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Future of TEFL?
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leeroy



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 777
Location: London UK

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2003 2:54 pm    Post subject: Future of TEFL? Reply with quote

I remember a while ago a big discussion came up about the future of the TEFL industry. I can't recall the exact details, but the general theme seemed to be that "The EFL bubble has burst!" and "Jobs are becoming harder to come by, pay is getting lower!"

What with the world coming closer together these days, this new era of communications and the opening up of places like China to the global economy, surely the demand for a single universal language is going to get bigger?

Currently, without specifying places, I think some students' motivations for learning English can be a little less than pure. Sometimes they just want to have a look at a western person, they want the status of having English lessons, they want a social club or are being babysitted. In this kind of school, the unqualified backpackers who are so despised on this board thrive. But as the need to speak English becomes more serious in the future, surely these schools will decline and the demand for better teachers increase (along with salaries!).

From where I stand, on a cosy little hill of naivety, the future of TEFL should be bright.

Isn't it?
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12365
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2003 3:16 pm    Post subject: So Young and So Innocent ! Reply with quote

I do not have your enthusiasm. Even if EFL keeps growing what guarantee do we have that there will be jobs for native speakers like thee and me ?

And the picture of English becoming the "Universal International Language" is also rather simplistic.
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WorkingVaca



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 135

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2003 3:17 pm    Post subject: Speculating Reply with quote

Like stock markets and industries, speculation about the outlook of the ESL market all boils down to how optimistic or pessimistic you want to be. Watch any business outlook talking-heads round-table on TV and ask if there's any solid backing to anything they predict. Educated guessing is the best anyone can do.
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bnix



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 645

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:06 pm    Post subject: The Future is Not So Bright! Reply with quote

I disagree with you...the future of TEFL is not so bright,,,for some of the reasons you cite.There are too many"teachers"(oh Lord!!) going into this field with no qualifications.They not only flood the field but lower the reputation of the field.Also,as you state,a lot of people are not really interested in learning English anyway.In some places(you pros will know where without me mentioning them),the English teacher is seen as kind of a cut rate entertainer.They can't afford to fly Wayne Newton or Leo DiCaprio to their country...so they have some poor teacher stand up in front of some"students" and "teach".

Of course,although the field is probably already flooded(and will get worse,as more unemployables and fringe elements decide to go overseas and "teach"),there will continue to be jobs.Of course,the real question is whether they will be GOOD jobs.

Oh,incidentally,the word is "naivete",not "naivety". Rolling Eyes
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Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2003 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

English becoming the world's language...?
Competition in business will see to that happening to some extent (have you ever noticed how well-versed Arab, African, Korean, Japanese and Indian businesspeople are in Shakespearean English, yet if you have to offer them neither a product nor a market for their products they might coldly ignore you because you are not one of them?).
But the world's largest domestic market has declared Chinese the official language, and is trying to push it overseas. Asia's equivalent to the Davos summit of economics gurus, the Boao Meeting, was held with Chinese being the first language used.
And Chinese tourists normally travel in groups and being led by a Chinese-speaking guide. Maybe in two generations, they will travel solo and find out about the importance of knowing a second tongue. Emigrants - who wants Chinese emigrants? They come clandestinely, and they blend into Chinatowns.

I have said a number of times that declaring a foreign language a compulsory subject is a bad policy. Sure, in the West this is the case too, but there you find out at your expense how cumbersome it is if you can't speak a tourist destination's first or official language. Westerners also are often motivated by curiosity and cultural interests, Chinese need a powerful material reason to be convinced.
Thus, the motivation of Chinese ENglish learners is seriously compromised!

Even if China hired first-rate professional teachers, this situation would not be helped greatly! There are too many Chinese characteristics in CHinese classrooms, including the fact that students from their tenderest age on have to memorise, memorise, memorise to the detriment of their mental faculties.

In some classes, a backpacker might be just as useful an expat teacher as a credentialled professional would be. The main problem with itinerants is that they have too little staying power. It often happens that when you get hired here, you are taking over a class that in three months has seen 3 different expat faces!

In my view, the best contribution we could make to China's English instruction is by training their own English teachers (at normal schools), and by grounding preschoolers in English. I can assure you that the right approach in a kindergarten makes five-year olds CURIOUS about English, so they do want to study it in earnest!
Unfortunately, my current crop of kindergarteners will be exposed to a dour, uninspiring Chinese English teacher in a few years time!
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taiwan boy



Joined: 11 Feb 2003
Posts: 99
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2003 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So many people are prepared to travel overseas and spend a year or two teaching English these days. Supply and demand economics is subsequently drving wages down or keeping them static. There is also the problem that most of these people are unqualified and, even worse, many schools hire without any concern about qualifications. This means that many qualified ESL teachers end up in the same job pool as those without qualifications and go unrewarded.

Demand will continue to grow, but many countries will also soon be able to draw from a larger pool of local teachers qualified to teach ESL.

Hence, I think the outlook is OK, but not brilliant for the future of ESL.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4726
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ten years later...

Given the comments from 2003, do you think they were on the mark or off base? What are your thoughts about the future of TEFL?
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9690
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I for one am glad that naivety is now an accepted English word. Can't be doing with this Frenchified spelling, as people did way back in 2003 when naivety wasn't a word...
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robbie_davies



Joined: 13 Jun 2013
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In China, it certainly is a growth industry, with 280 million active learners, wages are increasing as are opportunities.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4726
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Future of TEFL? Reply with quote

leeroy wrote:
Sometimes (students) just want to have a look at a western person, they want the status of having English lessons, they want a social club or are being babysitted. In this kind of school, the unqualified backpackers who are so despised on this board thrive. But as the need to speak English becomes more serious in the future, surely these schools will decline and the demand for better teachers increase (along with salaries!).

I can't say whether such schools still exist, but I do agree about the decline in backpacker-teacher types and a trend toward better qualified teachers. Case in point, it's becoming more difficult to obtain a decent TEFL job if one lacks a degree.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12365
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am sure that at the time of Justinian it was widely accepted that Latin had a bright future. It did not work out that way.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9690
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dunno about that, Scot. It did have a bright future, even after the last Roman emperor spoke it. Then it faded away. Only very recently too. Will people in 15 or so odd centuries be able to say the same about English?
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9690
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lie awake at nights worrying about such matters, y'know...?
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sprightly



Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 129
Location: England

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think there's as much a future for tefl as any other industry. the trick is rolling with the punches.

there will be some demand for 'english english' amongst those who are heading to english-speaking countries for work or school, and within those countries there will be a niche market for academic english with a focus on reading and writing. hopefully we'll have more research and analysis to help us target subject areas when teaching as well.

but most people will slowly start to accept that they will not be speaking english to other english speakers. hopefully we'll see less 'teach me slang!' and more 'help me communicate this tricky point of our business contract.'

which will of course lead to a development of an english which is not exactly english. will the native speakers want to teach this? will they be any good at it?
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9690
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Globish vs pidginisation..
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