Category: Teaching

Continuing Education While Overseas

Each year, the number of students exiting a four-year university has been on the rise. As more college graduates make their way into corporate America, employers are faced with choosing from a larger applicant pool. The number of job candidates vying for the same position can often be a discouraging realization for someone who is fresh out of college. Because of this, an increased number of graduates are turning to other options as a means of either bolstering their resume for future work or finding employment elsewhere while they wait for the economy to straighten itself out. In the last three years, many recruiting companies that specialize in placing teachers overseas have seen an increased number of applicants, some even reporting growth of more than 60% than in previous years.

But as this previous rare occurrence in employment gives way to being more common (chances are you either know someone personally or have heard of someone who has taught overseas) an even newer trend is beginning to occur. While teaching overseas, many of these teachers were still thinking to the future and their eventual return to the United States. Even in a competitive job environment, certain factors will always be an essential component of being a successful candidate, one of which is education. While working as ESL teachers more and more E2 visa holders are pursuing graduate level certification abroad. Many institutions in Japan, Europe and South Korea have programs in place which allow for teachers who are working in their country to apply for spots in their respective programs. These programs often accommodate a wide variety of schedules with courses offered both in the morning and evening. With a few courses a semester, that two years abroad has the potential to not only give you valuable skills that will be transferable to many workplaces back home, but also the chance at receiving your master’s degree (often at a much cheaper price than institutions back home). Below is a list of countries that employ the highest amount of ESL teachers and the graduate level programs which they offer.

Seoul, South Korea
Arguably the most popular (and highest paying) of all the countries who utilize ESL teachers, South Korea has a myriad of Universities and colleges that not only offer graduate courses to foreigners, they readily encourage foreign applicants.

Seoul National University: Perhaps one of the most esteemed institutions in Korea, and ranking 4th from US News and World Report for universities in Asia, Seoul National offers the most variety in terms of courses and degrees offered. While the application and entrance for Korean nationals is quite competitive, the process for expats is slightly more relaxed. Individuals heralding from the United States have a slew of scholarship options that the Korean Government has made available. Spots at Seoul National are still very competitive and fill up quickly, so being proactive about enrollment is usually a good thing. To get the ball rolling while you are still in the US, head on over to their admissions page and inquire with the email address that is listed there.

Korea University: Located in the heart of Seoul, this university offers a robust selection of graduate degrees from courses offered in international studies to bio-medical science. The KU campus sprawls some 182 acres and boasts an eclectic mix of nearly 10,000 graduate students from all parts of the world. Filling out an application is relatively easy and can be done both overseas and in the individual’s home country. The form, located on their website can be submitted via the internet, fax or mailed. Prospective students of KU simply need to indicate which area of study they are interested in and ensure that they have a letter of recommendation from a professor in their undergraduate program back home, a copy of their transcripts and although a cover letter/letter of interest isn’t required, it’s generally a good idea.

Europe
Charles University in Prague: A popular destination for ESL teachers in Europe is Prague. Known for its beautiful architecture and abundance of teaching opportunities, prospective ESL teachers who wish to attain a job in Prague must first pass a TEFL course as set out by their government. Once certification is obtained, a wide variety of jobs open up both at the adult and adolescent level. Charles University offers graduate degrees in the areas of chemistry, geography, geology and environmental protection. Depending on your program of choice, up to three years may need to be devoted to the degree, but with the abundance of history and architecture that Europe has to offer, it’s sure to be some of the best years of your life.

Prospective candidates of CU need to make sure that they have cleared all the necessary legal hurdles before applying to the program. These include proper visa documentation, notarized school documents such as transcripts, letters of recommendation and proof of undergraduate work will all be necessary too. The application process can be started via their website but will need to be mailed in once completed.
Sophia University: Sophia University, located in the Chiyoda-ku district of Tokyo, is the perfect University for the English minded graduate course seeking expat. Offering one of the few programs in linguistics, Sophia University, students will also have the option of pursuing a Ph.D after completion of their graduate work.Tuition prices can be steep though, with about $15,000 for the first year and $13,000 for each subsequent year, most students will want to explore scholarship options in order to offset fees and the relatively high cost of living in Japan. Luckily, there are plenty of scholarships available, to see which ones you might qualify for, take a look here.

After obtaining degrees in English Literature and English Secondary Education,Sean Lords packed up his bags and left to Seoul, South Korea where he lived for three years teaching English abroad. Sean has since returned to the States and is currently at work on his Master’s degree.

Teaching Abroad Is a Viable Option for Qualified Teachers

“Teaching abroad is not a new idea or career option, but with the growing demand for western teachers in developing countries, combined with a difficult job market in western economies, it is easy to understand why so many qualified teachers are now seeking teaching jobs abroad.

This trend is due to continue with the growing developments of international schools and education campuses in the Middle East, as well as ongoing investment in language centres and international schools throughout East Asia.

