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Chiba ALT Conracts Deemed to be Illegal

Whoever wrote The ALT Scam on the Fukuoka General Union blog is probably feeling vindicated right now. The Mainichi Daily News reports:

Public schools here [Kashiwa, Chiba] have been unable to start their native speaker-taught English classes this school year after the city's board of education was accused of violating labor laws with foreign language teachers.

According to the Kashiwa Municipal Board of Education, it has been instructed by the local labor office to change its labor relationship with foreign assistant language teachers (ALTs) in the city's elementary and junior high schools after it engaged in illegal employment practices.

The local education board entrusted part of its English curriculum for primary and secondary school students to a Tokyo-based staffing agency between 2007 and 2009, and a total of 23 foreign teachers belonging to the agency worked as ALTs at 61 local public elementary and junior high schools during this period. Their contracts expired at the end of last month.

The article goes on to say that instructors were working as temporary employees under the guise of subcontractors, and demanding that their contracts be extended. When they complained to the labour board, the board investigated and found that the instructors were under the direct supervision of the schools they worked at even though they were working under dispatch contracts. The problem with this kind of arrangement is that:

Under the current law, companies and other business operators must offer a direct contract to their temporary workers after they have completed the first three years of work. Moreover, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's labor guidelines require a minimum three-month interval before the two parties enter into another temporary contract.

The city's board of education had planned to terminate its English class teacher outsourcing contract and employ temporary English teachers directly starting this April. However, as the labor office judged that the education board had already forced its contracted foreign teachers to work as normal temporary staff, it became impossible for the city to renew the contracts right away, in accordance with the ministry guidelines prohibiting consecutive temporary contracts of over three years.

The BOE has announced that it will comply with the labour board's order, although English classes have been suspended until July. This is a good first step in breaking what I called "the terrible triangle" in ALT teaching jobs. The complaints to labour boards are having an effect.


05:18 You are obviously not a very experienced individual in the language school industry.

First, "accredited" schools...What world standard of "accreditation are you referring to? There is none. In fact, every country around the world teaching ESL usually has several competing bodies (or none) jockeying for accreditation supremacy. Even in Japan, there is no national standard amongst language schools. In countries like the U.S., England and Canada, the governing bodies do NOT demand CELTA as a must-have in order to teach at schools accredited by them. In fact, in Canada you are supposed to have a TESL Canada certificate, but even that is not followed or enforced most of the time. Most teachers at these LC-accredited schools do not have CELTA. So where did you get the idea that CELTA is a must for those schools? CELTA brochure, perhaps?

Secondly, our students are absolutely great and our teachers are too. Hence why are operation is not bankrupt, like a certain. Plenty study for the TOEFL and IELTS at our school and succeed at it, and they do not need a CELTA teacher to prepare them for those tests successfully. Many also go on to masters, PhD.'s, and various other successful careers in life that require English use. In fact, some of our best teachers that prepare them, many with education degrees and the right experience, do not have CELTA. I am not saying there are no good teachers out there with CELTA in their back pocket, just it doesn't necessarily mean someone is automatically a good teacher just because they paid for a one-month course. Just as many education graduates are not always good teachers, with many being absolutely lousy.

Teaching is an art and a science, influenced by cultures, personalities, student goals, politics, educational style, and experiences. Therefore there is no one standard, at not know. Probably never will be a world standard. To say a one-month course absolutely gives you all the know-how and experience to be the "best" teacher is just plain absurd.

...our operation is not bankrupt like a certain "global" Japanese school at the center of attention on this board.

Hmmm, yeah, this is the trouble with the EFL-teaching industry. Everybody thinks they're better than everyone else at it, hence the mutual dissing of CELTA teachers and non-CELTA teachers.

All I'd say about CELTA is that it gives you a very basic idea of how to teach English which you can then, should you choose, later build on. As for learning how to teach without CELTA, you may do that, but as I said earlier, you won't get as far in your career as you would have done had you developed those same skills but with a CELTA. Anyone with half a peanut of a brain is going to do a recognized CELTA course, because it will lead to more, better job opportunities in "accredited" schools (if you don't know what I mean by that, you really don't know much about the language teaching industry). Unlike an unqualified "teacher" who won't get those opportunities.

Like I said though, I've got a CELTA so I'm obviously talking a complete load of shite, unlike yourself who is VASTLY more experienced and wiser than a mere buffoon like myself, so take no notice of me.

Yes Mack, there are back packer teachers, and there are accredited teachers, and the back packer teachers have a pack backing experience, and enjoy the fruits harvested, which amounts to nothing, other than they can say they lived in Japan, while the accredited teachers further enhance their careers, in Japan, and beyond, by working as qualified teachers in Japan.

However, there is room for both types in our industry. Certainly, fatigued salary men and housewives, do delight in the fresh and energetic approach of new arrivals, despite their inability to actually teach.

The students actually do like to simply practice speaking with those airhead types, utilizing the skills that they have absorbed, from the accredited teachers.

It becomes a miniature overseas experience for them, and can be quite entertaining, until of course, the newbie becomes frustrated with their own lack of understanding of what teaching is really about, and starts to become negative, usually falling into a bitter, Japan bashing heap, before departing, with their tails between their legs.

During that phase, they damage both the school and students, simply because their inability to maintain being "genki", exposes the fact that they cannot teach. They simply don't get it. Their role is to provide a light hearted and entertaining atmosphere, while the real teachers, get on with the job.

While I find the arrogance of the back packer teachers at times quite annoying, I respect the fact, the company sees that they do have a role, and some value, to the operation, when the bigger picture is examined.

Some back packer teachers know what their lot is, and get on with it, for years and years, while having meaningful and fruitful lives outside of work hours, but they are actually very rare.

Most back packer teachers just drink, or do a bit of touristy stuff, outside of work hours, and go home, when they are tired of the novelty.

Can't say much more really. The picture is clear.

There is a place for both the back packer teacher (a limited role), and the qualified teacher, in Japan, and besides, if you don't like Japan, you don't have to stay!

Well, it appears that this site is largely populated by people in Japan who can call Canada, the UK or Australia their home. It appears that in those countries the CELTA is fairly well-known. However, I have to say that until I came upon this site, I had never even heard of CELTA. Here in the US, if one reviews higher education and/or high school teaching positions, the qualifications are quite a bit beyond what a CELTA would afford a neophyte teacher. Mind you I am not knocking CELTA; rather, I am saying it would only scratch the surface of what is required to teach ESL in this country. Presently, universities and community colleges require a Masters degree from a bona fide university in TESL or Applied Linguistics along with skills in at least one foreign language, 2 to 3 years teaching experience at the university level. In addition, the universities will require evidence of scholarly work (that is, publications). In order to teach at the high school, middle school or elementary school level, a prospective teacher is required to have a teaching credential. A BA or BS degree may be adequate, but the teaching credential requires a focus on ESL in order to teach ELL students. A state teaching credential can be multi-subject rather than specialty specific. In either case, practical experience comes by way of a student teaching/intern component in the Teaching Credential curriculum.

