Benefits of The TEFL Course for Non-Native English Speaking Teachers
I was born and raised in Taiwan. I have finished my junior college level before I came to the USA at the age of 25. I was able to read and do some writing but not speak English. I have gotten both a bachelor's degree in Accounting and a master's degree in Teaching English as a second language (it was called that time). But I have not used my teaching degree for the years that I have lived in the US. Later, I went back to school for physician associated degree to practice medicine and it has been for the past 20 years.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Crystal C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
I choose this topic because I am not a native English speaker, although I have lived in the USA for the past 34 years more than I lived in Taiwan. I have their advantages, but also some disadvantages. I will overcome the disadvantages first, then reinforce the advantages.
Most of the time non-native English speakers are discouraged in their pursuit of teaching English as a foreign language. With this TEFL certification course and training, anyone who can speak fluent English also can be a great teacher, I believe. We just need to have more self-confident.
First of all, I will have to prove that I have gotten the required language level to teach English, which is usually not required for a native English speaker. In my case, I will need to present my TEFL certification, education diploma and years working experience in the US to my future students and employers.
It is not possible to know everything in one language. I can speak, write and read the Mandarin well but still don't know everything in this language. So, being a non-native English speaking teacher could lead to awkward situations when a student asks for something that I do not know. Even though I am fluent in English, there are still some words or grammar that I do not know, or always remember, especially the ones that are not used daily.
If this happens, I will tell them that I do not remember and will look for the information to be able to give them an accurate answer as soon as possible. I won't pretend I know everything just like I practice medicine would rather search the right answer before giving the wrong information. It is very important to build a trust relationship between teachers and students. Being able to trust each other is a great factor that helps to maintain a good atmosphere in the class.
Also Read: The Top 5 Places to Teach English in Vietnam
What are the advantages of non-native teachers?
Besides these disadvantages, as a non-native English, speaking teacher has his/her advantages as well. I also had to learn English which makes me easy to understand the students’ struggles and frustrations as I had to face the same issues that they have. I believe I can help them overcome these feelings easier than the teachers who didn't have the same experiences.
Also if some students want to give up because they feel like they are behind the group or do not understand some grammars. I will remind them that I also went through the same things as well. I will encourage them to remember "Rome was not built in a day". By saying this, students will realize that they can relate to me because I understand them. Learning English is possible even though it is a long journey. It will make them gain confidence and motivation which is a very important factor to learn a new language.
Also Read: 7 Awesome Ideas for Business English Classes
It also will make it easier to anticipate the mistakes that the students will make while learning new grammar. I probably made the same problem before. The advantage is, I will know what to highlight during a lesson to avoid these mistakes. I will save more time and allow the students to spend more time being creative during the “activate” phase of a lesson.
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Finally, I believe that the advantages of being a non-native English speaking teacher outweigh the disadvantages. I will have more empathy toward the students which will create a comfortable and less stressful learning environment for students.
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