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TEFL in Asia

Cultural Awareness

Diary submitted by Adam Mc M, Valencia

TEFL in Asia.

As TEFL expands across the world one must also appreciate that with this, and with changing the culture that a teacher is learning in, they will encounter different cultural challenges. Some of these may include the fact that Asian countries are more used to rote learning or the fact you may not need to take a TEFL course but rather CELTA. 

Asian countries tend to lean more towards learning from wrote. If we look at China, we can see that even their own language requires them to learn around 4,000 characters. To put this into perspective, Chinese is rated in the highest category of difficulty for foreigner learners which means that to acquire a proficient level one must study more than 2000 hours. This will then carry into how they would learn any other language. However, it has worked for them in the past so why would they change methodology. After having my own share of Chinese students in class in Spain I have noticed that most seem to be receptive to you simply explaining your plan for the class any why it will work. Usually each student would want to somewhat lead the class if they felt it was not going as they expected. However, after explaining what I intended to do further on in the lesson they seemed to be more open to following along. This, however, will of course vary from individual to individual. 

Furthermore, one might not even be expected to take a TEFL course. This may vary from school to school however generally the best may be to take a CELTA course. Unfortunately for the teacher these tend to be expensive and can be up to £2,000. There is also a lot of content and one would need to work quite hard to obtain such a certification. Although afterwards you are more likely to reap the rewards. EFL teachers are reported to earn up to $2,500 per month from private language schools.  This could be a good place to start for anyone wishing to follow this path. 

Overall, China can present some problems for EFL teachers, especially if you are underqualified or do not hold the right qualifications that the institution requires. Students can occasionally be difficult to handle however, if given direction, and using the right methods, it can be a very rewarding experience, both for the student and teacher, financially and otherwise. 

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