If anyone here is curious, the courses that I was required to take in my MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics program included these:

Introduction to Linguistics, Teaching Methodology, Training/Supervision for Teaching Assistants (2 years), Second Language Acquisition, Language Testing & Statistics, Composition for Teachers, Contrastive Analysis, Thesis Preparation, Structure of Present Day English, Phonetics, Directed Individualized Study and an elective, in my case, Elementary Modern Japanese.

I thought I would pipe in here after merely being an observer to this thread. As the owner of a school (not in Japan), I have a direct interest in teacher quality. If I have bad teachers, I do not make money. Judging by the insecure and judgmental CELTA teachers on here, I will not be hiring anyone in the near future with such a certificate. Sorry, but this maybe is why they have so much time on their hands posting in here.

And for those of you think there are only CELTA or "bacpackers", well, you need to get your head out if Japan. There are many other shades. Maybe a little more time teaching in a country other than Japan might give you some perspective.

Hello, Rachel. I wrote the comment titled "My Two Cents" above. Having read your latest contribution here, I just wish to add that I certainly can agree with your assessments of eikaiwa. If you have read my "Two Cents", I suspect that you can imagine that I am more of an advocate for better regulation of the industry (whether self-imposed or not) together with a demand for better qualified instructors than a back packing maestro.

That having been said, there is certainly a need for any teacher, not just an ESL/EFL teacher, to have an engaging personality and an ability to create an atmosphere conducive to learning. While I was a second year grad student in TESL/Applied Linguistics, we were once asked to determine what part of education is entertainment. The exact percentage (read "answer") that we came up with is not so much important as the fact that the question was even raised. I think that most of us can remember some teachers that crossed through or into our lives. Some had an impact. I believe that the teaching profession, does, in fact, demand (not just suggest) competence and training and that certain gift or charm that engages everyone in the classroom.

Now, my question to you, or anyone for that matter, would be, "Cannot a teacher be both well-trained and experienced as well as adept in the art of entertainment?" In other words, can we meld a back packer and academic into one super teacher? ;-)

Two Cents: there are not many people like you working in Japan - and for very good reason. Japan doesn't want to be told how English should be taught. Japan wants to tell you how to teach it. Japan doesn't want to pay you what you are worth either. Most professional know this, and that is why there are very few here in Japan. Those that are here are working in universities, or private schools but many of them face discrimination as regards the potential for career advancement no matter how good they may be. If they stay here, then they do so due to family reasons or some especial interest that they have in this country and not for their careers which would be a lot better if pursued somewhere else.

That situation is not about to change soon and the idea that the eikaiwa industry will regulate itself is frankly laughable. It's a bit like saying maybe the piano teaching industry will regulate itself. There are good piano teachers and bad ones and some of them belong to a chain that has its own rules and regulations (maybe good or not) whereas many do not have any rules to follow. That's how it will always be, I'm afraid. The reason the situation is different in other countries is because the state is a player in the game. They are competing with the private sector for a share of the revenue. There can also be some impact on foriegn relations if there are too many bad schools and therefore there is incentive for some regulation. The only loser in the case of an unregulated industry in Japan, however, is the long suffering consumer: not a good enough reason to regulate all these little two bit clubs I'm afraid. It's tough enough keeping our car companies and food companies in line without having to bother with that kind of thing.

Well, I divide our business into two sections:

(a) The entertainment division
(b) The education department

A good qualified teacher of course is even better, if entertaining, but providing that unusual level of “happy be genki”, which is rather unique to Japan, and is something that the very stressed and tired customers demand, and thus is something that the company requires, is not something that can be provided over the long term by any teacher, whether qualified or not.

Consequently, the back packer style teacher, who is fresh and new, plays a key role in terms of creating a jovial and spontaneous atmosphere, while the real teachers deliver the package that was by and large, actually sold, or in other words, the side of the coin where one has to use ones brain.

Over all, a balance is achieved. The back packers, when relatively new to Japan, cater to the circus act aspect of the client’s needs, while the educated teachers, while still maintaining a pleasant atmosphere, attend to the academic essentials of the product delivery process.

By and large, a happy co-existence, is maintained, until of course, the ones without academic credentials, begin to run out of performance steam, due to lack of stimulation. At that point, it all starts to become a bit messy, and complaints start coming in.

The professional ones among us, always hopes that phenomenon coincides with contract renewal time, so it can be swiftly taken care of, but sadly, often it does not, and the qualified teachers ends up being burdened with an additional amount of entertainment duties, as well as having to provide some form of psychological support, to the Japan Bashers. The role then becomes that of entertainer, teacher, and diaper changer.

During those spikes in the graph, qualified teachers are put under considerable additional pressure.

However, they get through it, because, at the end of the day, if you don’t like Japan, you don’t have to stay!

I would like to add, as an after thought, at periods where I my feel a little down myself, sometimes it is quite refreshing to see a new back packer perform, and watch them become so deeply and personally attached to the student. The student likes that sense of “connection”, and as far as I am concerned, that’s quite nice, because it makes it easier for people like me, to later attend to the academic needs of the student, when they are warm and fluffy, as a consequence of them thinking they having succeeded in making a “personal connection” with a fresh foreigner, all by themselves.

In many ways, the new back packer arrival provides a buttering up process, so the experts can then attend to the finer detail. It is easier for me, to be “entertaining”, for example, when the target has been buttered up by a recently arrived back packer. An atmosphere already created, kind of ends up feeding on itself. I know it is an awful thing to say, but I kind of "attach" to the work already done, in terms of the entertainment side of things, and new back packers really are, in the most part, quite good at that part of the package, since it comes quite naturally to them, because everything is so new.

Yes, there is room for all types, in our industry, and the company recognises that.

Rachel it is perfectly obvious that you are not a professional. If you were, you would not be talking about attending to academic needs. People who try to learn a language as an academic subject are doomed to failure, as you should know perfectly well, and it is precisely because of this that the communicative methodology which you were introduced to when you studiied for CELTA was developed.

Just what is it that you do which is so professional? How many people have you taken from a beginner through to upper intermediate level. How did you do it? How long did it take? What were the difficulties and challenges. How did you overcome them?

Umm well actually, I havent you know done that err yet. You see there's this entertainment component that err interferes with my academic professionalism and I umm have to put up with it.

