Can I teach abroad if I don’t speak the language?

Although job offers may request a particular level in the language of the country where you're teaching, the simple answer is "yes!"

Although job offers may request a particular level in the language of the country where you’re teaching, the simple answer is “yes!” The Trinity CertTESOL is designed to give you the tools to teach using the Communicative Approach, a methodology in which English is the primary means of communication within the classroom.

How do you help prepare teachers?

What language will you learn?

During the course, you’ll spend four hours learning a second language and write an assignment about it. Whilst many people would love four hours of Spanish to help them get the basics during their five-week trip to Cádiz, Trinity requires the language to be unknown to any member of the group. In the past, our trainees have learnt Welsh with Ceri, Arabic with Chris, Korean with Chris, Irish with Orla, Greek with Katie and Finnish with Susanna and on our next course, they’ll spend four hours learning Chinese with Yuan.

The aim of the assignment is to reflect on the tools which the teacher uses to communicate with students who don’t speak the language being taught. This could be gestures and body language, use of voice and intonation, repetition of key classroom language, use of praise, visual cues…and more. The assignment also requires you to identify the aims of each lesson, which further supports you in your own lesson planning and delivery. Furthermore, there is a section on contrastive analysis, which may sound difficult, but is a tool which many students instinctively use when learning a language to notice the differences and similarities between two languages.

So, if I speak the language, should I avoid using it in class?

There are different thoughts on this as for a long time, the students’ L1 was seen as taboo in the ELT classroom. However, nowadays, many teachers see the benefits of conscientious use of their students’ L1 as another tool they can use. That said, during the CertTESOL course, we discourage people who speak Spanish from using it during Teaching Practice so that they can fully develop the skills to teach in any classroom around the world.

Whatever your plans are – to teach in Spain, Cambodia, Brazil or Russia, to name but a few – our Trinity CertTESOL gives you the tools to effectively teach English and support your future students.

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