This is not a dream. You’re standing in front of a class of eleven students, each from a different country. None of them speak your language but they all want you to teach it to them. Go!
Which method or approach will you use? How will you handle different pronunciation problems with each student? How will you plan and measure the goals of their learning? These are only three of the many questions language teachers must be able to ask and answer every day before, during and after class.
Yet so many people wrongly believe that if you’re a native speaker of a language, you should be able to teach it. More importantly for you, many unethical ‘schools’ believe the same. With the emphasis on English as a global language, business people with little or no education background have turned to the industry to ‘get rich quick’.
The result is what you may expect: the internet is full of online businesses whose goals relate to profit not education. These organisations may invest heavily in branding and technology but this can often lead to lower investments in the things that matter to you.
What to look for
With so many institutions looking for your money, how do you know which one to book with? Look at some of the tips below to help you with your research:
- Check the qualifications of the institution’s teachers. How many of the staff members have advanced degrees (honours, master’s or PhD)? While some practical certificates in English teaching are helpful, post-graduate qualifications show that the teachers have invested many years of effort into their careers. If the teaching staff is not displayed on the website with their qualifications, ask yourself why not.
- Don’t pressure yourself to make very long bookings. If you are unsure whether a school is right for you, book for two to four weeks and make sure you are satisfied with your education. While this may initially cost more per lesson, it can save you months of expensive unhappiness.
- Chat to former and even current students, if possible. But ask questions that matter: “Is UCT ELC good?” is not going to give you a very helpful answer. Try questions such as:
“Would you choose UCT ELC again? If so, why?”
“How much did you improve your language level in the time you were there?”
“What would you say about the quality of teaching in the classroom?”
- “Let the buyer beware!” Your money matters and so should your education. Make sure the school is committed to excellent language teaching and learning above anything else.
Why choose UCT?
Here at the UCT English Language Centre, we promise something special. Just as we wouldn’t expect you to use an unqualified plumber or fly in an airplane with a pilot who got a certificate from Bob’s Online Flight School, we think you deserve the best teachers for your English language education. When you study with us, you know you will become part of Africa’s best university. We also believe you will be joining Africa’s top English language centre.
Don’t take my word for it though. Use what you learned above. Read about our staff on the website here, ask our former and current students, email us for further information or book a short trial period.
Let us show you what we do.