If you love Japan, stay. Just don't pretend to be a professional English teacher, when you obviously aren't.

I am so sorry, and excuse my total ignorance, but are you saying “communicative methodology” was developed by laypersons, and that Scott Thornbury is a brick layer?

Are you saying, that learning a language is not an academic pursuit? Well, I know, in Japan, in particularly, it all gets a bit blurry.

Are you saying, that academic qualifications have nothing to with and nor can enhance, one’s success rate, in terms of utilization of “communicative methodology”?

Are you saying CM was developed by back yard spiffs, for back packers, and that learning is not an academic pursuit, does not involve any academic process?

Most of the time, I don’t have to do entertaining, by the way.

The back packers do that, and the new ones, they even REALLY like doing that. That’s why I appreciate and respect their role.

Anyway, say hello to Scott, when you bang him to, at your next construction site job.

If I see him, I will let him know that you think he is not an academic, that his field is not academic, that learning a language is, hum, not academic / does not involve anything academic / and that his methodologies have no academic foundation, that none of what he has crapped on about, and published, over the years, has anything to do with academic interests, and above all, that his methodologies are best delivered by back-packers, pretending to be teachers, in Japan, because, well, really, learning language is after-all, just play stuff and entertainment.

Please think, before you blow your horn again, you total jackass and fool.

Languages were taught as an academic subject for some time, and they still are in many places. Practical success has not been high with this approach. The communicative methodology is a practical, rather than academic approach which measures success in terms of simulated or real world abilities that are gained. Academically, you may know all about conditionals, for example. Practically, however, you may be unable to use them. That is the difference.

Scott Thornbury is interested in academic learning theories and their practical relevance, certainly. His commentary on Krashen, Vygotsky's ZPD concept and it's relevance to language learning are available on his site for you to look at any time. However, these interests are connected I would say to student's learning needs as opposed to their academic needs, which involve passing examinations, university success and so on.

Interesting that you didn't care to answer my question about what you have actually achieved so far, isn't it? That's because your type of work makes acheiving anything next to impossible. Brown has some interesting and somewhat negative things to say about the kind of company you work for. Perhaps you would care to look them up in Principles and Practice of Language Teaching?

Rachel, thanks for your overview of the scene in Japan. By the way, I don't know if the poster at 13:38 was using a ouija board or a crystal ball, but his suppositions were way out of line.

From the only perspective that really matters, a manager of a school who hires teachers on a regular.

You're not the only ELT manager on here pal. And you sound like exactly like the manager of the kind of 'scammy' provider the ELT world could do without. There's a reason why (as an example) the Australian government insists on all ELT teachers having a degree + CELTA/TESOL to teach over here. Because without it there's guarantee that you'd have any idea what you're doing. A little bit like you, really.

I now see what you are saying.

Ahhhhh. I get it ! Silly old me !

You are saying that language lessons, in place like Japan, are not “academic subjects”, like formal graded subjects are, in the pursuit of an academic award, at a university, for example.

I was wondering what kind of crack it was, that you had been smoking.

It is now clear that you simply don’t like my use of the words “academic needs”.

I am sorry, I should have used something less confrontational to an obvious academic such as yourself, such as “identified and targeted language needs”, or “specific language needs”, or anything else, with similar or same meaning, perhaps even “learning needs”……… anything at all actually, to prevent you from going off on a red herring know-it-all tangent, simply because you don’t like the plain truth of what I have said.

I am so sorry, that you interpreted my words clearly as some kind of thumbs up for , ummm, “academic methodology”, in contrast to “communicative methodology”, and so forth, and so forth. You needed to find something to cling on to, I guess.

Keep looking.........

OK Rachel,

I give up. No more playing Catcher in the Rye for me. Enjoy getting ripped off.

Just a thought here: the Communicative Methodology, Notional Syllabus and the like are not exactly the flavor of the month any longer. In fact, my copy of "A Communicative Grammar of English" was published in 1975. That might make it older than a few teachers here. Language evolves (unless it's Latin) and, so does language instruction. For my money, I do not like to put all my eggs in one basket, so I tend to blend elements of the Communicative approach with the Eclectic and Cognitive approaches. Even Direct Instruction can be integrated into a multi-faceted approach. I still have a certain nostalgic fondness for Cuisenaire Rods. A lot of us believe that Student Centered Learning and needs analysis are the latest buzzwords. They are, but the concepts have been around since the early 1970's at least. Ask Montessori. Anyway, I suppose what I wanted to say is, don't get too caught up on any one methodology, because students' needs are going to be diverse and it may very well be that you will need to be very creative to address those needs.

Look, there is room for many types of teachers, and many types of methodologies, in this business.

Frankly, while, in a “learning” sense, as far as the students go, back packer teachers do more damage than good, in most cases, I simply wish to make clear, they STILL play a crucial role here, in terms of providing light hearted humour and entertainment for the students.

The real teachers make up for their shortcomings.

Overall, the end result is not so bad, give or take a few bad situations.

Like it or not, that is all part of the language business here, and those silly fresh faced boffins, love em or hate em, DO play a crucial role.

It is a business here, and the business MUST cater to the customer’s needs, and if that involves doing clown acts, then let it be so. It is all part of the business.

How the company handles them, as their batteries charged only by the novelty of the situation, begin to go flat, is a problem.

There is a need to get rid of them, as expiration date approaches, but these days, thanks to too much publicity, that is getting harder and harder.

My concern is the pressure put on the real teachers, to take up the slack, when these clowns end up invariably going haywire, and ultimately packing it in.

I thus advocate substantial pay increases, for qualified teachers, who stay for more than 12 months, and an increase in the probationary period, and decrease in the salary, for the back packers, thus resulting in no negative impact, on the company’s bottom line. Money to those who ACTUALLY deserve it, being the objective.

Let them, the uneducated masses, come here, and have a bit of fun, do their performances, but remove incentives, for them to hang around longer, than their clown act expiration date, which is usually just under one year. I am suggesting perhaps a nine month probationary period, on 15000 yen per month, after which, they have the option to get qualified, and come back, or go home.

There's a lot of anti-CELTA/anti-unqualified teacher feeling flying around on here, and some very sweeping generalizations and denigrations being made. Whether some of the critical remarks were aimed at me or not, all I'd say, again, is that having a CELTA gives you a minimum and recognized level of teaching ability. From there, you build on it with experience and, ideally, working under experienced and qualified teachers and DOSs. Then, as other posters have remarked, you look at further qualifications like a DELTA or MA. That's how you build a career in English-teaching.

