How Teaching English in Foreign Countries Expands Your Horizons


teacherIf you would like to experience life outside your comfort zone and enhance the lives of others as you meet challenges head on, teaching English in foreign countries can be the catalyst that expands your horizons and renews your commitment to making the world a more interesting place. Once school is over and you decide that you would like to make a difference in the world you should consider teaching English in a location where you can truly make a difference. Let’s take a look at how working to teach people in foreign countries English as a foreign language can help you to grow and develop as a person.

Teaching English in Foreign Countries Allows You to Travel


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If you enjoy experiencing travel, eating new foods, enjoying different cultures, and having life experiences that are second to none, teaching in a foreign country can be just the solution that you need to stretch you beyond your current growth. With the money that you earn from your teaching job you can also travel around the country to visit the major attractions and engage in activities that are offered in this location.

Expand Your Personal Growth by Teaching English in Foreign Countries

When you decide to leave your comfortable and familiar surroundings you can use the opportunity to redefine who you are and the beliefs that you hold dear. Working with children of any age or corporations which have a strong desire to learn English as a foreign language can help you to determine where you’ve been in your life and the path that you want to take from this point forward. Enabling corporate executives to use their own wisdom instead of using translation software which isn’t always reliable will provide you with a level of satisfaction that is rewarding in itself. You’ll be able to focus more on the things that really matter to you, to read more about things that interest you, and to concentrate on your own personal growth and development.

Make a Difference in the Lives of Others by Teaching English in Foreign Countries

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As you help others acquire English proficiency and reach some of their personal goals you will feel a tremendous satisfaction; by enabling others to get what they want you make a difference in their lives that directly impacts your own life. You will be a positive force in the lives of your students so be sure to accept this responsibility with a commitment to excellence and integrity. Making a difference after your TEFL Academy training will demonstrate to you the value of taking this step toward helping others in a life-changing manner.

By Teaching English in Foreign Countries You Can Follow Your Dreams

Do you dream of visiting foreign lands and seeing those attractions that you once viewed in your school books as a child? Do you think there is more to life than assuming a role and staying in once place forever? Following your dreams is a simple accomplishment if you take a job teaching English in a foreign country. You can spend your leisure time exploring the countryside, enjoying the cuisine, and learning about the culture of the land.

It’s never too late to expand your horizons; taking that first step toward learning new skills and talents for teaching English abroad will be one that you come to think you should have made months ago.


Guest Plog Post from: Suzi McKee

Suzi McKee is an honor graduate of the University of Maine and has spent the last 43 years both teaching English on the secondary level and supervising the English as a Second Language for her public school system in Tennessee. For the last five years, Suzi has also worked as an Independent Journalist for companies around the globe writing blogs as well as content and marketing pieces. In her spare time, Suzi enjoys riding with her husband on their Harley-Davidson through the mountains of East Tennessee and North Carolina.



How to Fix the Top Pronunciation Errors Made by ESL Learners


According to the 2013 Open Doors on International Education Exchange Report, about 283,000 American students went abroad in a single year for academic credit. Many of them love the countries they visit, and they decide to return after graduation, opting to become English teachers to financially support their time overseas.

Completing on online master’s degree and earning TEFL credentials (like an online TEFL master’s program) can put students into the fast lane for English teaching positions. It also gives them the chance to return to America with both a master’s degree and teaching experience on their resumes.
One common challenge that overseas English teachers encounter is how to correct their students’ English pronunciation without making them afraid to speak in front of peers. To strike the right balance, ESL teachers should learn the most common pronunciation errors that students make along with simple strategies for correcting students without discouraging them.

What Are the Most Common English Pronunciation Problems?
According to ESL teacher Claudia Pesce, who works in Buenos Aires, Argentina, students who are learning to speak English deal with seven common pronunciation errors:man-woman-papers

  1. “Th.” Many students pronounce “th” the way that “th” is pronounced in the word “Thames.” Let students know this is the least common way to pronounce “th.” Also, when pronouncing “th” as in the word “three,” remind students that there is no vocalization during the “th” sound.
  2. The schwa. The schwa sound is the “uh” sound that is unstressed, such as the second syllable in the word “chocolate.” Many students try to pronounce every syllable instead of flowing over the schwa. Provide them with examples of the schwa and how to de-stress it in their speech.
  3. “L” vs. “r.” These consonants are often challenging to students from Japan and other Asian countries. Focus on tongue position and on mastering each sound individually before trying to mix “l’ and “r” in conversation.
  4. “V” vs. “w.” Another pronunciation common to native Slavic and other Eastern European speakers is to substitute a “v” sound for a “w” sound. Teach students to start by shaping their mouths to say “o” and then relaxing the lips to form the “w” sound.
  5. Silent “e.” Students may pronounce the word “not” and “note” the same way. They understand that the “e” is silent, but they don’t understand how it changes the pronunciation of the word. Practice with word pairs, showing them how the extra “e” magically changes the pronunciation of the vowel.
  6. Short “i.” Spanish speakers, for example, naturally pronounce the letter “i” as “ee.” When they read the word “sit” aloud, they may mistakenly pronounce it as “seet.” Again, use word pairs to help them practice the vowel difference between words like “sit” and “seat.”
  7. Silent consonants. English uses many silent consonants. For example, the “d” in the word “Wednesday” is not pronounced, but students may not understand why. Pesce suggests writing the word on the board and crossing out the silent letter. Speak the word, have the student repeat it, and then have the student write it down and cross out the silent letter.

