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  1. #1
    I'm With Stupid's Avatar
    I'm With Stupid is offline Senior Member
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    Teaching natives vs. Teaching foreigners

    I'm currently trying to decide on my English teaching future. I have a degree in Film and TV Studies, and am interested in doing a PGCE in secondary English here in the UK (which I am reliably informed my degree qualifies me to do). But I'm also interested in teaching English in Japan at some point in the future and would like to have the flexibility to do both (the plan being that if I like the country I'll stay, and if I don't, I'll teach at home). So how well would the PGCE prepare me for teaching in a Japanese high/junior high school? Other than the obvious huge amount of teaching experience you get doing one. How different is teaching English as a second language compared to a first?

    I know the obvious solution would be to do a CELTA alongside it, but I have limited funds.

    Incidentally, I know that lots of Japanese teachers are always complaining about having proper qualified teachers, so I'd hope to become one of them.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Teaching natives vs. Teaching foreigners

    Many of the ALTs working in Japanese schools are actually unqualified people on exhanges; the idea being that the Japanese teacher does the teaching. In the eikaiwa, some offer their own training, others want a qualification and plenty seem to require little more of a native speaker than a jacket, tie and pulse. To work long-term in japan, the better jobs are in the universities, where an MA is required, though this can be done there from places like Temple University. However, the prospects in japan for ESL work look very poor at the moment. Nova, the largest eikaiwa chain, is teetering on the verge of bankrupcy, which means that thousands of teachers are likely to be dumped onto the market, which will drive salaries, which has been stuck for some time with the deflation, much further down.

  3. #3
    I'm With Stupid's Avatar
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    Re: Teaching natives vs. Teaching foreigners

    Oh I know about the situation in Japan. I've got a friend working for Nova at the moment (or not working as the case may be). Hopefully that particular situation will have settled down by the time I finish a PGCE though. I've actually got an interview with AEON next weekend, so I could be one of those people with a tie and a pulse, but even if I get it, I'm not sure I'll accept it.

    But my point was that presumably if I have a PGCE, I could progress beyond merely being an assistant to a Japanese teacher pretty quickly? My impression of the situation is that you have the proper qualified teachers who tend to work in high schools and public education, and then the unqualified teachers who work in private conversation classes, (the likes of Nova, GEOS etc) and they don't really compete for jobs on the same level. You probably wouldn't put an unqualified eikaiwa teacher in charge of a class of 30, for example. Incidentally, what MA do you need to start going for university jobs? (A whole other minefield, I'm reliably informed). Obviously, I'm only wanting to go to Japan to try it out for a year or two and see if working abroad appeals to me, but it can't hurt to have a plan in case I do like it.

    My main question though was about the difference between teaching in England and Japan. Obviously the UK will be far more advanced English, but teaching non-native English speakers no doubt has its own challenges because I would imagine they're quite different jobs? In fact my friend did a CELTA and said there were people with PGCEs doing that course too.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Teaching natives vs. Teaching foreigners

    I think you do need an MA to get into unis there, thoughif a job comes up, there may well be a way in without. All the people I know teaching in unis have MAs and a number have or are doing doctorates. I am afraid that I don't know much about progression within the Japanese school system. I will email some people and see what I can find out.

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