Friday, December 10, 2010

Reader Question...difference between English/ESL

This one from Sam:

"I have a B.A in English (Literature & Composition).  I also have a Masters in Science: Curriculum,Instruction, & Assessment. There is a job in Korea that is seeking an ESL Teacher.  Are my degrees sufficient or do I need more experience with ESL?  What are the major difference from teaching mainstream English as opposed to teaching ESL? Any suggestions would be helpful."

To answer the first part.  Your qualifications are more than sufficient.  All you need is a BA in basket weaving to teach here.  If you want to work at a uni, standards are a bit higher but you seem to have it covered with your masters degree.

Secondly, teaching ESL and teaching mainstream English are a world apart.  If you have extremely high level students, and are teaching an "English writing" or "English literature" class then it might be somewhat comparable to what you'd be doing back home.  Except these jobs are few and far between in Korea.  At my uni, only 2 or 3 out of the 25 of us actually teach these high level classes.  Anyway, the major difference is that you won't be teaching content, you'll be teaching very basic English vocab, grammar and conversation strategies.  If you have lower-level students, then think, "How are you today" and "What color is this?"  Mid-level students, then think, "What's your favorite movie?"  or "What did you eat for breakfast today?" 

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