Inexperienced university graduates still have the option to travel the world and teach English – mainly in South Korea, parts of South East Asia and central America – but the international market for qualified, experienced school-teachers now makes it possible for those qualified teachers to earn a good salary and live a great quality of life in a foreign country.

It’s not just private organisations that are trying to tap into the education boom in developing countries. Governments from Saudi Arabia to Singapore understand the importance of educating their young populations for the changing future economies. The investment in education in these countries is resulting in new schools being built, new curriculums being implemented, and new teachers being hired.

“A quick glance at the increase in numbers of schools in China pays testament to this boom in education”

In addition to government investment in education, the increase in the global mobility of international companies and their workforces is also resulting in new schools and higher student numbers enrolled in already established schools. A quick glance at the increase in numbers of schools in China and other parts of East Asia in the past 10 years pays testament to this boom in education.

The goal of TeacherPort is to make it easy for teachers and new graduates to find out about these international opportunities. We feel that teachers should be able to understand what opportunities are available to them outside of their home country, and especially in the current teaching job market. Whether you want to teach primary school in the UAE or teach English in South Korea, we hope TeacherPort will have the right teaching job for you.

If you are interested in learning more about your teaching abroad options, head over to TeacherPort’s free Teaching Abroad Guides. Once you have narrowed down the type of position you would like to pursue, you can find a number of recommended positions found on our Teaching Jobs Abroad section.”

Greg Rogan works for TeacherPort, a free online resource for qualified teachers and new university graduates to find suitable teaching jobs abroad. Connect on Twitter @TeacherPort

What is the role of the teacher as leader in this complex international environment?

“In a globalised world and with the rapid expansion of information technology, schools across the globe need to ensure that they are developing the right skills in students that will equip them to be happy and fulfilled, but also ready for a competitive  international environment fraught with challenges and uncertainty.

Business as usual in the classroom will not lead to the adaptability, innovation, resilience, critical thinking (especially discernment and information analysis) and creativity that researchers, philosophers and organisations are showing us are more and more needed in an interconnected world.

While many argue that it is the entire schooling system that is at fault or that we need to re-design curriculum, I believe that the real question is not in the structure or the content of education (although these factors are still important) but in the teaching and learning.

What is the role of the teacher as leader in this complex international environment?

If we look back, the expression of leadership reminds us of the Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu’s belief that a good leader is someone who does not take centre stage.  As such the teacher is not a “sage on the stage” but a “facilitator”, someone who stands in the wings and gives the student as much freedom as possible.

In pedagogy this model is still very popular with Discovery Learning programmes across the United States, world-wide web-based learning projects that allow the student to take full ownership of the learning process and many inquiry-based Primary School educational programmes. The word “facilitator” is used more and more and the word “teacher” less and less.

The word “facilitator” is used more and more and the word “teacher” less and less

Whilst educational philosophy might correspond with our beliefs and tastes, it is not scientifically researched and does not necessarily benefit from any hard evidence to back it up. Does the research in education tell us that the best model of learning is one where the teacher is a facilitator and the student is at the centre?

Arguably the most comprehensive study of pedagogical practice in schools is John Hattie’s 2009 publication Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. Hattie’s work synthesises thousands of studies and looks at effect size (a calculation of the benefits using statistical data) of a large palette of strategies for learning.

The findings are not always what one would expect and make us step back and re-think the way we do things. The greatest effect sizes, indicating the greatest change after the use of a chosen strategy, do not come with the student at the centre and the teacher facilitating on the side, but on the contrary with what Hattie calls “active” teaching: the teacher drives the learning, makes learning objectives very clear and uses punchy techniques such as remediation (catch-up), mastery learning (the idea that a student should not move on to new material until the previous parts have been mastered), direct instruction (explicit sign-posting of learning objectives) and setting the students challenging goals.

So the research is telling us that the teacher as leader needs to be in control of the class and showing the way with a challenging, carefully structured pace, not letting students fall behind as they try to figure it out for themselves.

“We need to provide them with a reliable compass to navigate the storms”

Hattie’s synthesis shows that quality feedback is the single greatest creator of improvement. The teacher needs to sit down with the student and explain exactly what needs to be done in order to improve. It seems obvious but how often is the teacher so hard pressed to get through a pile of marking or finish a syllabus that this vital coaching technique falls by the way-side? If we want our students to improve then we have to make sure they have understood and internalised how this can be done.

Our students are entering a turbulent, chaotic era in a competitive globalised world and we need to provide them with a reliable compass to navigate the storms. As teachers, let’s use the benefits of research to make sure that we have empowered them to do so by teaching for learning and not being afraid to lead the way. After all, the Greek word Pedagogy means “to lead the child”.

Dr Conrad Hughes is Director of Education at the International School of Geneva and recently delivered a speech on the ‘Teacher as a leader’ at the annual Cambridge Teachers Conference, run by Cambridge International Examinations.

Works Cited
Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. Oxford: Routledge.
Rousseau, J.J. (1762). Emile ou de l’Education. Paris: Garnier.