If you don't do that, and don't get any qualifications, (sorry to upset some people again) then how can you give yourself the label "teacher"? And what kind of career are you going to be able to build?? I'm not trying to patronize people with these remarks, or letting off my insecurities on anyone, these are perfectly valid questions which I've yet to hear an answer to.

Judging by the insecure and judgmental CELTA teachers on here, I will not be hiring anyone in the near future with such a certificate. Sorry, but this maybe is why they have so much time on their hands posting in here.

Apologies for being insecure, judgemental and patronizing, but here we have someone who bases their hiring decisions on what they've read on the Internet about them. It goes to show you what can happen when you don't have "accreditation" from a recognized teaching body.

Mackorello, in Japan, qualified teachers are sick on non-career teachers taking so much money out of the system that should award the qualified teachers, only to go crazy, as the novelty of doing their "show" wears thin, leaving the real and dedicated teachers, to clean up the mess.

And you are absolutely right. Don't call yourself a teacher, unless you are entitled to do so, and teaching in JAPAN most certainly is a ridiculous waste of time, if you intend to keep teaching, outside of Japan.

The back packers do have their use, but really, the employers outside of Japan, are getting sick of idiots coming back from Japan, thinking they can teach, when they would not have the foggiest, in actual fact.

My former employer throws applications that state Japan experience, straight in waste paper bin. They claim they get at least 30 of them, every week, all from idiots, who are not teachers, who know nothing about teaching, but because they did a stint with GEOS or ECC or NOVA, they think that they actually are teachers. They interviewed a few, several years ago, and said they not only felt embarrassed for the applicants, but also, felt quite sorry for them. They wondered, how they could be so deluded.

But like I said, in Japan, they do fill a need, for a short period of time, and the company knows and recognises that. My point is, perhaps the company recognises it too much, and should thus reduce back packer salaries to something more suitable, while increasing the salaries of real teachers. Most of the back packers come here just for a bit of fun, so dropping their take home won't have so much of an impact.

I guess it comes down to this: I have a crazy dream that one day I'll be able to tell people that I work in ELT and be treated like the professional that some of us are rather than get a 'hey, isn't that cute' smile. And I'd like to draw a half-decent salary rather than crumbs from the table.

Every time I hear "teachers" denigrating qualifications and training a little piece of me dies inside. I don't think there's room for both types because I don't believe what most backpacker teachers, eikaiwa drones or whatever you want to call them teachers. At best, tutors perhaps (the new Australian teacher's award actually makes this distinction; you can be a conversation partner/tutor or whatever and help students practice one-to-one but you can't get in front of a class) but certainly not teachers.

If ELT ever wants to grow up and become a professional industry it needs to encourage standards to entry, just like accountancy, pharmacology or even high-school teaching. I don't personally believe that anything that exists these days really fulfills this (although a DELTA isn't far off the mark). Sure there's room for trainee/junior teachers (i.e. CELTA) but let's not confuse optimism with training and experience.

Like it or not, qualifications exist and are only going to become more important as the market begins to shrink in the coming years and consumers and schools need a way to distinguish between professionals and amateurs.

Here is what is said by Internation House London about it's training course. It's instructive:

CELTA teacher training is ideal if you want to take a career break, if you’re taking a Gap Year between studies and want to travel, or if you simply want to start a rewarding new profession. English teaching abroad allows you to earn money at the same time as seeing more of the world, as well as building your confidence and developing new skills.

What this means, I would say is that CELTA is ideally suited to backpackers. However, it could be the opening to something more, which would depend on the kind of place that you end up working in and whether you are prepared to go further with extra qualifications such as the DELTA, MA or not.

Eikaiwa schools in Japan are not, I would say the ideal situation for those few people who want to make a long term career out of teaching, for the simple reason that there are so many features of the structure of eikaiwa type businesses that are at odds with the business structure that schools which subscribe to Cambridge model and are accreditted by their system must have in order to be accreditted by their own system. CELTA certified instittutions do not and would not subscribe to the typical eikaiwa business model and for very good reason: it is grossly substandard.

People who work for such businesses in a manner that is grossly at odds with the training environment that they received cannot claim to be teaching professionals simply on the basis of their CELTA training, since what they actually do is very different in character.

Professional Eikaiwa businesses in Japan have their own in-house training, tailored specifically for the unique needs of Japan, and do not require instructors to be qualified, especially with qualifications that are more relevant to teaching students from other parts of the world.

As a supervisor, and then manager, I find our company product has been targeted specifically to meet the unique needs and requirements of our Japanese clientele, and that qualified instructors fail to recognize that, and too frequently revert to irrelevant teaching methodologies, which they have learned outside of the Japanese teaching environment.

The reason most Eikaiwa do not really recognise qualifications, is because they offer unique teaching materials and methodologies, and do their own rigorous training of all new teachers, qualifying all new employees to teach, according to the company’s own branded, high and tailor made standards.

My job was to train and supervise teachers, and I can assure you, our methods work, and our teachers are excellent, CELTA or NO CELTA.

Qualified teachers in fact can’t even understand the basics here, such as differing brain wave lengths, and have no concept of the time and energy that has been put into our materials, to cater specifically to those unique Japanese brain wave differences.

Rather than keeping the job simple, and sticking to the methods we dictate, they make a mess of it, exhausting themselves and students, by trying to teach in a manner, that is more suitable to teaching Pakistani immigrants in England.

This is Japan. Things are done in a Japanese way. Our training equips our teachers to do their job, in Japan, to the highest standard possible.

I have never seen a more insane bullshit post than John Coomes'. I think if we all reverted to facetious gash and ass posts it would still be a step up above what this asshole is trying to push.

"Cater specifically to those unique Japanese brain wave differences"? Really? You really want to post something like this in a place where educated people can read it?

Could not have put it better myself. Bravo. Rachel: get with the program. Unless you would rather leave Japan, that is.

Holy Shit? Your kind of person is exactly whose contract, we enjoy not renewing. Closed, small minded, idiots, who do not understand Japan, the unique Japanese educational environment, or appreciate the hard work our panels of experts put in, creating materials and lessons plans that are specifically tailored to meet the unique linguistic challenges, our Japanese clients face.

Let me guess. You never made it to supervisor, let alone manager. I can see why. You won't make it as an instructor, either.

Hey Rachel. How does max 20 hours contact teaching time sound? How does max 3 levels/types at any one time sound? How does seeing the same guys every week for a full semester sound? You can do it babe. All you need is a 'distance MA' and you will be doing real teaching. No more backpackers in your life.

Or: what about being the main English teacher in a private Junior High School. That's right babe. You are delivering the curriculum. The students are all yours. Get to know them, get to know the curriculum. Get better. Baby you can do it. You know you can.

