Tag Archives: teaching English

How important is a TEFL qualification for teaching English abroad?

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) are often seen as important qualifications for UK teachers working overseas. How important are they in Spain and are they worth the study and expense?

Qualified teachers looking for work in Spain are best advised to look for work in a British/International school. These schools will value the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) from the United Kingdom and the work expected will be familiar to teachers used to working as a class teacher in the United Kingdom.

If you are not a qualified teacher then the work market is a little more uncertain. Some independent schools, including British and International schools, may well consider unqualified teachers and in addition may have teaching assistant positions available.

So, what are the advantages of being TEFL qualified?

A TEFL qualification improves your employability and may well improve your salary.

If you are a qualified teacher and you are looking to teach the  National Curriculum or an International curriculum abroad then a TEFL qualification will not be as important as your teaching qualification and experience. However, if you are looking to schools that have a high proportion of students for whom English is not their home language then you are going to need to demonstrate knowledge and confidence in how these students learn English. Working in Spain I quickly realised that Spanish students have a theoretical knowledge of their own language that is significantly above the knowledge possessed by English students of their own language. Helping these students move forward in their learning then requires a strong understanding of grammar. If you don’t know your past participles from your gerunds or struggle to identify a predicate then perhaps a course to boost you grammar knowledge might be extremely useful.

Teacher who are not qualified and are looking for work as a language teacher or looking to work as assistants in international schools would certainly benefit from a TEFL qualification.

Anything you can do to add to your CV and demonstrate that you have prepared for the work for which you are applying can only be a positive. A high quality TEFL qualification teaches valuable strategies to help students with meaningful learning. It should give a strong grounding in the rules governing the English language whilst also providing ideas or materials to help in classroom. TEFL courses range in length from 20 hour introductory courses through to 140 hour intensive courses providing all the tuition and materials you would ever need to teach English as a second language. The important point is to ensure that your TEFL qualification comes from a reliable provider. There are a huge number of providers and many of them offer qualifications that sound on paper equal and yet in practice may not be recognised.

Are you considering a TEFL qualification? Would you like to complete your study and gain you qualification using professionally developed online resources?


i-to-i

i-to-i are an internationally recognised provider of TEFL qualifications and are currently offering a 50€ discount on some of their top selling products. They offer a free taster to help you decide which course is right for you and also offer a free consultation with an advisor. Their aim is to ensure that you have a worthwhile training experience and that your TEFL qualification equips you effectively for teaching English.  Click below for a list of courses that i-to-i can offer online.


Happy New Adventure

Click here for TEFL Courses Home

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Shareday Friday – 10 tips for working with EAL pupils

Each week I gift something to the educational community online. This week I have been raiding our English as an Additional Language (EAL) policy for 10 practical tips to support EAL learners. In a school where over 95% of our learners have English as a second or even third language, a coherent and consistent approach to supporting these learners is vital.

Here then are 10 tips taken from our EAL policy.

1: Simplify the language, not the task
2: Provide regular opportunities for pupils to hear and read quality models of English.
3: Make use of instructions, explanations, illustrations and prior rehearsal to enable EAL pupils to take an active part in lessons.
4: Provide time for pupils to practice using language.
5: Make use of visual and auditory aids to support pupils in both developing English and also in concept development.
6: Clearly identify and focus on target language associated with the subject content.
7: Comment explicitly on language forms, functions and structures used to convey the curriculum content.
8: Encourage pupils to engage in talk which supports their understanding and uses the language models provided by the teacher.
9: Identify lack of competence in English and learning difficulties separately and support the two using appropriate strategies both in class and in specific interventions.
10: Make sure pupils read in English every day and that this is monitored and promoted by the class teacher.

Do you have tips of your own for working with EAL students? Add them in the comments box below.

Teaching bi-lingual and EAL learners in primary schools
by Jean Conteh

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Common English errors made by Spanish speakers

This is the second part of my explanation of some of the most common errors made by native Spanish students together with advice about how they can be corrected by the teacher.

Part one can be found here.

8: Comparative and superlative adjectives
In Spanish comparative and superlative adjectives are formed without changing the adjective.
Literally translated a Spanish comparative would read “Carlos is more tall than Miguel”.
And the same but with a superlative, “Carlos is the more big”.
Comparative adjectives are formed with the Spanish words “más” and “que”. This can create additional confusion as the word “como” for “as” in Spanish when creating the comparative leads some Spanish students to substitute the word “like”. This leads to constructs such as “Carlos is the big like Miguel”.
With the superlative in English we use “most” with long (3 syllable +)  adjectives but add “est” to short adjectives. Spanish learners find “ed” and  “ing” adjectives confusing. Spanish students need time to practise with the adjectives and of course, as with everything in English, there is a long list of irregular words when we are looking at superlatives.
“Long, longer, longest” might be easier to understand than “good, better, best”.

9. Possessive adjectives and gender confusion
“She is reading his (instead of her) book.” In Spanish the possessive “su/sus” agrees in number but not in gender. Consequently Spanish students have a tendency to try and create agreement between the subject and the object of the sentence. They need to be taught that in English the possessive indicates the person possessing the noun.

10. Apostrophe for possession
“The house of my grandmother”. Spanish uses the word “de” (meaning “of”) to indicate possession. Consequently the notion of using the apostrophe to indicate possession is confusing. This needs explaining together with the rules for how to write the apostrophe if for example the word is plural.

11. Negatives
Negatives are often incorrectly structured by Spanish students. You may here sentences such as “I no like the pizza”, or even double negatives such as “I no have no books.”
The reason for the mistake is that in Spanish there is no use of auxiliaries or contractions to form negatives. Double negatives are possible in Spanish. Consequently students need to learn which auxiliary verb to use in which situation and how to form the necessary contractions.

12. Question tags
Spanish students struggle to construct questions in English. “You like the ice-cream, yes?” Spanish doesn’t repeat the auxiliary verb in order to make a question tag. Spanish uses what in England is often referred to as “upspeak”, raising the tone of the voice at the end of a statement to turn it into a question. The other standard part of Spanish speech is to add a word at the end of the statement to help in converting it to a question, for example, “yes”, “no”, or “true”.

Great English mistakes made by Spanish speakers
by Peter Harvey

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