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eek

Unqualified Teachers

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Unqualified teachers have no business being in a classroom regardless of the justifications, rationalizations, excuses, apologies or "expediency first" type arguments put forth by those who feel that an unqualified teacher is better than no teacher.

I disagree with the notion that an unqualified teacher is better than no teacher. In part, I disagree because on too many occasions I have had to pick up the pieces after a student or a class had been taught by an unqualified teacher. Some of what I encountered defied human understanding and there was more that was laughable, scary or utterly ridiculous.

Giving students bad information is worse than giving them no information. This is especially true regarding language acquisition and the unlearning involved is consequently made that much more difficult for the qualified teacher. In most instances, I felt the unqualified teacher had done the best he or she could do. However, it would have been better had they done nothing. Most of my time was spent trying to get the students to learn correct English and unlearn incorrect English.

Were I a parent and had a child who brought home some of the writing prepared by the unqualified teachers that I had the misfortune to follow, I would be livid.

Unqualified teachers have no business being in a classroom except to learn proper English and get qualified at the university level as a teacher.

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Unqualified teachers have no business being in a classroom except to learn proper English and get qualified at the university level as a teacher.

Well, then they should start by getting rid of this ridiculous notion that nobody can fail. Then they may be able to get well, educated homegrown, officially quallified teachers who can actually form a sentence in that language and speak it.

That should get rid of the foreign teachers who as it may seem it is better not to have at all given that most of them are not qualified to teach.

If I had kids in school, and given the choice between having my kids learn English from someone who is lacking a meaningless piece of paper, and someone with all the correct degrees in this country, who could not manage to form a single, understandable sentence... then I'll go with the one who actually speaks the language...and no teacher at all is even better than the so called quallified one with no language skills what so ever. And that is the case for most teachers in this country.

By the way, I had plenty of so called qualified teachers during my own education who today I would not let teach how to tie my kids shoestrings. Their inability to transfer knowledge and the desire to learn was mind numbing.

At the same time I had a few teachers who lacked formal education in the field they where teaching, but who to this day continue to be an inspiration to learn more.

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Some may have misunderstood my post, which did not argue for *no* qualifications. It argued for reasonable qualifications (like a CELTA, which the OP felt was somehow not sufficient for conversational English teaching) and a certain relaxed attitude towards Properer Teaching Qualifications, which as I mentioned come with a hefty price tag, even if there were a will to enforce and require them (which there isn't). It's a problem in these types of discussions that the terms "qualified" and "unqualified" are not specifically defined by those employing such terms (there's a difference in qualifications and licenses to be a Proper Home Country Teacher and a conversational language teacher, IMHO); furthermore there is a difference between states of qualification and states of competency- the subject of the OP is both unqualified by any measure AND incompetent, but these two things do not always go together. I did not defend the presence of the subject of the OP in schools, and referred to him as a mistake- however, it is a mistake that is a byproduct of the process which allows Thailand a lot of more suitable candidates at very low costs. Most of those in the countryside who need such teachers have no chance of becoming airline pilots, doctors, or any other profession in which somehow the knowledge of English can be contrived to become a life-and-death matter.

"Steven"

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Can i clarify that i did not say that having a CELTA or a TEFL does not qualify one to teach English in Thailand. I said that 'I' felt still relatively unprepared to teach English despite having a CELTA and some teaching experience (in a different subject). I also did not say that unqualified teachers should not teach here either. My astonishment is not at his lack of qualifications, it is at his lack of qualifications COMBINED with his lack of literacy skills and how his persona comes across. He asks fellow students in our Thai language class to repeat their names to him many times, doesnt seem to listen to people, seems to talk at people, etc. He DOES seem like he is trying to be friendly, but to be honest does not seem to posses the qualities one would expect of a teacher (however, as i said, i have not seen him teach).

I get the impression people think i am criticizing him for his lack of qualifications, which is not the case. Unqualified teachers can make excellent teachers, sometimes more-so than qualified. However, i do not agree that having qualifications is like having a "meaningless piece of paper". I think it is best to possess good character qualities as a teacher combined with qualifications.

As for employing a teacher, I would rather employ an excellent teacher in the classroom minus qualifications than someone with terrible classroom qualities and an impressive list of academic achievements.

My point is i believe there should be a certain standard that is met, whether qualified or unqualified. But maybe that is just too much to hope for here.

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Eeek, get a life! You don't like a guy you met, so what? What is wrong with you that you must try to put down others? It sounds like an unatural resentment. Would the truth be that you can't get a job as your not a native speaker?

The best teachers in Thailand( for conversational English) that I met were not the best qualified ones. The ones with PhDs and MAs in Linguistics etc couldn't teach at all. The best ones were ex butchers, car mechanics amongst others. This is my honest experience of working in over 20 language schools, at least 10 Pratom/Mattyayom schools, 4 universities and a few other places.

