During my last time in Taiwan I noticed many language schools refusing me a working-visa because I am not a citizien of a so-called english native country. For some reasons they always need the “right” passport".
I am from Germany and my language ability isn`t perfect, but suitable enough to do teaching beginner and intermediate levels.
My question is if my experiences are an exeption or if other “2nd class” foreigners are suffering the same disrecognations ??
And do you know a european (exept UK+Ireland) foreigner residing on Ilha Formosa who is fortune to have a working visa based on teaching english ??
Don`t get me wrong, I can easily obtain the visa by marriage with my taiwanese girlfriend.
I am just wondering about the “english native speaker” requirements. I am looking forward for your comments, thanks in advance
[quote=“Timo”]During my last time in Taiwan I noticed many language schools refusing me a working-visa because I am not a citizen of a so-called English native country. For some reasons they always need the “right” passport. My question is if my experiences are an exeption or if other “2nd class” foreigners are suffering the same disrecognitions?
Don’t blame the language schools. It’s not that they are refusing to give you a working visa, it’s that they can’t give you a working visa. The visa comes from the MOFA, and it has been decreed that only citizens from countries with English as a native tongue can be issued teaching-based visas. If you’re not from one of six countries (UK, US, NZ, SA, Oz or Canada), you’re SOL. If it makes you feel better, it is my understanding that only Germans, Swiss and Austrians can apply for a visa to teach German. Small consolation, I’m sure.
I’ve met numerous non-native foreigners here teaching at least basic English quite adequately, and quite a few alleged native-speakers who couldn’t put a sentence together - or who had the most outrageous accents. But who are we to question the wisdom of the Taiwanese government?
I believe that non-native speakers with a Masters in English are considered qualified to work teaching. Is this correct?
And do you know a European (exept UK+Ireland) foreigner residing on Ilha Formosa who is fortune to have a working visa based on teaching English ??
I am just wondering about the “English native speaker” requirements. I am looking forward for your comments, thanks in advance[/quote]
Yep, I know a guy from Finland who is raking in the dosh teaching English.
There are market forces at work here also. Too many schools with foreign teachers means a lot of choices for the parents. If all the schools around me market native speakers and I don’t/can’t, I lose in the long run. I am not trying to be harsh but if I have a choice between hiring a native speaker and a non-native speaker, I gotta go with the native speaker…this is what my customers demand. Really can’t blame the schools as the MOE has guidelines that we must follow and we also have to listen to what our customers want.
That being said, I have a teacher working for me who is originally from Argentina and now has an Australian passport. Has a slight Spanish accent but she is a very good teacher.
You can get work here but you will have to scrounge harder. This might mean going out to the country.
Best of luck to you and I hope that things work out.
While it is true that many ‘native English’ teachers are lousy teachers with awful accents and poor English ability that is not a reason for MOFA to hand out teaching visas to anyone who wants one.
Of course, there are ‘non-native English’ teachers whose English is unbelievably good, but there are even more whose English is … to be found wanting. How can MOFA, schools, parents or students be expected to know who’s good and who isn’t?
I suppose tests might be the answer. Prospective teachers from outside the six English-speaking countries would need to prove through written and oral tests that they were up to the job.
whats an awful/ outrageous accent? you sound like THEM! accent shouldnt be too much of a factor a native speaker is a native speaker. having an accent of any kind has no bearing on teaching ability. maybe you people expect us all to sound like north americans.
Well, shouldn’t the parents get what they pay for?
For the most part they pay money and expect a native English speaker, it’s the punters money after all, isn’t it?
Bear this in mind. As a boss I would hire anyone who can do the job. I don’t care if you are from Mars or anywhere else, but, that being said, I know that parents will get put off if I tell them their teacher is from Suchandsuchiania and I refuse to lie about where my teachers come from. Plenty of schools lie about this and shame on them.
Definition of awful accent (for English teaching purposes) is someone who speaks like zeees all zuh tahm. Eeez incredible, you know? Just like the Ukranian dude who is a teacher in the kindergarten I almost sent my little nipper to.
He teaches the ‘all day English’ class. Do the parents know he speaks like Count Dracula off Sesame Street? Of course not. Otherwise they’d baulk at coughing up an extra 5000 a month.
Why limit the competency test to those outside of the 6 (sorry, 7) approved countries? I see nothing wrong with requiring it for all who wish to obtain a permit to teach English. I mean, we have to take equivalency tests to teach in our native countries, so why should it be different in Taiwan?
