Is It The Beginning Of The End For The English Language School?
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English Language Academies.

English Language Schools or Academies for English Foreign Learners or English Second Language learners abound in just about any Western European country; and have been doing so, for the best part of 30 years. Moreover, in the last 15 years, since red tape for prospective teachers has eased, this has become the case in Eastern Europe, Asia, America and Australasia. The market for teaching English remains buoyant and as I write, there are no indications of any major changes in the next 30 years: Or are there?

More recent ripples.

It's evident that we are in the midst of a massive transitional period, mainly spurred on by the advent of the internet, 4G capacity, as well as social media and forums galore; not to mention our newly acquired transitive memories (we can google just about anything these days, whenever and wherever we want with our smart phones and tablets on the move). How has this changed the landscape of the omnipresent English Language School?

The landscape at the moment.

English Language Academies continue to do business and some have even positively embraced new technology and have attempted to move with the times. Old fashioned blackboards and whiteboards have given way to swanky electronic whiteboards and computers. Over head projectors (OHPs) with their super retro transparencies that you could actually write on, have been replaced by internet ready laptops with real projectors. The quality of Language Schools obviously vary immensely across the board but as a rule of thumb, teachers that work for these institutions normally have some type of TESL certificate and often a degree in any subject; and this should equip them to embark upon a job as an English teacher to Second Language Learners. The schools often like to employ a majority of native English language speakers because it attracts prospective students and is thus a clear selling point.

Celebrity like status?

Bright young teachers are often the preference of the modern language school. These new teachers are often more internet savvy and appeal to an increasingly younger demographic. Of course, someone in their mid 20's, is much more likely to toe the line, be humbly exploited and finely molded into whatever type of teacher the school desires. Unfortunately, 'ageism' is all too prevalent within the world of ESL and some schools even openly advertise 'over 35's need not apply.' They ask for prospective teachers to send in a photo of themselves (I can only assume to make sure that the person looks the part). Of course, this is quite unethical, but as a broad brush stroke analysis, it is probable that at least a younger teacher might be more adept at handling new technology.

The ideal scenario

Well this is not that simple. Schools should ideally employ a mixture of experienced teachers that can not only mentor their younger counterparts, but can also share ideas and possibly receive instruction and constructive criticism themselves. Language school owners need to be fully inclusive and employ people on their merits as teachers, not on their age, looks, sex or creed. If they have a native speaker policy only, they need to make this clear and indeed implement this. However, they should also be aware that with an ever increasing non-native speaker faction, who are totally fluent in English (albeit with the odd pronunciation and grammatical error) it might be prudent for schools to employ a few non-native teachers to redress this ever changing landscape.

The present reality

Many people have decided to set themselves up as teachers online, industriously creating websites and conducting a range of lessons online; often using youtube to present a language point or teach an area of grammar, etc. Having done a lot of research myself, I can conclude that there are some very well made, slick videos out there. There are also some extremely dubious teachers masquerading as 'qualified' and 'experienced' when this could not be further from the truth. Times are changing and there is still a definite role for the traditional language school because it is so important to get personal exposure to a language speaker, who knows how to teach the language. However, there is also room for experienced, qualified teachers to fully exploit the internet and give quality lessons using VoIP services like Skype. Click here for an example of this. We have to bear in mind that there is an ever burgeoning population of internet savvy people who prefer lessons from the comfort of their homes; with personal attention from an experienced, qualified and good looking teacher!


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Rick13  

haha i hadnt joined no wonder all is cool Rick

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Rick13  

Thanks for the info i dont seem to be able to click "like" its probably me but you might want to check . All the Best Rick

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