miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2008

What to do if you´re new to the career (or want to re-vamp yourself)

Many tips can be given but the first, and probably the most useful, is this: be a pro. What does that involve? Many things. In our field, there are two important areas: knowledge of the subject, that is, the language; and knowledge of the procedures; that is, how to teach. With regards to language, you may want to ask yourself the following: Is my command of the language satisfactory? If I haven´t already, can I pass international exams at high levels? (e.g. Michigan Higher, CAE or CPE). In the many years I have taught at all type of institutions and levels, I have found that teachers tend to oversee and regret this important area. The result is that, in the majority of cases, the teachers´ command of the language they want to teach is really poor. If you want to teach English, then, learn it first. But learn it well, and then keep on learning more.

The knowledge of the procedures of teaching is much more than attending “workshops” organized with a commercial objective in mind or going to weekend conferences or taking certificate/ diploma level courses. Going through TEFL topics shallowly, in 90-minute talks or one-month-twice-a-week classes, is not the way to become a professional: more effort is needed. Happily, there are opportunities everywhere. Universities have now opened programmes for teachers who do not have a degree. The quality varies, but the market is full of these so we can choose. It depends on us.


2 comentarios:

mgdcastro dijo...

I do agree with you. English teachers should be models for their students. I have also heard many teachers misspronouncing words or teaching English the wrong way.On the other hand attending semminars are not enough to become better teachers. There you can get some ideas to apply in your class but to become a real teacher involve many aspects. Also, we have to develop our emotional intelligence.

Carolina Lapointe dijo...

I’m all for being a pro in the fields you mentioned but it’s easier to say than to do. There surely are many opportunities for teachers to get their certificates and degrees…in Lima! Well, let’s be fair, in some other cities too, but just a few, very few…
I’m a teacher who works in a small town in the South of Perú and I have just finished writing my Masters thesis, however, this didn’t come easy at all. I took an online course because that was the only option I had to continue studying. And for the CAE, I had to study on my own, which was hard. I went for it because I know that things are changing and I want to be updated. But I would say that becoming a better professional depends on us just to a certain extent. There are other factors that come into play that determine how much we can do in our field. I agree that level of command is definitely a big problem, and there’s no excuse for keeping it that way. In cases like mine, the best suggestions I can give to teachers who want to improve their command of the language is to read extensively and to take advantage of every situation where they can speak.
Cesar, congrats on your new blog!