Don't sell yourself short.

Mr. Coomes, I am sure you will be delighted to hear that I, as a matter of fact, have never made supervisor, manager, or gaijin fall-boy monkey in any massive corporate scam whose sole purpose is raping the Japanese consumer. Pushing ahead in the Eikaiwa business is truly shooting yourself in the foot; you only get to become a bigger criminal. Seriously, you should just quit your criminal ways, go back to Canada, apologize to your parents, and start paying back your student loans with an honest job.

I am fairly certain your so-called "panel of experts" are just a bunch of bullied, frightened 20- or 30- something, unmarried Japanese women who graduated from bottom-rung liberal arts universities and have not yet been fortunate enough to have an "Oops!" baby.

But enough entertaining internet-talk. I'm sure our fellow forum-goers have received enough fuel to keep their fires going until tomorrow morning's lessons. Let's get down to brass tacks.

There is no Eikaiwa outfit in Japan with the financial or intellectual resources to conduct and implement brainwave analysis in their teacher's textbooks.

No company in this country would invest in the equipment or human resources necessary to undertake such an endeavor. You've been reading too much of your own company's brochures.

Great Career plan for Rachel,

1 3 years in Junior High. knows the curriculum real well. knows the studens real well. knows the issues real well. Good score, Rachel.

2 3 years Senior High. knows the curriculum real wel. knows the students reall well.. knows the relation between the JH and SH systems real well. Good Score Rachel.

3 3 years Gadai. Knows the ful gamut of Japanese learning experiences real well. Equipped to teach in Japan at any level. Overseas institutions with an especial interest in Japanese clientelle, very interested.

Go, Rachel, Go!

Almost forgot. During that phenomenal experience building period, Rachel publishes. Yes, that's right. She publishes, not one, not two, but several very interesting papers. on language learning in the Asian context. Like wow!!! Go, Rachel, Go!!!!

What you mean to say is

If you don't like to stay, then you can Go, Rachel, Go !

Professional Eikaiwa businesses in Japan have their own in-house training, tailored specifically for the unique needs of Japan, and do not require instructors to be qualified, especially with qualifications that are more relevant to teaching students from other parts of the world.

Well I've seen communicative/CELTA teaching done in Japan with some degree of success, i.e. the students were improving their English and communicating with each other, as opposed to what I've seen in the unqualified "teaching" institutions where they tend not to develop their English ability, nor communicate with each other. Perhaps they do exist somewhere, but they're not the norm.

The other thing with having CELTA teachers and accreditation is that it gives some verifiable standards to a school, and if they live up to those standards, enhances their reputation. A non-accredited school may have better standards (according to some people above, they're all VASTLY SUPERIOR), however there's no independent verification of these "standards" going on. You only have the word of the school manager to go by, so who really knows what the standards are. Plus the CELTA/DELTA/MA route gives a teacher more career direction and motivation to do their job, and thus probably increases the standards a bit more.

However, I'll say it again, I am a toffee-nosed, elitist, Cambridge CELTA teaching CUNT, therefore everything I say is patronizing bullshit. So please take no notice of me.

Hey John

Can you elaborate on the whole "brain wave differences"? Citing some sources, preferably peer reviewed academic sources, would be ideal. If you can not do so, everything you just wrote sounds like complete bullshit.

Obviously second language learners from different countries tend to have different needs, but citing brain wave differences sounds like utter nonsense. Please enlighten us with your wisdom.

CELTA holders really seem like idiots from what I read on this board. Seriously, CELTA people, give up the defensive attitude and take criticism with the accolades. Or you just look immature.

CELTA holders really seem like idiots from what I read on this board. Seriously, CELTA people, give up the defensive attitude and take criticism with the accolades. Or you just look immature.

Thanks for adding to the debate there. It's been interesting to see the amount of bad feeling towards CELTA teachers, and the idea of getting a CELTA qualification. Likewise, non-CELTA people get very defensive about their unqualified position, and seem to think that CELTA people automatically look down on them. Maybe some do, but still, speaking as someone who's spent time as an unqualified "teacher" as well as a CELTA-qualified teacher, I know which one may lead you to more solid and interesting job opportunities, and will give you a better chance of working with skilled and experienced teachers. Each to their own, although as I said before, I'm a CELTA teacher, which automatically makes me, according to what's been written above, an idiot, juvenile, judgemental, insecure producer of "CELTA infomercials" and got too much time on my hands due to lack of work. (I really should get to see a shrink....)

Qualified teachers in fact can’t even understand the basics here, such as differing brain wave lengths, and have no concept of the time and energy that has been put into our materials, to cater specifically to those unique Japanese brain wave differences.

Good grief! As John McEnroe would have said, "Are you serious!?"

Unique Japanese brain wave differences you say? Holy Church of English Teaching. What is the name of your program, pray tell? Is the language teaching division of the Church of Scientology? Do you believe that aliens came down upon the earth and seeded the masses? So, you tap into brain waves, aye? The moon is made of green cheese, too.

Look. Stop wasting all your time arguing about this bloody CELTA qualification. (then again is does make a nice change from all the GEOS NA crap)

It's the DELTA and MA TESOL/TEFL that are the big qualifications in the "industry". And if you have these qualifications you shouldn't even be in Japan anyway, as you'd be compeletely wasting them. These conversations are pointless.

And Rachael - how do you define Backpacker teacher? Someone on a working holiday visa or someone that simply has a degree in a field unrelated to EFL? Hence probably about 90% of people out here!!

There's not that much difference compared to someone who has a history degree and has come to teach in Japan, or someone who has a history degree plus CELTA. Yes, you'll have some basic knowledge of how to teach a communicative lesson but it's only marginal. Learning the Grammar properly takes 1-2 years full time teaching experience.

A lot of people question why this site exists. What is the point of it? Anyone reading the debate that is currently raging at the moment has their answer right here.

How would you like to be in Japan, and not be employed as an English teacher? How would you like to have people constantly asking you with a knowing look: 'Are you an English teacher then?' Wink Wink. 'Do you work for ECC?'. Wouldn't you hate that? Wouldn't you wish the entire shitty language teaching 'profession' just dissappeared off the face of the earth, so that maybe you could talk to people about something else?
Wouldn't you like to get your hands around the throats of those smarmy professors from Cambridge University who thought they were being so fucking clever inventing this bogus qualification called the CELTA so they could make a fortune printing books for people who didn't know how to teach. Damned right you would.

Burn the lot of you.

Am I the only person that seems to understand that 'John Coomes' is taking the piss? Are you all Americans or something?

Learning the Grammar properly takes 1-2 years full time teaching experience.

