I’m just thinking out loud here. Others thoughts are welcome.
There’s a lot of talk about how the changing demographics of Taiwan are going to kill the buxiban industry, at least for those chasing the fewer and fewer kids. In any case it does seem as if the smaller places are losing out to the big chains, so what’s the alternative?
I’ve always taught older students and adults anyway, and in the current climate it seems that a lot of professional people are keen to improve their English for career reasons. The question facing us all is what can we offer them to make ourselves more marketable than the next guy?
IELTS: I get the impression this is currently the most fashionable test to take. I have students coming to Taipei from Xinzhu because they can’t find a decent school locally for this. Part of the appeal is that with IELTS you can go do your masters program in the UK or down under, and only take a year off work for it.
I wonder how big the market actually is though? And there’s also the problem of students having unreasonable expectations. I was talking to a guy yesterday who wanted to cram 9 hrs a day on Saturdays to take the test in late March. The conversation continued thus: Q.“When do you plan to study abroad?” A.“I have two choose. Oxfor’ or Cambri’ge”
What about some form of industry-specific ‘masters foundation course’ designed to prepare you for study in your chosen field, with a strong IELTS component. Some components - living overseas, basic writing, for instance - would be common to all courses, plus there would be specialised modules for students of IT, business, design, etc. Anyone have any experience of this sort of thing, or ideas?
Another one is BULATS. With the slide in the $, and the emergence of Europe as a huge single market, smart managers(!) should be less fixated on ‘North American English’ than before. As BULATS is supposed to be the common European standard for Business English there has to be some mileage here. But where to start? Any recommendations on course material?
Again, perhaps some specialised courses for the business community? The emphasis is probably going to be on sales, presentations, and travel. Opportunities there for basic classes in other languages too.
Another group that might like some specialised training are all those local English teachers who are worried about the proposal to put big-noses into high schools. Some of them have to be receptive to learning more about how we do it? I’ve met plenty who do actually speak the language pretty well, and are motivated to do their jobs as well as they can. In fact, I’ve had several in in my classes before. Has anyone ever tried offering teacher’s courses?
Just a few off the top of my head on this bright and beautiful morning. Fuck, it’s a lovely day.