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Differences in English language programs between US & UA

 
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Imdramayu



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 384
Location: Prince Sultan University

PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:35 am    Post subject: Differences in English language programs between US & UA Reply with quote

Are the academic standards higher in the US over the UAE (or Saudi Arabia)? Does this disqualify those English teachers who have taught in the UAE for a long time from returning to the US to teach in an IEP? What issues should they get up to speed on to make themselves qualified and ready?

A few friends have encountered resistance from being hired in an IEP in the US after teaching for more than a decade in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Im
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4261
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This topic pops up every once in a while and the reasons aren't always so clear why it seems challenging for some TEFLers to get TESL jobs back home. My guess is that it has to do more with a cultural disconnect and perceptions than anything. In other words, some teachers and administrators, who mostly have been in ESL, can't relate to the experience of teaching foreigners abroad. They also might have biases/stereotypes about certain countries TEFLers have taught in (e.g., teaching experience in "exotic" Argentina vs "scary" Saudi Arabia). Additionally, there's possibly the perception that those teaching EFL have been away long enough that they're out of touch with their home culture and wouldn't be as effective teaching ESL students American cultural aspects of the language. (Ironically, many TEFLers started out teaching ESL!) Lastly, some employers tend to favor applicants who already have experience teaching in the community or who have received their TESL education locally over a "newcomer" who hasn't been a regular face in the teaching community. (Networking is so critical for TEFLers!) My two-cents' worth, but I certainly could be off with my thinking.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9484
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think what nomad soul has said is about right for Canada (I realise you're asking about the US, OP, but I'll throw this out as it's a simlilar situation).

It's partly related to the fact that there are lots of teachers around with local creds - why take a chance on someone whose experience is out of the normal playing fields?

I can also say that I know some EFL teachers whose experience was in Asia, who were very unsuccessful in Canadian university ESL teaching, as the approaches and methods they used in Asia didn't relate to those required in Canada. This might also make employers gun-shy, if they don't know in what ways the EFL teachers have been working.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4261
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To add on to Spiral's points, generally, an EFL teacher's student base abroad shares a common language and culture, in contrast to most homebase ESL classes in which the learners usually represent a multitude of cultures and languages. I would argue that returning teachers need to tailor their cover letters and CVs/resumes to emphasize their versatility as teachers and not so much what they've done for a specific group of learners abroad. In other words, write it with ESL students in mind---something the ESL employer can relate to. But frankly, it may just be that networking and knowing someone who can help get that foot in the door is what works.
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Imdramayu



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 384
Location: Prince Sultan University

PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:56 pm    Post subject: US academic standards & experience applied in Saudi Arab Reply with quote

Actually, Nomad Soul & others, my reason for bringing this topic up is because I'm trying to join the educational program of a company as an EFL teacher in Saudi Arabia. For this program, the company strongly prefers English teachers who have taught in US universities. Why? Because it is an EAP program that is getting students ready to study in US universities where they will go after finishing the 1-year program (EAP = English for Academic Purposes). The program feels that those teachers who have taught in the US have a better understanding of what students will face academically. The flipside of that is that the program administrators dislike hiring English teachers who mostly have taught outside the US or Western world. They feel that academic standards are much lower and are not rigidly-enforced in the Gulf and other non-Western language teaching contexts. This works against me personally as I have primarily taught in EFL contexts. My question to you guys is this.

Does this logic hold water? Are academic standards significantly different in the US over the Gulf or other EFL contexts? Even if they are, doesn't the application of these standards depend on the teacher more than anything else? If you can't answer this, please direct me to where it can be addressed.

Thanks. Im
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9484
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, in such a case I think the bias for teachers with direct experience in US universities is probably justified. It's not only about standards, but style, expectations on a daily basis, and goals as versus outcomes.

I taught in both an international university context and a pre-programme prep course for it - trying to teach the prep without having taught in the core programme would have been very difficult.
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EFLeducator



Joined: 16 Dec 2011
Posts: 595
Location: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
knowing someone who can help get that foot in the door is what works.


That's how I got my first ESL teaching gig at the community college in Texas. From what I heard from teachers working there, that is the way all ESL working there get their jobs.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4261
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:39 pm    Post subject: Re: US academic standards & experience applied in Saudi Reply with quote

Imdramayu wrote:
Actually, Nomad Soul & others, my reason for bringing this topic up is because I'm trying to join the educational program of a company as an EFL teacher in Saudi Arabia. For this program, the company strongly prefers English teachers who have taught in US universities. Why? Because it is an EAP program that is getting students ready to study in US universities where they will go after finishing the 1-year program (EAP = English for Academic Purposes). The program feels that those teachers who have taught in the US have a better understanding of what students will face academically. The flipside of that is that the program administrators dislike hiring English teachers who mostly have taught outside the US or Western world. They feel that academic standards are much lower and are not rigidly-enforced in the Gulf and other non-Western language teaching contexts. This works against me personally as I have primarily taught in EFL contexts. My question to you guys is this.

Does this logic hold water? Are academic standards significantly different in the US over the Gulf or other EFL contexts? Even if they are, doesn't the application of these standards depend on the teacher more than anything else? If you can't answer this, please direct me to where it can be addressed.

Thanks. Im

Imdramayu, I posted my response in the Saudi forum under your topic about academic standards at universities in the Gulf.
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