Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

For those of you wondering what I’m doing now (as in work-wise), well, I’m teaching English. Not in a mainstream Singapore school. I’d never survive working under the MOE (Ministry of Education) with the way things are. I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s quote about not letting schooling interfere with education. Going to school nowadays – in most countries but especially Singapore and many Asian countries – is not about true holistic education that values the whole person. It’s not about passion for life, but about exams and money. It’s about doing well so that you can get a good job so that you can earn good money. As with everything done in Singapore, the schooling system is there for just one purpose: to promote economic growth. The ‘god of economic utility’ has become the pre-eminent reason for schooling. That’s in keeping with pragmatic Singapore.

Woops, I didn’t start this post wanting to bash the MOE, the Singapore education system or the Singapore government :) Singapore’s education system, like its way of governing, is but a reflection of society-at-large. Society not just of Singapore, but of the world. So in a way, I don’t blame them. It’s the way things are. But then again, I do. The youthful idealist in me doesn’t stay silent for long. He (Mr. Youthful Idealist) is quite in sync with the whole of creation which groans… (Romans eight)

Anyway, back to where I was. Not only am I not teaching English in a mainstream school, but I’m not teaching English to those who speak it as their first language. I teach English to those who speak it as their second (or third…) language. The common term for the industry I’m in is TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). It’s a huge thing throughout the world because millions of people desire to take up English as it’s the language of the world. And teaching such people is very different from teaching English to first language English speakers (i.e. most Singaporeans) or even teaching any other subjects. The teaching methodology is different and there are so many things to learn in order to be a good TESOL teacher. Like I said, it’s a huge industry.

Anyway, I won’t get too much into all this. Just to mention that I started moving into this last year. I got my Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) – a TESOL certificate – in Perth, Australia. And today was my first day of teaching English in the private school I’m working at. It’ll be a great challenge for me which I’m quite excited about. 90% of my 40 or so students are from China and have only been here for 1-2 months.

Why I went into this area? It’s because I love teaching. I love relating and interacting with students – especially youth and young adults. But why TESOL specifically? I’ve shared a bit here. Basically, I want to do missions work in future and teaching English is a skill that’s greatly in demand in many developing countries. Thus, having this skill would enable me to be a tentmaker.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi, found this article by chance and it is an interesting read on teaching english in SG. I do need some advice now as I am stuck between the choice between CELTA or TESOL ? Really hope u would help to advise me if possible :)

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