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Opening English academy, advice needed

Opening English academy, advice needed

Old Jul 19th 2013, 9:20 pm
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Default Re: Opening English academy, advice needed

Nearly every Brit in Spain has done a TEFL course...they are very profitable for the people who run them. You can't get a job in a respectable college with just TEFL. They want proper teachers with a PGCE
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Old Jul 19th 2013, 10:18 pm
  #32  
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Default Re: Opening English academy, advice needed

Originally Posted by jackytoo
Nearly every Brit in Spain has done a TEFL course..
Yeh, the weekend courses are popular! Can transform you from a complete numpty to someone that is qualified to teach English in a few hours! Web designers and nail technicians are not far behind. Not sure where they think all these customers for web pages and nails are, eagerly awaiting their arrival, as if there was a shortage of either.
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Old Jul 19th 2013, 10:34 pm
  #33  
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Default Re: Opening English academy, advice needed

Originally Posted by retired in euzkadi
'Let's face it, most native English speakers have poor grammar, let alone the non-native speakers, so it's better to expose children to people who speak English with poor grammar, or with unusual accents, so the children can achieve the primary aim of language: being able to communicate."

You're joking, surely?

On those grounds, most people don't know about plumbing, so they can employ cowboy plumbers, right?
Our Downs son can communicate, but he has no idea of the past or future tense.
I think you need to offer quality firstly. It always pays in the end.
As I said, the current attitude in Spain is that "something is better than nothing". If you can get a native teacher who speaks perfect English then all the better, but there simply aren't enough of those to go round. Second best is a native speaker who doesn't speak received English (like most of us) but will at least get the children speaking English. What you don't want is a grammar freak getting them bogged down in direct and indirect pronouns.

If you want to use the plumbing analogy (which I think is a poor one), is it better to use a cowboy plumber with lots of experience to fix your shower, or a someone with a PhD in fluid dyamics but has never never held a spanner in their life?
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Old Jul 20th 2013, 8:11 am
  #34  
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Default Re: Opening English academy, advice needed

Originally Posted by chopera
As I said, the current attitude in Spain is that "something is better than nothing". If you can get a native teacher who speaks perfect English then all the better, but there simply aren't enough of those to go round. Second best is a native speaker who doesn't speak received English (like most of us) but will at least get the children speaking English. What you don't want is a grammar freak getting them bogged down in direct and indirect pronouns.

If you want to use the plumbing analogy (which I think is a poor one), is it better to use a cowboy plumber with lots of experience to fix your shower, or a someone with a PhD in fluid dyamics but has never never held a spanner in their life?
Good point.
I am regularly asked in the village to give English lessons, but I try to put people off and rarely take the job on. Right now I have one student as a favour to her dad who has done some favours for us...so I couldn't refuse.
I always say that I can teach pronunciation and vocabulary well, but even though my own grammar is good I just can't teach it because I never learned it. However I can spot a grammar mistake at 50 paces! A lot of kids of around 16, 17(ish) don't really want to learn to speak English. They want to pass exams because their parents have pushed them into it. One problem I've found is how many mistakes there can be on the English exam papers! Some of them are really shockingly bad and have clearly been written by non-native speakers. Some even have mistakes that will skew the answers required to be wrong if they're answered correctly...if you catch my drift. How you can teach a young person to negotiate the minefield of mistakes and still have any confidence in passing the exams I don't know! Then after they have passed them they still have no spoken English at all, as anyone who has ever spoken to the 'English speaking' team at Movistar will know!
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Old Jul 20th 2013, 11:10 am
  #35  
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Default Re: Opening English academy, advice needed

Originally Posted by angiescarr
Good point.
I am regularly asked in the village to give English lessons, but I try to put people off and rarely take the job on. Right now I have one student as a favour to her dad who has done some favours for us...so I couldn't refuse.
I always say that I can teach pronunciation and vocabulary well, but even though my own grammar is good I just can't teach it because I never learned it. However I can spot a grammar mistake at 50 paces! A lot of kids of around 16, 17(ish) don't really want to learn to speak English. They want to pass exams because their parents have pushed them into it. One problem I've found is how many mistakes there can be on the English exam papers! Some of them are really shockingly bad and have clearly been written by non-native speakers. Some even have mistakes that will skew the answers required to be wrong if they're answered correctly...if you catch my drift. How you can teach a young person to negotiate the minefield of mistakes and still have any confidence in passing the exams I don't know! Then after they have passed them they still have no spoken English at all, as anyone who has ever spoken to the 'English speaking' team at Movistar will know!
this is an ongoing issue.... both of my daughters have in the past had poor grades in English now & then....

on one occasion it was perfectly deserved, but having seen the exam papers on several & taken issue with the teacher the grades have been put right..


we're very lucky that the head of languages at their secondary school spent some years in the UK & speaks very 'natural' English - she spots mistakes in course material & corrects it

she also gets the native English speakers involved with helping with oral work with the Spanish kids - & the native English speakers study GCSE level English - not just the colours & numbers!
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Old Jul 20th 2013, 11:35 am
  #36  
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Default Re: Opening English academy, advice needed

The one problem with the "something is better than nothing" attitude of the Spanish teaching system is that that's what they'll get; hence Spain's very low position in the European league table of 'standard of English spoken'.