As for accents - as long as you can speak clearly and understandably, no problemo. The problem arises with certain speakers whose accents are so thick that even native English speakers can’t understand half of what that say. Not to pick too much on one nationality, but there are many teachers who come from a ‘native English speaking’ country on the MOF list - South Africa - whose native language is clearly not English but Afrikaans, and many speak an incredibly thickly accented English. I’m not so sure they’re more qualified to teach proper English than your average native Taiwanese teacher.
[quote]How can MOFA, schools, parents or students be expected to know who’s good and who isn’t? [/quote]A good start would be a TEFL or CELTA should be a minimun requirement rather than BA. Not necessarily my opinion, but an answer to the discussion on “thick accented” chalkies. A South African girl had to pull out of the CELTA when I was doing it due to accent problems in our Australian centre.
I don’t think we’ll forget that you just murdered it.
Lest it twas missed.
Surely the best-equipped teacher would be well versed in both US and British English usage, and should be able to point out to students the significant differences between the two. Sadly, it seems that Taiwanese have bought into the “US English is standard” mentality, which must surely disappoint a lot of youngsters who travel to the UK, the Asian subcontinent, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore or any of the other places that use British English.
While some would counter this by saying “well, it would just confuse students,” surely it is better to have them “confused” momentarily in the classroom than when they’re overseas trying to do real-world things.
Forget having tests just for non-native speakers. If you don’t know how to explain something in your own language, then what good is it for you to teach people who have questions about language? How many English teachers in Taiwan do you think could explain when to use the past perfect tense (or even know what the past perfect tense is) rather than the simple past? When to double letters with inflected endings (-ed, -ing, -en)? The difference between a countable and uncountable nouns? These are all things important to a beginning-level student of English, yet I have doubts that even 50% of the people out there teaching could explain how any one of these things work in English…and that’s a very generous estimate.
[quote=“monkey”]Surely the best-equipped teacher would be well versed in both US and British English usage, and should be able to point out to students the significant differences between the two…
While some would counter this by saying “well, it would just confuse students,” surely it is better to have them “confused” momentarily in the classroom than when they’re overseas trying to do real-world things.[/quote]
I agree. Where necessary, I present (elicit if possible) both Brit. and Am. English usages and then for the practice and production stages use the main one used by the particular course; that’s generally the British version. At least then the Ss are aware of the differences.
I make a point of saying that both versions are valid. That’s important for the children to understand; important preparation for the future, especially if they’re going to study or work abroad, where of course they will encounter subtler national and regional usage variations than just the divide between Brit. and Am.
Too much is made out of the differences, IMAO. 99.5% of the vocabulary and usage are exactly the same. There are only a handful of words that differ in spelling (half of which simply involve adding a superflous ‘u’ to words like ‘labour’), and the rest comes down to mainly differences of slang and regional dialects. The handful of common words that are different aren’t that important - ‘rubbish bin’ or ‘trash can’, ‘lift’ or ‘elevator’, ‘loo’ or ‘restroom’, these are hardly major obstacles to mutual comprehension. Playing up the differences makes for good comedy skit material (“Pardon me, may I bum a fag?”) but not much else.
I agree with you in general, and would extend it to include accent. Far too many Taiwanese people are very concerned about what accent a teacher has, when in fact they will be lucky if they have anything but a strong Taiwanese accent in the end.
But differences there are, and we cannot brush them aside. Rightly or wrongly, Taiwanese parents make a big issue out of them, and we have to deal with that in a constructive way. Of course North Americans are familiar with and sometimes use the word ‘autumn’, but they are more likely to use ‘fall’. If a student hasn’t at some point been introduced to both versions, then it could be an annoying and unnecessary stumbling point when he/she goes abroad.
In addition, we have the issue I mentioned of the erroneous search for a single ‘correct’ version. By introducing students at an early stage to the concept (if not the active use) of multiple correct usages, we are better preparing them for practical English use in a variety of contexts in the future.
I’m not sure whether or not you’re aware of the etymology and just being humourous, so I’ll treat this seriously. As you no doubt know, several hundred years ago there were no standardised spellings for English. Then, if I remember correctly, shortly before or at the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign, attempts were made to systemize the language including standardising spelling.
Some time later, in the U.S., a man named Webster laid out comprehensive spelling revisions, designed to make the sound-spelling relationship more consistent. His revisions were not comprehensive and consistent enough, however, and they were not all adopted in North American usage, so while that usage is arguably simpler and more consistent than that of Brit. Eng., it is still very complicated and inconsistent compared with say Spanish.
So, rather than Brit. usage adding a superfluous ‘u’, it’s arguable that Am. usage deletes a superfluous one.
I don’t think I or anyone else suggested ‘playing up’ the differences - that’s not really in anyone’s interest - but rather dealing in a sensible, useful way with those differences which do exist.