The very fact that you seem to think language teaching boils down to 'learning the grammar' proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

For your own good please go away and do a CELTA or something

The hordes of crazy Japanese and Korean students waving their Murphy's, bellowing impenetrable and unanswerable questions and pursuing this CELTA bod around the corridors of Sydney GEOS proved only two things:

+ Grammar was important to the paying punters
+ the CELTA was of little use in warding them off

Happy days....................................

And the fact that every one of the teachers employed at Sydney GEOS had (or was certainly supposed to have considering they were a NEAS accredited school) a CELTA or TESOL to legally work as an ELT teacher in Australia again shows the value of those qualifications. No CELTA/TESOL = no job in Australia pal.

Then again, having worked at one of the schools that had to mop up after GEOS went under I have a very low opinion of the academic standards at those institutions. It seems that Higher Intermediate meant something very different at GEOS schools to everywhere else in the country.

Again proving that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

The very fact that you seem to think language teaching boils down to 'learning the grammar' proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

For your own good please go away and do a CELTA or something

Oh no no no, don't do a CELTA!! According to lots of people on here who don't have a CELTA, you'll turn into an insecure, judgemental, patronizing idiot, posting "CELTA infomercials" on here all the time because you can't get any work.

And, given that round about the end of 2009 GEOS Sydney seemed to have lost everyone's cv, gawd knows what qualifications we really had!
Why haven't you got a good opinion of those schools that mopped up after the GEOS kerfuffle? I guess we GEOS hands understood that our standards were higher than a meek and gentle crowd we just didn't see the need to boast about it.
(Oh, ain't the precision of the English language a wonderous thing!!!)

I have said this with more detail in previous posts, but I am moved to say it again given all the posts above. I am in the US. Before I came to this site, I had never even heard of CELTA. Out of curiosity, I looked into what the CELTA included in its core of courses. My assessment was that it was a decent start for one seriously considering a career in teaching ESL/EFL. In other words, the CELTA is better than no formal education in TESL at all. However, CELTA would not cut it here in the US. Universities require an MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics just to be considered. Our High School ELL courses typically require a teacher who possesses an MA AND a State Teaching Credential in the subject area or a multi-subject state teaching credential inclusive of the subject area. Middle school and elementary school teachers must have the same state teaching credentials, but can get by on just a Bachelor's degree (plus that credential).

Finally, to those who state that a thorough knowledge of English grammar is not necessary, please think again. My MA program in TESL/Applied Linguistics included courses in grammar, courses in linguistics and courses in phonetics. The program did not "preach" the communicative approach. We learned a number of teaching methodologies and were encouraged to be creative and eclectic to meet the needs of the students.

I will not bash the CELTA people for taking the initiative to better themselves professionally. Whether the CELTA is worth the time and expense is up to the individual. CELTA is not the end-all to ESL/EFL instruction; it is a decent beginning.

Wow, CELTA people seem to very immature, defensive, and definitely not open to criticism or discussion on the finer points of the art of teaching. Guess their bubble has been burst. Guess that I-DID-A-ONE-MONTH-COURSE-AND-PAID-LOTS-OF-MONEY-AND-NOW-I-AM-GOD ego got shot down a little. What else would explain the black-and-white sarcastic commentary from CELTA people...

Honestly, I feel less about CELTA people after reading their posts on here. Would probably think twice about hiring such big egos in the future. Can't see they would mix well with other, non-CELTA teachers. Maybe that is why all those CELTA-providing schools can never guarantee a teaching job for their graduates, even though they say it is the end-all "professional" certificate.

Well, Uri Carnat of GEOS Montreal doesn't have a CELTA. Then again, I do not even think he has a TESOL certificate. Heard through the GEOS grapevine he fudged a certain prior teaching gig at another school on his resume...Supposedly he never actually got his TESOL or CELTA, or had any relevant language teaching experience. Fooled GEOS Japan, and in a year he was manager of that sh*thole of a school. Goes to show you how you can work your way up in the GEOS world with absolutely no experience or credentials.

Well that's explained by the immaturity of people like yourself, making sweeping comments and denigrations about CELTA teachers, and firing pot-shots against them from the comfort and safety of your computer. All I've done is taken the piss out of that attitude, and explained the facts, i.e. if you have a CELTA qualification, you're in just a slightly better position to build a better career than if you don't have one.

Nowhere have I said that not having a qualification automatically means you can't teach, nor have I said that having a CELTA automatically means you can teach. I guess you feel threatened by the fact that having a CELTA puts you in just a slightly better position to build a better career and develop better teaching skills than if you don't have one. To paraphrase you, I've "shot down your ego" too.

Plus it shows a huge amount of immaturity on your part to base your opinions of the characters of all CELTA teachers on the comments of one or two on an Internet forum. If you can't stand the sarcasm, don't dish out the snide comments in the first place. I expect you'll continue though.

Mackorello....SLOW DOWN, buddy. Your response is the kind of thing everyone is jumping on on here. Too defensive.

There were plenty of black-and-white comments about CELTA on here form CELTA supporters (some would say cult members). If your're not CELTA, you are an uneducated, backpacking phony...ring a bell?

While I am not one of those outright againts CELTA (more education is always better, mostly), but I am a little bewildered by some of the comments from you and other CELTA-backers. A little bit scary even. Maybe have to re-think your professional and tone of voice if you really want to gain support behind you and CELTA. If you haven't noticed, your comments haven't really done anything to convince non-CELTA people of the merits of CELTA over other elements in teaching. In fact, you probably lost a few people alongt he way, especially judging by recent comments.

Mack, I am with you. As I have mentioned twice now, I believe the CELTA is a good start for one seriously considering a career in ESL/EFL. I do not see how one can bash another simply because that person wishes to better himself.

Mack, I am NOT with you. CELTA is not the end-all like you and so many think. Like the last poster says, it is only a start, not the "professional certification" / I-know-everything / smarter than hose without CELTA that some think it is. In fact, I use to hold a much higher regard for it before reading all the rude comments on here from CELTA-backers. Sorry, just MHO.

I never realized there was such a level of bad feeling against qualified teachers. I guess people "teaching" (I use the word loosely) without a qualification feel threatened by them, hence the snide remarks I talked about (which I probably took too personally).

Certainly I would never hire someone without a recognized teaching qualification if I was running a school. CELTA/DELTA etc. is a recognized route with set teaching standards to reach. IMHO, a qualified teacher following that route with the right attitude will, on average, become a better teacher, and have better opportunities, than an unqualified one.

