In an ideal world all English teachers would be CELTA/TEFL/TESOL certified and hold four year teaching degrees. They would all speak perfect American or British English, and be from the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Barsoom, East Anglia or whatever we designate as a nation of Native-English speakers.
Wouldn’t those conditions be wonderful?
Who would the conditions be ideal for?
For government officials anxious to score points and make quotas, perhaps. Unlikely they help students anymore than the current system in South Korea has benefited anyone … not teachers, not school owners, not recruiters, and not the students in need of teachers.
Students need teachers who are knowledgeable, informed, willing to learn, active and involved. They do not need a particular accent, nor do they necessarily need a degree-trained teacher. Their teacher needs the structure that an intensive teacher-training program offers, especially one that is grounded in current practices and theory and makes use of real classroom situations.
Please inform me of one English major who acquired actual teaching skills in university. Having knowledge of Mark Twain, Chaucer and Cervantes is all well and good, but it doesn’t help you teach a class of 14 year-old 2nd language speakers whose world view is shaped by four hours of Warcraft every night.
It’s time for governments, South Korea, Indonesia and China to wake up and smell the white board.
Students and schools don’t need teachers with good papers, they need teachers who can elicit intelligent feedback, encourage interaction, and motivate good communicators. Train the teachers who are here, and hire those who wish and show an aptitude to teach. Hire teachers based on what they teach like, not what they look like. Hire local and foreign teachers. Cultivate a culture of awareness, improvement and involvement.
If a new paradigm is to be embraced let it be one based on need, common sense and sustainability.