All canny religions and TEFL is no exception, offer confession and then redemption. Confess your sins of grammatical omission and TEFL will grant absolution with a certificate to prove it. Also, like most religions, it has branches everywhere. This is how most potential worshippers are recruited. For example, if you go online, you will find the cryptically named, ?Dave&acute;s ESL Cafe&acute;s Teacher Training Forum.? It is packed with attractive bite sized pieces of information and the usual testimonials by the Stepford Student?s. From the inevitable, "Better than I could have hoped." To the unintentionally funny, "My head is now full of ideas." Further up or down the advertising food chain, is the ?workabroad? website which tries to attract its TEFL worshippers in the pithy narrative style: ?Be prepared to work your butt off! A full-time TEFL course is intense to say the least??My particular burning bush was on the TEFL International website, offering sun, sea and syntax in a town called Phuket, Thailand. By the way, if you?re a psychiatrist don?t come to Phuket. There are not enough ??issues?? here for an afternoon seminar, or even light banter at the coffee break. However, if you are a psychiatrist?s patient, you?re already here. Phuket is a dream world, if you can navigate your way around the nightmare of ?Gap year? students and English Hairdressers. Their faked world weariness and endless demands for, ?? fresh orange juice?? always make me pretend I can?t speak English, which, as it turned out, I couldn?t. On the other hand, Phuket is as charming as a Fellini film. The entire population taking to their scooters. Whole families precariously perched where even the street dogs inscrutably smile. This then was the setting for my experience of a TEFL course. The class of TEFL 2006 gathered, some nights, on the front porch of the hotel. Americans, Australians, Scots, Irish and me. We clutch our ice cold bottled lager to our humid brows and listen to the frogs and crickets, which make the loudest noise in Thailand. The girls dab their thin pale necks with silken handkerchiefs acquired from numerous quibbling expeditions to the Phuket night market, whilst we ?men? stand imperious on the marble tiled verandah, pontificating on Diphthongs and the shocking price of taxis, in Thailand, which have gone up scandalously from 10 pennies to 12 pennies. The TEFL course itself, is like divorce and Denim flares; unfinished business. It is the ghost of grammar past, scolding us for skipping English lessons, not starting homework and cheating in exams.However, if you dare to call yourself an English teacher, then TEFL it is the painful price you have to pay. Be prepared to endure many trials and torments, the worse, of these, is being taught how to write and speak English, properly, by an American. Is the Phuket TEFL course the most organized and efficient TEFL course? Probably not! Does it have the most comprehensive and up to date syllabus? I don?t care! ?That there&acute;s some corner of a foreign field that is forever English. . ? is because of the eclectic, well trained staff. The staff has a virtue that can?t be audited or accredited. They accepted me! They played patient, proud parent to my kicking, screaming child. They put up until I shut up! I will never forget this. I will also never forgive the lack of hot water in the school accommodation.
1 From the idea that, ?effective teaching requires a familiarity with learning and language acquisition theories.? 2 Having read, ?The Thai butterfly? 3 Misquote from: The Soldier : Rupert Brooke
BIBLIOGRAPHY http://www.eslcafe.com/discussion/dz1/index.cgi?read=1408936407 http://www.ajarn.com/Education/TEFL_courses/viacomments http://www.bootsnall.com/toolkit/workabroad/tefl.shtml http://www.poetry-online.org/brooke_the_soldier (See footnote 3) http://www.englishamerica.com/cert_pro1 (See footnote 1) http://www.thethaibutterfly.com/ (see footnote 2)
Author: Steven Raine
Date of post: 2006-08-25