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Is A Degree In ESL Worth It

A recent poll asked whether English teachers should have a degree of some type. Approximately 64% of the respondents thought they should have a degree for teaching ESL: quite a high "yes" because, as always, there were some "don't know" meanings that makes the "no" camp very small.

I am generally in favor of teachers being first educated to degree level. This is not some arbitrary snobbery or elitism. Teaching requires a trained mind. A teacher has to be analytical, methodical and able to reason. By following a first degree, a person is required to flex all these mental muscles. This is not to say that people without degrees do not have these abilities, but the degree is at least a tangible piece of evidence to show an employer.

Then a teacher needs to be mature. Dealing with students is not always easy and an immature person could be overwhelmed by the pressures. By setting a degree as the pre-training threshold for teachers, we also by default, ensure that the teacher is not too young.

It is possible to train in teaching English in just four weeks. By requiring teachers to have a degree, we should be ensuring that the person has some intellectual furniture. Teachers need to be well informed to command respect. So, yes, on balance, I think that English teachers should be educated to a degree level.

But, I hear the opposition say, what about people who have all these qualities but never had the opportunity to study at a university? Well, I am happy to accept that there will be exceptions. If a person can demonstrate that his or her capabilities are equal to those of a person who has completed their higher education, then that's fine by me. But let them remain exceptions. I don't see why we should hesitate to set high standards for the profession as the general rule. After all, nearly all professions today require a degree, don't they?

About the Author:

By: Brenda Townsend Hall
Brenda Townsend Hall, a contributing editor to ESLemployment, is a writer in the fields of English for business, cross-cultural awareness and business communications. Interested in receiving TEFL job listings weekly for free? To learn more visit TEFL Jobs.

04.12.2006. 09:47


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