A common misconception from people arriving in Thailand is that to be a good English teacher you must have a knowledge of grammar. I remember years ago at ECC, the woman said that my grammar test was the worst she'd ever seen. I usually learned grammar the night before I taught it.

Chill out - 'mai dtong serious' :o

Edited by Neeranam

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er right..

ok well ive given my opinion and take of that what you will. I have very little malice in my bones for anything in this world.

If you are curious, I am a native speaker, but seeing as i have enough 3d graphic work to be getting on with combined with a private income, i just havent applied for any teaching posts. ( i was also offered work by the company that i did the CELTA with, post the course.)

Anyway, make what you will of my motivations for this post, however off course some seem to be. Im not up for being bated and i have no need to defend myself.

Enjoy.

Edited by eek

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When I first came here 28 years ago I worked at the English Conversation Club by the Victory Monument. We were not teachers, just talking heads that members could come in and chat with at any time. At that time the WP issue was no big deal. We got busted once, the school paid a tiny fine, and the immigration judge arranged a ride for us back to school. It was a great way for Thais to engage in conversation with native speakers and there was no pretense that we were teachers. Perhaps the solution to unqualified teachers here would be to legalize the conversation club option. That way those with native speaking abilities could legally work here but would not be fooling anyone about their TOEFL, etc. abilities.

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Sorry, but I just feel compelled to add...

Totally uneducated people who try to teach a subject are not generally good teachers of that subject. If you throw me into a classroom of northern Romanians to teach them Mesopotamian architecture, I'd be lucky to remember ziggurat or Babel (would you even know those words, or how the students say them in Transylvanian German?).

Countless occupations in the West, even when performed by native speakers of English, do not prepare you to teach grammar, punctuation, syntax, sentence structure, essay writing, book report formats, vocab definitions, etc. And that, by the way, is the meat of the lessons, once you get past "My name is Dexter and I'm from Stoneham, Colorado." Can someone who only managed a call center quickly answer "Why do we say during instead of while?" Or explain the difference between "He's a singer" and "He's single" and "She's a zinger of a single singer."

Some people with advanced degrees cannot teach, but that doesn't mean that generally, the best teachers of intermediate and advanced English were never trained in how to teach it. However, after they've done it and made all the mistakes by teaching a thousand students wrong, they'll be fairly good at it.

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Some people with advanced degrees cannot teach, but that doesn't mean that generally, the best teachers of intermediate and advanced English were never trained in how to teach it. However, after they've done it and made all the mistakes by teaching a thousand students wrong, they'll be fairly good at it.

Dexter :o , it's true what you say about intermediate and advanced English and grammar, punctuation, syntax, sentence structure, essay writing, book report formats, vocab definitions. However for the elementary and beginners, of which there are countless more, a dancing white monkey is often the best. I'd say a good mix between entertainer and educator, say 50/50 is right in most classes.

How did you learn English? I learned from my parents, both of whom didn't have a degree or any teaching qualifictions. I went on to get qualifications but if I hadn't, I think I would be qualified to teach conversational English, which is what 95% of Thai students want.

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Some people with advanced degrees cannot teach, but that doesn't mean that generally, the best teachers of intermediate and advanced English were never trained in how to teach it. However, after they've done it and made all the mistakes by teaching a thousand students wrong, they'll be fairly good at it.

Dexter :o , it's true what you say about intermediate and advanced English and grammar, punctuation, syntax, sentence structure, essay writing, book report formats, vocab definitions. However for the elementary and beginners, of which there are countless more, a dancing white monkey is often the best. I'd say a good mix between entertainer and educator, say 50/50 is right in most classes.

How did you learn English? I learned from my parents, both of whom didn't have a degree or any teaching qualifictions. I went on to get qualifications but if I hadn't, I think I would be qualified to teach conversational English, which is what 95% of Thai students want.

Sorry Neeranam, but I disagree with you. There seems to be this view that just because a 'teacher' can entertain a class it means they are good at the job. You could stick a chimp in front of a class and it would keep students entertained but it wouldn't mean that they learnt much. I think Thailand is one of the few places on the planet where lack of academic achievement is seen as evidence that someone can teach well.

Learning a second language is not the same as learning a mother tongue. Yes I learnt to speak English from being around my family but I spent all the my time with them from when I was born until I could speak it. It wasn't just a couple of hours a week listening to some clown.

I have been around a few schools and seen these 'teachers' myself. A class period devoted to playing hangman (because an unqualified teacher didn't have a clue what he was meant to be doing) may keep the kids quite but is it hardly providing teaching.

I think it is a shame that many of the people who work as English teachers are quite happy that this diservice to kids continues.

