Business English Certification? (and some other doubts)

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Business English Certification? (and some other doubts)

Unread postby alexiglesias » 22 May 2009, 13:25

Hello,
Some six years ago, I graduated in a spanish university with a degree in English Philology. Due to personal reasons, I began working in general sales, first, and then in sales insurace managing these last years. Nine months ago, I received a job offer in my town's Adult School, and started working there as an ESL teacher for two beginner to intermediate groups. Since I did not have the chance to focus myself on teaching as a career for family financial reasons, I had not a taste of it until recently. And the result has been that not only I have liked it, but am actually looking forward to a career shift. In that sense, I have practice in my business environment in teaching practice, and have also developed a good deal of it in these nine months as a teacher in the adult school. However, in the process of planning my career shift, some doubts assail me:

a) My degree holds me as a specialist in English language and literature. However, since it has been six years since I finished, and it has been just nine months since as I began working as a teacher, would it be necessary for me to undertake a TEFL course to upgrade my curriculum?
b) In this case, since I work 40 hours a week as an insurance manager, and then some 8 hours as an ESL teacher, I would only be able to take an online course, would it be a good option? I know onsite training would be better, but, sincerely, I don't know where I could find the time to complete it!
c) Finally, I would like to specialise in teaching Business English, what sort of courses and/or certifications could I take?

Thank you very much for any guidelines you can give me.
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Re: Business English Certification? (and some other doubts)

Unread postby systematic » 27 May 2009, 03:20

You have a degree, that furthermore is language related, and significant teaching experience, so a TEFL certification may be superfluous; a good school will recognise this.
Your work as a businessman will have provided you already with most of the content you need - the actual teaching methodology is essentially the same as for other situations if you find your current teaching is providing the results you wish to achieve.
If you wish to use business English course books, you will find a plethora of offers on the web sites of the major publishers such as Pearson-Longman, Macmillan, OUP, CUP, etc.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: Business English Certification? (and some other doubts)

Unread postby Alex Case » 30 May 2009, 18:04

I must humbly disagree with Systematic in almost everything, I'm afraid

- Your degree and teaching experience is irrelevant. I have trained people with 3 years of teaching experience and/ or with a pre-experience MA in TESOL, and generally their teaching on day one is worse than people with no training or experience. A 4 week course with observed teaching practice is the absolute minimum for absolutely everyone

- Business English, which is my speciality and in which I have a specific certificate, is not just a slight variation on General English TEFL. The ESP approach is something completely different and a specific course such as the LCCI TEB or the more recent Trinity equivalent is almost essential to be a specialised Business English teacher, and is much more important than experience of working in business
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Re: Business English Certification? (and some other doubts)

Unread postby systematic » 30 May 2009, 21:23

Alex Case wrote:I must humbly disagree with Systematic in almost everything, I'm afraid...



Your are right of course to disagree Alex, and a specific qualification in teaching Business English is certainly most admirable and sure to be a valuable asset to the job seeker. I spoke , however, from my own experience in teacher training and ESP (including Linguistics for Business Communications) which I also specialised in for 30 years and have a kind of certificate.
I personally found that students' goals were easily achieved by general EFL teahers if taught with the support of recognised course books, their TBs, other support materials, a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of language acquisition and teaching, and provided the students entered the course with a sufficient level (rarely the case) to be able to focus on some form of ESP.
My advice may naturally not have been appropriate for someone who has only basic knowledge of both teaching and business and who is just starting out in the world of TEFL.

My apologies for any unintended misinformation in respect of the OP's situation, although much depends on where and whom he wishes to teach.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: Business English Certification? (and some other doubts)

Unread postby alexiglesias » 01 Jun 2009, 14:59

Dear Alex and Systematic,

I kindly appreciate your time in answering my post. As a matter of fact, I sort of think that there is truth in both your answers -at least applied to my case: I want to become private tutor in a small touristic area. There are not many people there with a profound knowledge of the language and with well-built foundations for teaching it, and, if so, they lack business experience -them coming from general english teaching. With that in mind, I feel I could begin working towards specialisation in BE by doing my own groundwork of study. However, I do feel, (because I know myself, and I know I am strict with myself in this cases), that some type of certification should be of importance. I have been searching for weeks all around the web, and found the CertIBET by the Trinity College of London to be quite interesting. And even found the site where I could prepare myself for the exam. However, since they require at least some amount of experience if one does not have a TESOL certificate (which is my case, but I feel is not a normal case), I'm told I'm not eligible for taking the exam... What should I do then? Take a TEFL course, which I feel might be not necessary in the area I pretend to develop my business? Or wait another year to meet the teaching experience requirements from the Trinity College? Could you help me a bit in this point? Thank you very much, again, for your kind responses and attention.
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Re: Business English Certification? (and some other doubts)

Unread postby Alex Case » 02 Jun 2009, 01:54

The course will assume knowledge of the kind of TEFL techniques and jargon taught on a 4 week TEFL, so even if you have teaching experience you might still struggle a little or hold back the discussion while things they assume you know are explained. I did a 4 week TEFL and then a 2 week TEB course two years later, and I can't imagine doing it any other way. To start with, trying to learn business jargon and how to explain it while you don't have the basic techniques of explaining grammar etc sorted out sounds a nightmare.

To summarize, I suggest taking a TEFL course now, getting some teaching experience, and then doing the Teaching Business English course.
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