Monday, December 28, 2015

Institutes teaching based on

Well, it’s not my style, or at least not in this blog, to write criticism on students and/or other teachers or institutions, in the end, we are all here to either learn or teach with the best practices and fulfilling international standards (CELTA teachers should comply with their training, don’t they?). However, coming to a new country and facing a formal employment again, after working for 8 years on my own with my philosophy, commands, marketing, program and clients, have made me question whether I am wrong, or is it them?

First thing I encountered is a total lack of organization and respect for the students needs and international procedures to reach standard levels based on necessities for particular profiles. Programs are based on institutions believes and needs, no matter what the students are looking for or want to accomplish with the learning process. This particular matter is really difficult to me since I used to make a complete profile of my students before they even started their courses in order to meet their particular needs and expectations in the language. A plus, they were completely engaged and motivated to continue learning everyday and gave support to each other since they were grouped on the same basis.

Secondly, facilities and materials have been a total challenge since my general practice of recycling activities and relying on media has been blown away. In some places I have no computer or photocopier to get new exciting and real life activities for my students. This leaves me with the book and the students and it’s not that I don’t have enough creativity to work without support, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s really useful to have some aids. A plus, live videos or extra copies help students  to look at the language in context and listen to other native people using common expressions, they are not only useful, but also, in my opinion, necessary.

Thirdly, programs are sometimes completely useless simply because they don’t fit in the students’ culture and students just don’t understand certain things presented as topics, because for them, they aren’t relevant at all. Having a huge library of text out in the world and new programs coming out all the time, why is that some institutes continue relying on useless texts? It may be that because a program has worked fine for an amount of time, it’s proven it’s good, but again, after 20 years, any good teacher has to check and update, right? A plus, renovated texts contain lots of new and proven items and exercises and come loaded with tools that make students use language in context and give the teacher the opportunity of fulfilling students’ needs.

Fourthly, revision of programs as overall aids for the teaching process seems to be completely forgotten as the later. It’s been shocking to me that some institutes start with one program, continue with another and close with another, leaving huge gaps between one and the next; thus, affecting the advance and understanding of students in their learning process. I think a program has an advantage: continuity of learning items and completeness of syllabuses and curricula. A plus, you can adapt a program to your needs, use different activities as continuation of previous learning processes and much more, since programs today come with websites, apps and even online exams and quizzes to assess students improvement.

Finally, payment, on this topic I have to say I’m happy, I’m paid on average and my colleagues are amazing, but again, having worked for my own for 8 years, what I receive is low. It’s a shame employers ask for an amount of years experience, such and such qualification, best practices and yet they pay like we are beginners. I definitely want my studio back and I want to give my students the best, but payment is the least important to me really, I look around and perceive so much lack in so many things that I feel coming with my personal proposal would be advantageous for my potential clients. A plus, I will receive what I deserve and start planning, marketing, and sharing much more with my clients.

Just a final thought, where are the international regulators to control best practices? Who in the government entities control the programs and salaries of institutions? And if so, are these people prepared to assess the programs and salaries, I mean, really prepared?