Three years ago I dared myself to learn French. It’s so romantic! How could I resist!!! I’m quite embarrassed to admit that I don’t speak any language outside of English and I was really convicted to learn French after traveling to Paris for the second time in 2007. I loved my classes at the Alliance Francaise De Dallas and took them for a full year. After that, I continued to learn French at a local community college. And then after that, I got interested in yoga and quit. When I make the time, I want to try learning from Benny Lewis who claims to be a language hacker, teaching his students to speak a new language in 3 months (money back guarantee, just sayin…) But now I’ve fallen head over heels in love with the sounds of Portuguese. I would follow Jarvier Bardem or Ernesto Neto anywhere, wouldn’t you?
There is a language that I don’t need much training in – English; although teaching the English language is something quite different I’m sure. So, resting on my laurels, I’ve started researching the possibility of teaching English as a Second/Foreign language. A good friend of mine is not only an artist , but also teaches ESL for a local school district. She often has more than thirty native language speakers in her classroom! She calls herself, “Lucky.” English as a Second Language, or ESL, means students are learning English in an English-speaking country, many times as a means to assimilate as an immigrant. English as a Foreign Language, or EFL, means students are learning English in their home country, like we learn French or Spanish in high school in the USA. Just keeping up with the acronyms for this industry is challenging: ESL, EFL, TESOL, TESL, TEFL, CELTA, DELTA . . . I mean, really? – and in fact, this list of acronyms is only the tip of the iceberg.
Certification can be obtained through many different language schools and can easily be accessed by doing a search on the internet. Another friend of mine, who I met during my residency at The Vermont Studio Center, got his certification from The Language House when he was in Prague. Since I’m not planning on being in Prague in the near future I went to an Oxford Seminars informational meeting at the University of Dallas a few weeks ago. I chose to research Oxford Seminars because I saw their advertising on Language Departments’ bulletin boards of our local Dallas universities. After attending their informational meeting I learned that Oxford Seminars offers a 100-hour comprehensive TESOL/TESL/TEFL Teacher Training Certification Course and is internationally recognized for training teachers to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). The terms TESOL, TESL, and TEFL are used interchangeably around the world, but have very similar meanings. TESOL is Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages; TESL is Teaching English as a Second Language; TEFL is Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Graduates of the Oxford Seminars course are certified in all of these areas. CELTA and DELTA are connected to the University of Cambridge and typically refer to courses that require more hours and are directed at teaching in English-speaking countries. In the Dallas area, Oxford Seminars offers weekend courses. Students are not only trained in English, including grammar and second language acquisition, but they are also trained in areas such as cultural sensitivity and culture shock. An example of their weekend curriculum can be found here. The cost of training, in Dallas, at the time of this article was $1,195 and includes all course materials, 60 hours of in-class instruction, 40 hours of an online component, and access to Graduate Placement Services, which never expires and will provide valuable assistance in your job search. There is also a discount available for registering early.
So what do you say? How many languages do you know? Would you consider teaching others how to speak your language? Did you know there are jobs waiting for you around the world to teach both children and adults English? There are many ways to travel the world and help others to find their voices to cause healthy change in the world. Let’s all learn together. Please tell me if you’ve been a student, or a teacher, of foreign languages.