How can one teach without knowing the local language?

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How can one teach without knowing the local language?

Unread postby ianmkent » 30 Aug 2012, 00:09

I have read a lot of posts where people do not speak the local language and find this really hard to believe, not so much with teaching more advanced students but when teaching beginers. How can one explain how English works if they do not speak it to at least a beginers level. How could one control a class of children who do not understand any English for example. It seems really hard for me to understand.

Are there many Tefl teachers who only speak one language? I would assume that they would be less affective at teaching not having learnt a language? I would love to hear people views on this.

I feel I would only be able to tefl in Countries whose language I could speak well.
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Re: How can one teach without knowing the local language

Unread postby Josef » 30 Aug 2012, 07:46

How then would you teach, say, a class of twelve learners each of whom spoke a different language because they came from different countries? Such a scenario is not impossible in a study abroad context.

Your question is a good one and raises a number of issues, including the value of doing at least a full TEFL cert.

I believe in fact that many English teachers do not speak a second language. But the value for teachers of learning a second language is not that it allows them to speak to their students in their own language but that they understand what their students are going through in learning English.
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Re: How can one teach without knowing the local language?

Unread postby OneScot » 30 Aug 2012, 22:12

Can I ask what you mean when you say a full TEFL cert? Is it the industry minimum standard of 120+ hours face time w/ 8 hours assessment?
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Re: How can one teach without knowing the local language?

Unread postby Elissa » 31 Aug 2012, 16:34

I have taught in Greece, China and now Italy and I speak minimal Greek, Chinese and Italian!

I've never found it a hindrance when teaching ESL, if anything I find it's better as I don't slip in to the hole of using the second language to explain things rather than finding a way to make my learners understand me in English. My students are better for it, I think, as they have to try and communicate with me, rather than know they can speak their mother-tongue with me.

I am actively trying to learn Italian at the moment, as I plan on settling in Italy. But I won't be using Italian in the classroom, or letting my students know I can speak Italian!

I mainly teach young learners, aged 4-7, from absolute beginner. It is more than possible to control a classroom of young learners even if you cannot fluently speak their language. If you modify your language and make use of mime and visual stimulus then you'd be surprised how quickly young learners pick things up!
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Re: How can one teach without knowing the local language?

Unread postby Josef » 02 Sep 2012, 13:53

OneScot wrote:Can I ask what you mean when you say a full TEFL cert? Is it the industry minimum standard of 120+ hours face time w/ 8 hours assessment?

Yes, that's what I meant.
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Re: How can one teach without knowing the local language?

Unread postby pokedmund » 03 Sep 2012, 17:38

Ideally, use a lot of hand and body languages. Use simple words and just be really animated. And SONGS, SONGS, SONGS!!!!

With the right enthusiasm, you really don't need to know the native language.

You'll be surprised how quickly very young children (2-3 years old) pick up English.

For example, I love singing this "Apples and Bananas song" to my kids and after 20 minutes, some of them understood the concept of "like" and added other fruits that they "liked"
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Re: How can one teach without knowing the local language?

Unread postby ianmkent » 03 Sep 2012, 18:44

I think that is all well and good and yes it is possible. I still feel that teaching certain aspects of English needs to be done in there native langauge. The only time I have known it to be succefull is when Dutch learners are tault Dutch just using just Dutch. But it is only works with the candidates who have to learn Dutch in order to gain citizenship.

The majority of first year uni students are tault in there native langauge there must be a reason for this. I still think that someone needs to know how to learn in order to be able to teach. I think every tefl teacher should be atleaset fluent in one other langauge in order to know how to be a effective language learner in order to teach it. But that is just my opinun. I did learn Hungarian using just that language but it was a lot harder and was not that effective. Having had experince experience with how children learn a langauge I would partly agree that it can be effective but it is a lot more effective when the child is exposed to just the target langauege and completly exposed and HAS to learn it to communicate.
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Re: How can one teach without knowing the local language?

Unread postby jackpell » 07 Apr 2013, 00:56

I learned the most French by only being spoken to in French. When your teacher speaks to you in a foreign language you are basically forced to learn it in order to give a response (she wouldn't accept responses in English lol). I found it was more effective because it got the whole group involved and we learned from each other as well.
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