Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chicken Little X

So basically the school year is finished. We had final exams last week, and I finished checking my students' exams this morning. My 2.5 month summer holiday begins in July.

Until then I'll be doing a couple weeks of work teaching classes of students composed of trainees for a certain large local company.

We just had a meeting with the director of the program and there was a discussion about why some of the teachers from the college English language program were being used for "company" classes.

The director of the program said that they were having trouble getting visa applications for new teachers approved because the government only wants them to hire Saudi teachers.

So I'm not just Chicken Little running around hysterically here. TEFL teaching for native speakers is dying!

I mean look at the Communicative Approach that we're taught to use. We're supposed to speak as little as possible while encouraging the students to speak a lot, focusing on fluency rather than accuracy. Function is emphasized over form.

Do they really need to pay a native speaker twice what they'd pay a local to stand there and not talk and not instantly correct mistakes?

Talk about being hoisted on our own petard!

Article in Newsweek about global english, or "Globish."

Notice that native-speaker teachers are not mentioned at all in the article. And that the Chinese "Elvis of English" teaches 10,000 students at a time. Think of him next time you complain about having 25 students in one class.


someteacher said...

Is the communicative approach that is pushed by British Councils and Cambridge the best way to go in your opinion? i.e. the teacher really more of a conductor than a teacher?

Do you think native speakers should be paid the same or less than locals?

Is being a native speaker just a marketing gimmick at this point?

Anonymous said...

all good questions I, like most people, don't have any clear answers to.

I think the salaries of native speaker teachers is going to continue to go DOWN until it becomes similar to that of local or non-native teachers. (There are plenty of teachers in the Middle East from Pakistan and the Phillipines.)

Also in the future it will probably be more about qualifications than nationality, and general conversation English teaching will disappear completely as the only jobs will be teaching children and various kinds of technical english and test preparation.

Dion said...

That sucks for those who get into English teaching. I've done it a few years ago for a short time, but before I left, the benefits of the job were becoming less.

TEFL SecretAgent said...

'TEFL teaching for native speakers is dying!' - This certainly isn't true in Poland. Native Teachers still get paid twice as much and are very much in demand. But I understand the reasoning, I learn German and Polish and prefer my lessons by natives, they simply do a better job.

Of course, all natives in Poland are expected to have a degree and good teaching cert If you want to get into a good job.I think this sorts the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

There are even a few schools in Wrocław that offer native teachers company cars (Mobile English to name one), so they have more range and teaching opportunities.

Anonymous said...

from your own blog:

"Similar courses by other schools are asking for 1600pln but I am going to way undercut the rate and ask for 800pln per student, to get my foot in the door."

Price wars! Bargain basement English teaching! Slashing prices! Good price for you!