How Can Teachers Make Corrections Without Discouraging Students?

Students can be self-conscious about grammatical errors, but they’re usually even more self-conscious about pronunciation errors. How teachers respond depends greatly on the personality of the students and on the emotional safety of the classroom. In a culture that is more deferential or in a classroom of quieter students, avoid asking the student to repeat the word multiple times. Also, avoid asking another student what the speaker meant to say.

student-at-chalkboardEven with more spontaneous and good-humored students, avoid making fun of a mispronunciation or allowing other students to mock the person who made the error. In all cases, teachers should avoid making fun of student errors, even if the student seems to have a self-deprecating sense of humor. Teachers can make notes of common pronunciation errors made by multiple students for the whole class to work on together. They can also jot errors on note cards and hand the note cards to individual students. In many cases, providing students with a checklist of common mispronunciations, particularly before a presentation, can help them to prepare beforehand and to avoid making pronunciation errors.

ESL teachers have to balance the joy of learning language with the necessity of correcting mistakes. By respecting students and providing specific learning strategies for errors, they can make learning fun while also fostering excellence.

How Technology Is Changing the Face of TESOL

Guest Post…

Technology is not only changing how future TESOL teachers are learning their craft but also how their students will learn the English language. With the growing demand for TESOL teachers in public schools, adult education programs and cities with large immigrant and refugee communities, TESOL teachers must now consider the “digital literacy” of their students as well as their English literacy. The first step for anyone interested in TESOL is to gain certification, which might be through an online university TESOL program.

Online Tools for TESOL

While most TESOL programs have a traditional in-the-classroom structure, many more are now available as online programs allowing students from around the world to connect via the Internet, audio tools, voice tools, Second Life (a virtual world), Skype and e-readers.

youngWomanAtComputerA recent development in the online learning world is a voice recording program, which allows students and professors to post audio clips on message boards making the interaction feel more “real.” This technology provides students with the option to listen rather than read posted messages, and for audio learners this could be a significant benefit.

Some professors have also creatively used Second Life as part of their instruction. Rather than hoping the students interact with one another in their avatar personas, the professors encourage them to visit Second Life, find areas where language learning is happening in the virtual world, and observe.

TESOL teachers are taking the technology they used in their academic programs to teach their students because they now understand technology can both assist and enhance language learning. They are using technology like Skype to connect their classroom in the United States with classrooms in other countries where students want to learn English. Other tools are used to adapt classroom activities and homework assignments so that they are targeted to the language learning level of an individual student.

Digital Literacy Issues

However, these technological advancements bring new issues. TESOL teachers must consider if their students have the digital literacy to use these tools.

If part of the instruction is to write journal entries on a personal blog, do they know how to set up a blog and then post their writings? If Skyping with another classroom is part of a weekly assignment, do they know what Skype is and how to use it? Some students will have no difficultly using technology but might need instruction on how to best write for their blog or what they should and should not post on Facebook.

As new technologies continue to evolve, teachers should also consider the impact and benefits for students before immediately adapting them into the curriculum. Do they advance what you are trying to teach or are they just a distraction? It’s also important to remember that no technology is neutral. If you are integrating technology and social media platforms into your students’ writing assignments, the way a platform is structured and whether anonymity is possible will impact their interaction with it. So, make sure the technology works for your students before implementing it into their learning experience.

Technology and the Impact on Future TESOL Teachers

manWithHeadsetWhile language learning technology is a valuable tool, it’s important to note that it doesn’t fully replace a certified language teacher. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages supports the use of technology as a tool in combination with a qualified teacher. However, this will likely be a point of contention as school administrators try to cut costs by purchasing language learning software or online programs rather than hiring certified language teachers.

To assist in the debate, the TESOL International Association has developed “Technology Standards,” which focus on how English language teachers, teacher educators, and administrators can and should use technology in and out of the classroom. The standards build on work done by the National Educational Technology Standards Project in the International Society for Technology in Education, and consist of standards for language learners and language teachers.

Whether a student is learning through technology or in a traditional classroom setting, the instruction should be standards-based and help develop a student’s proficiency in the target language through interactive, meaningful, and cognitively engaging learning experiences, facilitated by a qualified language teacher.


How a Semester in Senegal Shaped our Lives

This post comes from Abroad101 friend and Guest Blogger Mairéad O’Grady, who currently resides in Washington, DC and works at The School for Ethics and Global Leadership as a French teacher and Residential Advisor. Inspired by her MSID semester in Senegal, Mairéad accepted a Grinnell Corps teaching position in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2010, where she spent her first postgraduate year. Now back in America, her work focuses on helping motivated high school students shape themselves into ethical global leaders who create positive change in our world.


Four years ago last month, I boarded an airplane full of strangers destined for Dakar, Senegal.  Most of my fellow passengers were dressed in the colorful garb so emblematic of West Africa, chattering in a language I could not yet recognize with babies slung gracefully across their backs.  The few who wore wide-eyed expressions and more familiar attire were my fellow study abroad students, and we gravitated to each other as we boarded, talking amongst ourselves while nervously imagining the next time we’d touch dry land. Continue reading