Dress for TEFL Success

Teaching English as a Foreign Language means you get to meet a whole host of different, interesting people from all over the world. But this type of cultural interaction also means that you must always consider your audience and be culturally sensitive. Teacher and TEFL trainer, Christelle, explores this topic in relation to clothing and provides some tips!

Dress for TEFL Success | UCT English Language Centre | Quote

We are just 2 days from the UCT English Language Centre  November 2017 TEFL course and our teachers continue sharing their TEFL advice for the newbies on Monday! Teacher Christelle has this to say about appropriate clothing while teaching. Ps: Teacher Christelle is also one of our TEFL trainers, so take notes of her advice below (*wink* *wink*)

No toes, butt, boobs, belly (and shoulders?)

Appropriate clothing in the classroom is important for a number of reasons.

Firstly, whether you like it or not, people judge us. And the first impression that you give a class is important. So more important than any other day, is your first day – DRESS UP ON YOUR FIRST DAY.   It is part of owning your classroom.  I guarantee you that most serious students will be suitably impressed with your booted-and-suitedness. You are welcome to tone it down a little as time goes on, but I make an effort to be dressed SMARTLY especially on Mondays (if you have rolling intake).

Secondly, being appropriately dressed for different cultures is important.  We here at UCT would suggest that you never show any cleavage, nor builder’s bum, nor stomach. I would personally suggest that you also keep your shoulders covered (so no vests).   Obviously, if you are teaching in a Muslim country, you may have to cover a lot more than that in the classroom and elsewhere!

In relation to shoeware, we would strongly suggest that you always wear closed shoes, and especially not sandals (unfortunately, guys, this is an absolute no-no, but ladies may get away with it in summer, if they are ‘pretty’ sandals.)

We would also suggest that you consider the same principles when showing pictures to your students.  For example, as a TEFL trainer here at UCT ELC I saw a young trainee, whose topic was fashion, show a picture of a half-naked woman to a class full of Saudi men. It was not fun to watch.  I’ve also witnessed a class not knowing where to look because a trainee teacher had her shoulders bare. Her shoulders!  Remember, it might not offend you but it sure could be offending someone in the classroom – always consider your audience and be culturally sensitive! 

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