I don't think either that 'most English speak RP (Received Pronunciation). I'm originally from Lincolnshire & always say 'grass' rather than 'graaaas', etc. There's an awful lot of people north of the Midlands.

Grammar is not that difficult really. All one needs is a decent English grammar book & read up on the topic that one might be teaching. Eg, countable & uncountable nouns.
What's more difficult is intonation Eg "who's drunk my beer" where the voice begins high & gradually descends.
I agree, you don't want a grammar freak, which tends to happen in Spanish schools, simply because it's easy to teach a series of mind-numbing exercises relating to a grammatical point.

I have often wished that English taught in English schools could include giving students an understanding of our language as it is taught to 'foreigners'.
That way, they'd appreciate its structure much more.
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Old Jul 20th 2013, 12:18 pm
  #37  
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Default Re: Opening English academy, advice needed

Originally Posted by angiescarr
Has anyone done an online TEFL course BTW? I'm giving classes more and more often but can't teach Grammar confidently.
I didn't do an online course, and tbh I can't see how such a course (especially the cheapo weekend versions) could give you experience in, for example, class control, prompting student talk time etc.
If you can, take the 4 week course with an established teacher training school. This won't make you an expert overnight, but it'll show you how to add grammar elements to each class. There are plenty of grammar books printed that you can use for homework study, plus a good textbook will introduce grammar elements to each unit (for example they may practise the present perfect in one chapter, then do some conditional work in the next chapter). Preparation is key - so you make sure you're comfortable with grammar points (as well as phonetic pronuciation etc) prior to the lessons coming up. And if you ever get caught out you just say "That's a good point Ana - we're going to go into detail on that point next lesson..." - but make sure you read up on it for the next time.
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Old Jul 20th 2013, 6:38 pm
  #38  
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Default Re: Opening English academy, advice needed

Originally Posted by retired in euzkadi
The one problem with the "something is better than nothing" attitude of the Spanish teaching system is that that's what they'll get; hence Spain's very low position in the European league table of 'standard of English spoken'.

I don't think either that 'most English speak RP (Received Pronunciation). I'm originally from Lincolnshire & always say 'grass' rather than 'graaaas', etc. There's an awful lot of people north of the Midlands.

Grammar is not that difficult really. All one needs is a decent English grammar book & read up on the topic that one might be teaching. Eg, countable & uncountable nouns.
What's more difficult is intonation Eg "who's drunk my beer" where the voice begins high & gradually descends.
I agree, you don't want a grammar freak, which tends to happen in Spanish schools, simply because it's easy to teach a series of mind-numbing exercises relating to a grammatical point.

I have often wished that English taught in English schools could include giving students an understanding of our language as it is taught to 'foreigners'.
That way, they'd appreciate its structure much more.
I come from Hull. Fortunately my dad was a bit of a stickler for pronunciation. My husband however speaks pure Hull. When listening to the two of us speaking English...English Speaking foreigners will often tell me they don't understand a word my husband says. Imagine how galling for me it is then that my campo neighbours tell me my husband speaks better Spanish than me! I always thought I was a good 'mimic' so I like to think that it's because the Hull accent is similarly bad... the reality is that I probably put my accEnts on the wrong syllAbles
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Old Jul 20th 2013, 6:43 pm
  #39  
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Default Re: Opening English academy, advice needed

Originally Posted by steviedeluxe
I didn't do an online course, and tbh I can't see how such a course (especially the cheapo weekend versions) could give you experience in, for example, class control, prompting student talk time etc.
If you can, take the 4 week course with an established teacher training school. This won't make you an expert overnight, but it'll show you how to add grammar elements to each class. There are plenty of grammar books printed that you can use for homework study, plus a good textbook will introduce grammar elements to each unit (for example they may practise the present perfect in one chapter, then do some conditional work in the next chapter). Preparation is key - so you make sure you're comfortable with grammar points (as well as phonetic pronuciation etc) prior to the lessons coming up. And if you ever get caught out you just say "That's a good point Ana - we're going to go into detail on that point next lesson..." - but make sure you read up on it for the next time.
I'm already an experienced teacher of crafts to adults and a playscheme leader/organiser in the past so I have plenty of experience in getting both Kids and adults motivated. I don't think classroom experience is what I most need personally. It's the grammar that I need brushing up on. So maybe an online course would suit me best. But I take your point for those with no teaching experience. The 'stage fright' can be daunting at first.
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