This is a question that many new ESL teachers ask themselves and it is a very reasonable question because moving to a different country without speaking the local language creates a lot of anxiety. Learning a foreign language is an important part of the wonderful teaching English abroad experience, but it is not necessary to find a job or teach English effectively.
Applying for Jobs
When you apply for jobs, you will be communicating solely in English and if the employer is not able to communicate well, then it is a good sign that you should be looking somewhere else. Many shady people open cram schools to make a quick buck and close within a year. These companies lack resources, an effective management structure, and do not require their teachers to go through a TESOL certification course.
In the Classroom
Although there are some instances where speaking your students’ mother tongue (L1) is beneficial, using L1 in the classroom is ineffective. The reason native-speakers are in such high demand is because the Communicative Approach is the most effective method for teaching any language. Of course, being a native-speaker is not indicative of the ability to teach English with the communicative approach and TESOL training is necessary to learn the methodology of teaching, but, in essence, the Communicative Approach is about creating situations where students learn and communicate solely in English.
It is highly recommended to make an effort and learn the language of the host country in order to make your daily life more enjoyable and upgrade your credentials. Many people get into TESOL to travel and have fun after completing their university degree, but few take advantage of their experience abroad. In today’s global economy, speaking another language can make a very positive impact on your career.
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