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Some people with advanced degrees cannot teach, but that doesn't mean that generally, the best teachers of intermediate and advanced English were never trained in how to teach it. However, after they've done it and made all the mistakes by teaching a thousand students wrong, they'll be fairly good at it.

Dexter :o , it's true what you say about intermediate and advanced English and grammar, punctuation, syntax, sentence structure, essay writing, book report formats, vocab definitions. However for the elementary and beginners, of which there are countless more, a dancing white monkey is often the best. I'd say a good mix between entertainer and educator, say 50/50 is right in most classes.

How did you learn English? I learned from my parents, both of whom didn't have a degree or any teaching qualifictions. I went on to get qualifications but if I hadn't, I think I would be qualified to teach conversational English, which is what 95% of Thai students want.

Sorry Neeranam, but I disagree with you. There seems to be this view that just because a 'teacher' can entertain a class it means they are good at the job. You could stick a chimp in front of a class and it would keep students entertained but it wouldn't mean that they learnt much. I think Thailand is one of the few places on the planet where lack of academic achievement is seen as evidence that someone can teach well.

Learning a second language is not the same as learning a mother tongue. Yes I learnt to speak English from being around my family but I spent all the my time with them from when I was born until I could speak it. It wasn't just a couple of hours a week listening to some clown.

I have been around a few schools and seen these 'teachers' myself. A class period devoted to playing hangman (because an unqualified teacher didn't have a clue what he was meant to be doing) may keep the kids quite but is it hardly providing teaching.

I think it is a shame that many of the people who work as English teachers are quite happy that this diservice to kids continues.

I hear you Garro, but come on, if you(like I was) were given a class of 55 14 year olds and told to teach them English conversation 1 hour per week. On top of that, they'd never had a 'farang' teacher. Would a knowledge of the finer nuances help? If you were hiring for this position would you choose someone just because they had a PhD, or someone who was confident and a good entertainer who used to be a manager at McDonalds?

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Having read this thread I feel there is hope for me yet. I have no formal teaching qualifications, am a native English speaker (well Australian anyway) and have completed the TEFL course. My feeling is that given a lesson plan I would be able to conduct the class as well as a fully qualified English teacher. Having to prepare my own lesson plan would require more effort on my part than a qualified teacher, but only until I became proficient at it.

I do not have the seniority in country that some of the previous posters have, but I have had some exposure to Thai nationals teaching English and can say without fear of contradiction that I would do a far better job than them.

The fact that I speak Thai would make things a little easier for me than the OP's subject but I can't help but agree with the OP that if this guy has a thick Northern English accent AND is dyslexic AND failed TEFL than he has no place teaching English to anyone.

I can't wait to get stuck into it, arriving this Wednesday 17th Oct. Bangkok here I come!! :o

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I think the answer would be a two-tire system.

Those non-graduates with with TEFL ot its equivalent could be called 'speaking budies' or 'teacher assistant'.

While the term 'teacher' should be reserved for at least graduates with academic degrees and TEFL.

Of course the assistant would be paid a bit less. In large schools the teachers could have responibility for mentoring the assistants.

In the cases where the assistant worked well and showed potential he could be encouraged to further his studies.

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The demand for minimal 'qualifications' for matayom conversational English, (which means you are singing, dancing and playing hangman), is so great that the brickies and pigsty washers can probably do it better than somebody with a B.Ed. who knows better - precisely because they're not teaching Somchai and Lek, just entertaining them.

In my first assignment in a remote province, I taught a Matayom 4 class (5 hours per week) that understood the passive voice and the future perfect continuous (barely), and who asked tough grammar questions. The Thai teachers in the staff room asked even tougher questions, first to test my knowledge, and then to learn 'single' from 'singer.' Then they used me like a dictionary and played me like a tape recorder. The other guy who came later, never got asked anything, after he failed their first test of his knowledge.

If you want to be stuck teaching only beginners, bring your elementary school leaving certificate and give it a go. If you wish to survive and get better positions, improve yourself.

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I think the answer would be a two-tire system.

Those non-graduates with with TEFL ot its equivalent could be called 'speaking buddies' or 'teacher assistant'.

While the term 'teacher' should be reserved for at least graduates with academic degrees and TEFL.

Of course the assistant would be paid a bit less. In large schools the teachers could have responsibility for mentoring the assistants.

In the cases where the assistant worked well and showed potential he could be encouraged to further his studies.

Just to add.

I would think that there is already quite a few 'teachers' willing to work for 20,000 THB a month.

I think more would do so if they thought it could mean a chance to gain qualifications and eventually earn more.

I agree that many schools can't afford to pay more but why not reduce the pay of those unqualified on 30,000 to 20,000.

Give 5,000 extra to the teachers and use to other 5,000 to finance the further education of promising assistants.

I realize that these suggestions are controversial.

Edited by garro

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