Who will my TEFL Students Be?

1 February 2014

English language students all around the world hail from all sorts of backgrounds and there is a real range of age and ability of those looking to learn English as a foreign language.

Depending on where you are and which school you work for, you may be teaching English to straight edged executives in business suits or children in public schools. From local hotel receptionists looking to learn English to improve their job to university students sitting an English competency entry level exam; the desire to learn English comes from a diverse range of people.

Teaching English to Adult Learners

Adult learners represent a large segment of students that TEFL teachers work with when they go to teach English abroad.

When teaching English in Europe and South America you are most likely to be to teaching English to adults as foreigners typically do not find work in public schools which is where most young learners learn English.

Types of Adult Learners

  • Business employees – Those that conduct business with firms in English or work extensively with English speaking customers are looking to improve Enlgish competency in the work palce. Some companies will contract with a local language school to bring a TEFL teacher onsite to provide instruction to employees.
  • Tourism and hospitality – many people in this industry rely on a good grasp of spoken English in order to get a job.
  • University students – Many young adults sit entry level exams in English and need to have a certain level to be accepted. Many students that are going abroad to study, conduct research or find employment will need to be able to speak English.
  • IT – For anyone wanting to fully utilise the internet or enjoy English movies, music, TV and other media they will need to understand English.

What to expect teaching English to adult learners

Most adult learners will attend work during the day so you will usually find that you will be required to teach in the evening and at weekend classes. Many adults opt to receive private lessons which a great way of earning an additional income and can be a more personal way of teaching English.

Teaching English to children

Asia is a booming market for those looking to teach children, where, unlike in Europe and Latin America, public schools are increasingly seeking native English teachers to provide high quality English language instruction. In addition, in countries like South Korea, many parents enrol their children in language classes at private language institutes after school to supplement the instruction they receive in school.

Should you work with such students in a private language institute setting, expect to be giving most of your lessons in the late afternoon and early evening.

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