But of course, it's these kinds of comments that wind up the unqualified "teachers" and leads to all the "snide remarks" and "immaturity". I've never said that being unqualified means you can't teach. You may well become a good teacher, but it'll be hit and miss without widely-recognized standards to attain, and you won't get so many opportunities as you would have done had you gotten qualified.

Anyway, I'm sure this will lead to more bad feeling, snide remarks, sarcasm and the like from the silly people out there. Glad I can help them get it off their chest if nothing else!

Mack, I am NOT with you. CELTA is not the end-all like you and so many think. Like the last poster says, it is only a start, not the "professional certification" / I-know-everything / smarter than hose without CELTA that some think it is.

I think I made it clear earlier that it's only a start, a minimum standard at the beginning of your career that you can build on, should you choose to. As said above, it's the further qualifications like DELTA or MA that show that you've reached a higher level.

Gotta CELTA, gotta MEd. Did CELTA full-time....was OK, bit teaching template oriented. A question that nagged during the CELTA was "has anybody ever been failed out of this course?" The CELTA instructors hinted that the evaluation letters they wrote and issued to the students were more important that the actual CELTA certificates.
Anyway, got the CELTA. Sort of enjoyed the course. (Apart from the CELTA student critique sessions being a bit torrid due to one really aggressive fellow student...will never forget that bastard!). Found that the CELTA did help in getting Eng teaching jobs in UK and Oz. Bit like a car driving licence though in that a dl allows you to drive but doesn't prove you are much of a driver. (Frankly, my MEd falls into much the same boat!)
So maybe, as an Ancient Mariner in the world of language teaching, my advice would be to consider and treat the CELTA simply as a driving licence for the industry in certain countries.

Mack, sorry, but that is why you are not running a school and others of us are. It seems only those teaching, and who probably spent a lot of money on CELTA, are the ones on here extolling the superiority of it all. I never said CELTA was bad, but some of the comments from CELTA-backers leave me puzzled, saddened, and just plain angry. Enough so that I would , even if it meant I missed a good candidate. I just do not want to chance hiring someone with such an attitude and feeling that they are automatically superior than others without that particular brand of paper. And that is really what it is, a brand name.....It is NOT certification or standardization, as you so loosely assert. It is only one in a myriad of choices out there. Maybe better than many, but not the best as want us to believe. CELTA might be good for those with absolutely no teaching sense or passion, but in the end you need a lot more than that to be a successful teacher. I usually can spot people who have the other 99% of what is needed, and CELTA doesn't figure into to it much. Just being honest. It is a basic training course and that is about it.

11:59 Well said. And, no, I have never heard anyone failing out of a CELTA class. Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it.......

I did CELTA about 15 years ago. And whilst it is true that no one failed, there was a category of pass that wasn't really a pass: which everyone knew to be like the D category rating. Where I was, in London, you'd need to get an A pass to be assurred of work and a B pass gave you an in to start off with some part time work. If you got a basic pass: and that is what the majority got, then you'd need to be willing to travel to get steady work.

And this is the acceptance level within the group of schools that actually subscribed to and supported this type of qualification. So it's not that easy. Most of the schools in this network are in Europe, but there are a few club members further afield. The penetration of this network of schools into Asia has been minimal, and the acceptance of the qualification here is correspondingly less, although it has a certain amount of general recognition.

At the time that this qualification was first invented, the private language school thing was in boom times and it was part of an effort to standardise across Europe and worldwide. However, as the State in most countries, including Britain, stepped in to take the lion's share of the overseas language student cake with schools and universities just about everywhere getting in on the act, this group got crowded out to some extent, with uni qualifications taking precedence as tickets to work in most places other than the original group, which of course will continue to give precedence to its own qualifications. These days, if you want to be assured of a job long term within this group, you have to have a DELTA and even this is getting a bit dodgy with the economy being what it is.

I thought it was a pretty good course, overall. It gave you a basic sense of how a lesson could be structured towards some kind of goal activity that you would then assess. The weakness, however, is that you don't really know very much about grammar, level, what the students you are teaching are really like or anything. You are just kind of guessing about what they might or might not need. So if you did your practice and the students didn't seem to have learned what you hoped, then you wondered: well what should I do now, which is a true teacher's question. However, on the course you never got the chance to go to that next stage. It was all just one off stuff and the focus was mainly on your technique rather than on whether anyone was learning anything or not (It was kind of assumed that they weren't, because you were only practicing and the students were putting up with you).

The people who did well on the course had a pretty good feel for where the students were 'at', instinctively, I guess and also could nut out lesson plans quickly. They got the Bs and As. Most of us had some problems with all the knowledge holes, however and got basic passes only.

It was good, basically. But most people just wanted the thing as a ticket to travel with. Their basic motivation was short term, and you don't become a career teacher with a short term focus. This meant that when people did go out and get work, their reasons for taking jobs were more about where it was, what the salary and social life were like etc. etc. Rather than what it might do for thier futures as teachers. People who actually landed up in a job that did their careers any good would be lucky, I think. Those who later decided that they wanted to keep teaching would probably have had to take 2 or 3 steps backwards before they could move forwards again, because they had spent too long in the wrong places doing the wrong things. However,the majority used their CELTA for the original purpose they had. Something to help them earn some money while they went travelling.

Mack, sorry, but that is why you are not running a school and others of us are. It seems only those teaching, and who probably spent a lot of money on CELTA, are the ones on here extolling the superiority of it all.

Um, no. I run a school and love CELTA/TESOL grads. Then again, I don't work in Japan any more. The majority of 'students' in Japan don't need a language teacher, they need a dancing monkey/psychologist/drinking buddy. Very few of them have any intention of putting in anywhere near the amount of work outside of class to get close to improving beyond a middling-Intermediate level at best.

Hiring any kind of qualified teacher to work in Japanese language school is like taking a cheap hooker out to dinner at a five star restaurant; complete overkill.

Well you've been talking as if all unqualified teachers are fantastic, and all qualified teachers are idiots, and you're still making sweeping comments that CELTA teachers are arrogant, and have "no teaching sense or passion". Those remarks are just as wrong-headed as the idea that someone without a qualification absolutely has no chance of ever being any good at teaching (which I never said anyway).

I also wonder about the operation you're running. Beside your attitude to qualified teachers, if your school isn't meeting certain recognized teaching standards, accredited by a recognized external teaching body, then I certainly wouldn't want to work for you, let alone be a manager, as (sorry to offend you again) it'd do little for my career. It also brings into doubt the claims you're making about the standards of your school, if you're the only one making them.

I also wonder how much you actually know about teaching if you haven't had any training yourself, if you've just been making it up as you go along. But again, maybe I've misunderstood you. I know there's a "myriad" of courses out there, and a lot of them aren't worth much. Cambridge and Trinity are 2 of the leading ones, and that's not a "loose assertion" as you claim. If you think that, you really are living in cloud cuckoo land.

