TEFL stands for teaching English as a foreign language. TEFL is most commonly used when speaking about teaching English to learners who live outside a native English speaking country. TEFL is sometimes used in place of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language)
Teachers of English are increasingly sought after particularly in our globalized world whereby success in a language that has millions of speakers is crucial. English is spoken by more than 300 million native speakers, and between 400 and 800 million foreign users. There are estimated to be around 1 billion people learning English throughout the world. It is the official language of air transport and shipping; the prominent language of science, technology, computers, and commerce; and a large medium of education, publishing, and international negotiation. All these factors make English very desirable to learn. Hence scholars commonly refer to its latest phase as ‘ World English’.
Additionally as Declan pointed out in his week one blog, encouraging bilingualism in our education system is very important. Learning languages increases mobility, communication and employability (Language, Linguistics and Area Studies, 2005). As Declan rightly said the more languages you speak the more job markets are open to you. Sandra also highlighted some of the benefits of Bilingualism in her week two blog.
Influential research by Pearl and Lambert (1962) has advanced the area of the advantages of bilingualism and shown how it can improve ones intellect by giving one ‘superiority in concept formation, and a more diversified set of mental abilities’ (Pearl and Lambert, 1962, p.20). Specifically bilingualism can improved ones metalinguistic knowledge, theory of mind and pronunciation L2 (Myers-Scotton, 2006). Flege et al. (2002) among other factors.
Pearl and Lamberts positive findings have been mirrored in many other studies into bilingualism ever since especially in Western Ontario and areas of Canada (Liedtke and Nelson 1986; Bain, 1974; Cummins and Gulutsan, 1974), Switzerland (Balkan, 1970), Israel (Ben-Zeev, 1977a), South Africa (Ianco-Worrall, 1972), and the United States (Ben-Zeev, 1977b; Duncan and De Avila, 1979).
Metalinguistic knowledge and the mental flexibility linked with this form of knowledge is also enhanced in bilinguals (Myers-Scotton, 2006). Research is emerging to indicate that bilingual children who experience two languages from birth demonstrate superior performance on TOM false belief tasks in comparison to their monolingual equivalents (Goetz, 2003; Kovacs, 2009).
Also bilinguals are at an advantage when it comes to finding the alternative meaning of stimuli in particular at reversing ambiguous figures. Bilingual children were more successful than monolinguals in seeing the other meaning in the images (Bialystok and Shaper, 2005).
There are places throughout the UK to get qualified and if not courses can be taken online. One can get qualified with i-to-i that carry out courses throughout the UK and online and there is also the British council that adminsiters standardized qualifications. Many of the official institutions that administer TEFL certificates also provide information on finding a job and a list of current vacancies.
The RSA/Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) and the Trinity TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificates are the most widely known and respected qualifications. Both involve a four-week training programme. A lot of entry-level teaching positions ask for one out of two of these qualifications. If you don’t have them you will usually earn less or, in certain countries, it may be challenging to find a teaching position.
International House (IH) in particular is a well-respected, world-wide organisation that provides CELTA teacher training in centres in countries around the world.
If you are flexible about the money you earn and want to work in a beautiful country Thailand, Ecuador, or Indonesia are good places to teach. But if you require more income Eastern Europe, Turkey, or Taiwan are good options. Teaching English in South Korea or Japan is also good for earning money. But if you are looking for the cream of the crop in terms of income and are ok with a very hot climate, the absolute best-paying jobs are mostly found in the Middle East. But obviously how much you earn within these countries varies greatly depending on the institution you are working at. Generally Universities and private educational institutions will pay better than independent smaller schools. But a lot of TEFL teachers supplement what they earn by giving private tuitoring.
So……the world is your oyster!
Bain, B. (1974). Bilingualism and cognition: Toward a general theory. In Bilingualism, biculturalism, and education: Proceedings from the conference at College Universitaire Saint Jean, ed. S. T. Carey. Edmonton: University of Alberta Printing Department.
Balkan, L. (1970). Les effets du bilinguisme francais-anglais sur les aptitudes intellectuelles. Bruxelles: Aimav.
Ben Zeev, S. (1977a). Mechanisms by which child-hood bilingualism affects understanding of language and cognitive structures. In P. A. Hornby (Ed.), Bilingualism: Psychological, social, and educational implications (pp. 29-55). New York: Academic Press.
Cummins, J., and M. Gulutsan. (1974). Bilingual education and cognition. Alberta Journal of Educational Research 20: 259-69.
Duncan, S. E., and E. A. De Avila. (1979). Bilingualism and cognition: Some recent findings. NABE Journal 4: 15-50.
Flege, J. E., Mackay, I. R., and Piske, T. (2002). Assessing bilingual dominance. Applied Psycholinguistics 23: 567-98.
Goetz, P. J. (2003). The effects of bilingualism on Theory of Mind development. Bilingualism: Language and Congition, 6, 1-15.
Ianco-Worrall, A. (1972). Bilingualism and cognitive development. Child Development. 43: 1390-1400
Kovacs, A. M. (2009). Early bilingualism enhances mechanisms of false belief reasoning. Developmental Science, 12, 48-54
Liedtke, W. W., and Nelson., L. D. (1986). Concept formation and bilingualism. Alberta Journal of Educational Research 14: 225-32.
Myers-Scotton, C. (2006). Multiple Voices An Introduction to Bilingualism. Blackwell Publishing Australia.
Pearl, E., & Lambert, W. E. (1962). The relation of bilingualism to intelligence. Psychological Monographs, 76, 1-23.