Jul 2011 16

One of the most prominent questions amongst newbies to the ESL world is whether or not ESL training is essential. Now, to say something is essential we are really asking ‘can you become an ESL teacher without any prior training and qualifications?’ If this is your question then the answer is simply yes.

Many long-timers in the ESL industry boast that they got into the industry without any training beforehand. I would say to anyone who wants to get started in ESL teaching that you should think of prior training in terms of value-added to your personal abilities and resume. This is a better mindset to take on when you evaluate ESL training. Training courses come in many forms, some are short and intensive, others are longer in duration. Some are relatively cheap whilst others are incredibly expensive. It usually comes down to your ability to pay and the amount of time you can dedicate to a course. Regardless of which course you choose, lets look at the value of courses generally…

Okay, so you want to be an English teacher but you’ve never stepped foot into a classroom before. You may have done some research but you probably won’t have too much of an idea about what’s involved in the job. Any course should provide an insight into the industry and show you what (in theory, at least) happens in the ESL classroom. It will probably also equip you with the theoretical background you need to understand how to teach English as a foreign language effectively. Just having the knowledge of how it all works, without ever putting it into practice, is a great start. Most courses will also give you some practical experience, usually via role-play, demos and mock lessons. Although this is not the real deal it will give you a feel for what your role will be and probably give you more confidence to take into your first lesson.  Although there are many other reasons why training is important, the most valuable one is that you will have something to add to your resume and job applications. It’s true that there are thousands of jobs out there but having qualifications will certainly give you a step up the ladder.

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