Why complete a TEFLUndertaking a TEFL course with a view to teaching non-native speakers is one of relatively few professional choices I believe that can be said to potentially be of ‘universal benefit.’ It is true of teaching in general that both teachers and pupils learn alike but specifically in consideration of teaching language overseas it could be argued that the global community is the ultimate beneficiary.
Though it may not remain so, it is presently true to observe that english
is the world’s lingua franca. Hence the continuing high demand in an increasing number of countries for native speaking teachers of the english
language. The copious personal and professional opportunities therefore that extend from taking a TEFL course are obvious, but I will return to the benefits for the individual at the conclusion, in favour now of focussing on the bigger picture; the aforementioned ‘universal benefit’.
For the foreseeable future english
will remain the primary or unifying language of international trade, law, science, diplomacy and so forth. It represents a linguistic ‘centre ground’ around which all interested parties must usually meet to achieve understanding. It is the language of what presently remains the world’s most successful exporter of cultural content, America. Therefore it remains a near ubiquitious and highly desired language to those not born to it. On a level closer to the experiences of myself as a traveller, more often than not it is the communicative glue of the travel community; the most common linguistic foundation of interactions between fellow travellers and their hosts. I even once observed two German couples converse in pigeon english
for ten minutes before realising they were all in fact from Germany. Strange, but true.
Accepting this broad linguistic reach, contributing to the development of english
language comprehension and deployment in host countries via TEFL is, in my opinion, from a grass roots, nuts and bolts level contributing to the process of an increasing and increasingly beneficial level of communication between the world’s peoples. It’s not meant to sound high minded but is merely an expression of true and ongoing potential. Whether it be the child who will later help his family run their guest house or the business entrepreneur (present or future) that the TEFL teacher
is helping to plug in with greater ease to the international discourse, the TEFL tecaher is helping to build constructive dialogue beyond classroom role plays. When teaching language, the maxim that teaching is an act of empowerment rings truer than ever.
As the world’s population continues to expand yet those lives become increasingly knit together by exponential advances in communications technologies (and accessability to them) an individual student’s potential in this new ‘flat’ world is greatly increased through a knowledge of the english
language. The ‘flat world’ is the core concept of the American journalist Thomas Friedman’s 2005 book ‘The World is Flat’ a book concerned with observing the new and true picture of a world as an arena where the potential for employment, entrepreneurship and social elevation take place on an increasingly levelled or flattened playing field. A playing field onto which increasing tens of millions of players from emerging economies can step. Aside from technology, access to education and communication are the key drivers in this pan-global process. Therefore command of the ‘common’ language’ remains key which is where a TEFL teacher
can step in at almost any point of the arena.
The potential benefits to the students being taught by TEFL qualified teachers are abundantly apparent in nurturing their future prospects with regards to domestic or international higher education, career development, financial and social reward. Concurrently the benefits to the teacher who’s taken a TEFL course and followed it through into an international teaching career with diligence and enthusiasm are also potentially limitless. High and sustainable demand for their skills could lead them in any number of career directions in any number of exciting destinations around the world.
I accept that in this response to the topic header ‘Why complete a TEFL course?’ I may have ballooned my particular take on the subject to a proportion not intended by the subject setter but I believe it’s a relevant tangent or trend worth noting. The idea that a beneficiary of a TEFL course potentially benefits not only themselves and the immediate classroom context they find themselves in, but is playing their own tiny and rewarding role in the ongoing positive process of global communication and interrelation is one worth dwelling on I feel.