Why are there so many bad native speaker English teachers in Japan? Part Four

Part three is now new and improved, if you want to have a look here.

A few of those improvements came from posting the same question on the well known TEFL site that from now forth will be known as “Rave’s ESL Au Lait”. I learnt many things from starting a thread on there:

  • A few people are highly territorial about “their” EFL forums and you will have to do the equivalent of a cock fight before they leave you alone
  • A few people will use the reply “that’s just a generalisation” or “that’s just your opinion” to almost all statements you make. Well, yer, der! That is both how the human brain makes sense out of the world around it and the best way of making a point in the limited space available on a blog or forum.
  • A few people specifically go onto a forum in order to argue. Understandable, as that is the reason many British males go into a pub as well, but also one of the reasons I left the UK…

I also got a few opinions on the topic at hand:

  • Because the government and the schools accept teachers without any teaching qualifications. In fact, some schools prefer people without too much experience or qualifications because they are easier to mould to the school’s method and less likely to demand things that raise standards.
  • Something about Japan attracts people who want to come on a working holiday rather than to stay (not specified what)
  • The schools accept high student turnover, which is unmotivating for the teachers
  • The sheer number of teachers needed due to the large population of Japan as compared to the middle eastern countries etc. means they can’t be as picky
  • Local employers don’t understand the qualifications that teachers could have and which schools outside Japan do and don’t have a good reputation and so can’t read a CV properly
  • Employers don’t understand anything else about teaching, so can’t select between one teacher and another through interviews/ trial lessons etc.
  • Japanese students just want to have contact with a foreigner, so any one will do- usually the cheaper the better
  • Schools in the UK and Europe train people for the CELTA etc. so demand the CELTA from teachers as a way to justify selling CELTA courses
  • Teachers come here just to pay off debts back home, as the easiest country to live in where you can also earn a decent wage
  • Teachers in Japan can entertain and/ or teach with a limited ‘box of tricks’ and so quickly switch onto autopilot
  • Some people come just to follow their Japanese spouse
  • More homesickness and/ or culture shock than in more “similar” countries to back home
  • ALTs (Assistant language teachers) are demotivated by having the Japanese teacher do all the “real teaching”
  • Schools in other countries have accreditation

I have never exerienced the last one outside the UK, and even there plenty of schools seem to do well enough without it, but all the rest could be true in some way

I have summarized all the points as they were originally written and expanded a few others. Anyone who was following the thread please tell me if I have badly misrepresented anything anyone said.

Here are a few more the above ideas have “inspired” me to think of:

  • People can blend in more in other countries
  • More to come….
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