What are the advantages and challenges of teaching ESL/EFL learners?
The best advantage is you don't have to know the student's language. You can teach English to a class of students with many different language backgrounds at the same time.
Another great advantage is you get to learn the students language at the same time as you are teaching them English.
You have the advantage of making your own posters to express different situations that the student can understand no matter what language they speak.
They are always an enthusiastic learner.
I taught EFL for a year in England and it was very rewarding!
Let me say something about the challenges first. Definitely, it is so challenging to teach someone who is a total stranger to you, especially a person whose culture is completely different of yours, not to mention the language. Far more challenging is to teach a beginner who doesn't know a single word in English or of who English fundamentals is a wander. Actually, there are a lot more challenging issues in relation to teaching ESL/EFL learners, but you know, those are what make it more exciting.
The advantages are met after the teacher surpassed the challenges successfully. Isn't it rewarding to learn many things about other countries; become familiar of different cultures; befriend people from far nations and learn from each other? And the most rewarding of all is to have been able to share your knowledge and have had the chance to continuously develop your own skills, too.
I taught EFL abroad for many years and loved the opportunities for travel. It can also be a very lucrative profession in some places, like the Middle East and Taiwan. However, there are certain challenges teaching abroad. These may include lack of structure in the program, depending on the school where you teach,and difficulty accessing English language resources from the community, such as newspapers and libraries. In this the internet can help, but sometimes photocopying worksheets you make is restricted or electricity fails and the lesson you had planned turns into thinking on your feet. This can be exciting or stressful, depending on how it works out. Also, in a monocultural class, students are always tempted to speak to each other in their own language and not practice expressing their ideas in the target language, which for the duration of the class time, is English. Practice makes perfect...
In the past few years I have been teaching English as a Second Language to international students and immigrants in Canada. This has other advantages and challenges. On the one hand, the students are highly motivated and willing to work hard. It is easy to access community resources, for the whole community speaks English and teachers can assign contact assignments,set up library resource assignments, and use newspapers, library books and guest speakers. Moreover, mixed cultural classes makes it feasible to create small groups of mixed languages, where the only way students can complete the task is by interacting and collaborating with each each other in English. Once they break the ice and get things moving, they appreciate getting to know people from the other side of the world, In fact, that's what international students have come here to do.
Challenges are the usual ones with teachers--keeping up with mixed level classes, balancing the mix of work at home and relevant and achievable homework with in-class structure, guidance and practice, and managing the personalities and various goals.
It is wonderful work with lots of room to be creative and incorporate the teacher's own interests into the curriculum, and grow with the students. I love the contact with the international forum and the intellectual stimulation. The work is varied and flexible, with lots of opportunities to develop it in your own way.
Teaching ESL and EFL is a great way to travel and see the world. Bring a kit of supplies with you that includes picture books, simplified novels, phonic readers, a basic grammar, and a few science magazines. You can prepare yourself with a certificate in TESL from a college near you,or just go as a native speaker with a degree and find work with private schools and students. There is also a good job market as a tutor among international students studying in North America, UK or Australia. read more
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