their main asset is their ability to speak Spanish and the fact that they understand the Cuban culture..having been there is also a major benefit! Good luck to them! Shocked
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EFL Educator wrote:
I understand a lot of former Marielito Cubanos from the land north of the border are now trying to immigrate back to Cuba in hopes of teaching English to their compadres...as volunteer TEFL teachers!


Interesting! Where did you hear this?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cuba heals the language rift: Matt Salusbury and Mark Krzanowski describe how ELT has developed on the island
EL Gazette | July 2012
Source: http://mag.digitalpc.co.uk/Olive/ODE/ELGAZETTE/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=RUxHQVBENC8yMDEyLzA3LzAx&pageno=MTQ.&entity=QXIwMTQwMw..&view=ZW50aXR5

How do Cuba’s English teachers train and then develop their ELT careers? What are the challenges – and benefits – of teaching in a socialist society, and what status do EFL and its teachers enjoy? Mark Krzanowski of the University of Westminster put these questions to some Cuban EFL teachers at a recent conference of their association, GELI, in Santa Clara. (In some cases, only first names are known.)

Among the most important people in Cuban EFL are Dr Isora Enriquez O’Farril, dean of foreign languages at Varona Pedagogical University in Havana, and Eduardo Garbey Savigne, international relations adviser and ELT coordinator Havana Medical Sciences University. In an emailed response to Krzanowski, O’Farill and Savigne stated, ‘English has been always considered important in Cuba, in spite of the existing US imperialist intentions towards Cuba and in spite of our contradictions with the US government.’ And Cuba’s national heroes, including the 19th-century poet and political philosopher Jose Marti, have emphasised the importance of learning English.

Most English teachers in Cuba hold a five-year bachelor’s degree in education (BEd) which, said O’Farill and Savigne, ‘definitely contributes to the quality of the education provision. Teachers’ salary is above average among university graduates.’ They added that the country has a near 100 per cent literary rate and has advised English-speaking New Zealand and Canada on literacy programmes.

Despite Cuba’s semi-isolation, there is a lot of contact with the English-speaking world, particularly in the area of medicine. Cuba’s doctors are among the best in the world, and its medical schools are full of ‘Arabians, Brazilians, Angolans [and students from] Guyana and the Caribbean’, according to Herberto, who teaches at the medical school in Camaguay. Other medical English teachers said their students went on to work in countries from Yemen to Jamaica. Herberto identified his biggest problem as obtaining materials. Access to the internet – where most ESP and medical English teachers now go to find authentic materials – remains restricted and expensive. Even getting foreign medical journals ‘is not so easy for us’. Fernando Emillio Valladores Freate, a teacher at the Sports University at Pinar del Rio, said, ‘We don’t have the infrastructure to develop English’ due to the current ‘economic crisis’.

Herberto said that he got his experience in the first school he taught in, shadowing other teachers, and finished his BEd with a thesis on ‘communication between doctors and patients’. He’s been in ESP for six or seven years, and like many teachers Krzanowski interviewed, was part of a university team of teachers which developed ESP textbook used now all over Cuba.

Juan Carlos Izaguirre, an alumnus of the University of Westminter’s teacher development summer school 2004, teaches at Santiago de Cuba’s medical university. He was recruited via a one-off scheme to address a nationwide rural shortage of English teachers in in the 1970s, which saw him start an EFL teacher training programme at the age of fifteen and teach in rural schools before eventually earning his BEd. Nowadays a trainee English teacher will start at eighteen, possibly following their BEd with a masters lasting another year.

Cuba adopted English as its compulsory foreign language in education in 1974, replacing Russian. While teaching in higher education is subject to occasional cycles of restructuring, cuts and lay-offs, it’s a testament to the high status of higher education teachers that some of the interviewees were ‘class of 1974’ redeployed Russian teachers, still happily teaching English today.

The older and more experienced teachers interviewed all had a hand in the development of ESP textbooks commissioned by the ministry of education. Many were forced to develop their own materials, especially after the 1989 collapse of communism in eastern Europe. As Juan Carlos said, before 2004 ‘we couldn’t afford to buy more books’.

All higher education is free for Cubans, but ‘You have to work where you are needed because you don’t pay for your studies,’ says Juna Silvio, dean of the social sciences faculty at Pinar del Rio University. Male teachers are ‘allocated’ jobs for at least two years, females for three years.

Says Juan Carlos of a teacher’s first posting, ‘You might be lucky, where you wish to work there is work for you there.’ Randy, a much younger English teacher, recently completed his first deployment, teaching military English, and is now ‘able to make a choice’ about where he can teach. But because teaching is such a popular career, ‘every year the preparation is more demanding’. And ‘people care about certificates’: a Cuban EFL teacher’s CV will typically be a thirty-page booklet listing every one of the approximately 100 professional development courses they’ve attended over their career.

Several teachers complained that students often arrive at university with ‘very limited English’ and that ‘very few modules’ were taught in English at universities. Iselys Gonzales, who teaches English for forestry and agronomics at Pinar del Rio, says lecturers are giving their students some reading tasks in English, but ‘don’t have the level’ yet to teach in English. She expects subject teachers in higher education to get English classes soon, as part of the forthcoming second stage of the National Language Strategy. Iselys added, ‘Our commander-in-chief Fidel Castro has always recognised the importance of knowing English and studying English.’

(End of article)
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing, Nomad! Given Cuba's limitations during recent decades, they seem to have a surprisingly robust ELT profession. My guess is that, once things open up a bit more between the U.S. and Cuba, the most interesting opportunities for ELT professionals from the States will be lending a support role in developing Cuba's ELT infrastructure, local curriculum, etc. via programs like Fulbright and the U.S. State Department teaching fellows program.
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nomad soul



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Education and having the proper teaching credentials are obviously important, so I doubt TEFL job requirements will be lax. In other words, backpacker teachers likely won't be the norm.
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