I think you are being a little unfair to the Japanese students there. Is the school you now run somewhere that has once a week lessons and gives lot of homework for people to do at home so that they can 'learn by themselves'? Hope not. Cos it would be hard for anyone to keep the motivation to get above intermediate level studying like that. Only a few people in any country would make it going that way: and yet, outsitde of a gaidai, that type of arrangement is usually the only thing available at private language schools in Japan. Schools which very often sell their customers false beliefs that they will in fact be able to learn a language well that way.

Or, is your school one that offers part/full time study options to people coming from their own country to study in an English speaking country. Completely different ball game there, really. OK maybe the Koreans, and the Chinese do tend to do a bit better than the Japanese in these situations, but not that much, I would say. Even then, I don't think you can blame that on national laziness exactly.

Mack, I am with you. As I have mentioned twice now, I believe the CELTA is a good start for one seriously considering a career in ESL/EFL. I do not see how one can bash another simply because that person wishes to better himself.

That's what I've tried to explain to our friend on here, to no avail. He takes offence at the suggestion that not having a recognized teaching qualification puts one in a less competitive position when it comes to advancing your career.

Not only that but the more unaccredited schools there are like his, the lower the overall standards become (no matter how high he thinks his standards are), and the greater the number of "scammy operations". It gives the business a bad name, which has a knock-on effect on those of us trying to work towards higher, recognized standards. It's kind of self-defeating really, and hearing comments like his makes you wonder why you should bother.

Wow, honestly CELTA guys and girls, you are absolutely NOT doing yourselves any service by some of the comments your are writing on here. VERY defensive, indeed. I have been mostly an observer on this site, just finding it great for ESL-related entertainment. But I have to say this is one of the only times I felt I must step in and voice.

CELTA people: if your. I have an MA in Education, along with multiple experiences and advanced courses (getting old, people). I never see any sort of this inferiority complex-driven attitude amongst my peer with similar qualifications that I am seeing on here with CELTA people. As someone said before, CELTA is only a start. Given the amount of time some have spent trying to defend a "start", it just amazes me. You should be on to the next qualification and spending more time gaining valuable experience in a variety of fields. Hanging on to the CELTA certificate really is sad.

By the way, if you check back a few days worth of comments on this thread, as I did, you will see it was those CELTA-only backers that came out with broad generalizations and sweeping assertions. It was you have to like CELTA and agree with everything the CELTA-blessed say, or you are not worthy. At least that was my impression. Hoenstly, CELTA people, you have done yourself a disservice. I feel sorry for the CELTA people who have more humility, .

I hire teachers on a monthly basis for a very respectable language school NOT in Japan. I find CELTA graduates many times are "dancing monkeys" no different than the "dancing monkeys" of the Japanese teacher kind. The only difference is the CELTA grads seem to have more attitude and boast of their "great accomplishment" too much.

Honestly, CELTA is definitely only a start just as many good TESOL programs are. Both need experience and character to complete the package. CELTA is just a minor blip in a career in TESL. Not the end-all and not worth anything if someone with the piece of paper isn't humble or willing to learn outside CELTA lines.

Keep arguing CELTA is the best and no one can beat it, and you onyl make things worse for you in the eyes of people like me who actually hire people who come back to their home country looking for a real job.

By the way, if you check back a few days worth of comments on this thread, as I did, you will see it was those CELTA-only backers that came out with broad generalizations and sweeping assertions.

Not true. I triggered off the anti-CELTA feeling by saying the following:

get some proper teaching credentials (in my case, a CELTA) and get yourself into a proper teaching job, with proper pay and conditions, a proper contract and, most importantly, a proper career where you'll actually learn how to be a teacher, and provide a much better service than any of these fleecing, scamming eikaiwa and dispatch companies could ever give.

To which the immediate response was this:

That was the worst CELTA infomercial I have come across. We all know the CELTA boys try hard to "standardize" the industry, but in the end they are just an over-glorified, over-priced brand name like any other.
Teaching doesn't come from paper. It comes from actually being a TEACHER, but too bad most do not know what that means...or care to know.

This led on to all sorts of other pot-shots, snide remarks and abuse against CELTA and CELTA teachers. I seemed to have dragged out an awful lot of anti-CELTA bigotry by stating the plain fact that, if you start off with a CELTA, work your way towards a DELTA/Diploma or an MA, you will be able to build a better teaching career than remaining unqualified and working for a "scammy operation".

The only people who could have a problem with that are people who aren't qualified and think they know it all, and hence feel threatened by people with CELTAs and similar qualifications. (And when I say CELTA, I should say ANY recognized teaching qualification - B Ed, PGCE, Trinity TEFL for example. That was the point I was getting at.)

Dude, are you on here all day and everyday? If your CELTA was so awesome, why do you have so much free time on your hands.

Actually, it wasn't just your comments. You need to quote a few others on here too while you are at it. David B. seems the only sensible person on this insane board.

Bigotry? Oh, my...What an unfortunate mis-use of terms, especially one so serious in nature.

Grow up. CELTA people got on here . Some people disagreed on various levels. Most of it is called constructive criticism, something you obviously cannot take. If CELTA is so superior, then you would have been easily able to argue it merits without going into "stupid backpackers/ TESOL certificates", etc. You could have proven your worth if it was there. But acting like a used car dealer trying to outsell people who might not see your point of view is just sad. Maturity might be the next certificate you get.

The comments on this thread seem to be getting mixed up and ascribed to different posters. I think some people would be better advised to switch off their computers and go and find something else to do, before they have a LetsJapan-induced nervous breakdown and go insane.

After I got my CELTA, I was a bit naive. I took the first job that came along in Japan. It was with a company called NOVA.

During 3 day training, I realised my terrible mistake. The main (and only) textbook which we had to use with the company was one which had been used as an object lesson on our CELTA course of problem textbooks: and now I had to use it and nothing else all the time. We had listening exercises to do. But there were no tape recorders, so what we had to do was take both sides of a conversation ourselves and pretend to be two people talkiing. We had to make up the listening questions on the spot (lesson planning was a few minutes between lessons). But get this. Students would repeat the same lesson up to 5 times until they had 'passed' the lesson, or even after they had 'passed' the lesson anyway depending on the whim of the teacher, so they had already 'listened' to this stuff many times before and read it. Some of the students had already memorised their books, but still we had to have this 'listening' exercise. All lessons in the textbook where done and repeated in random order, in a different group with a different teacher, so nobody knew what was going to happen next. I could go on and on about what a degradation of the initial CELTA training this stuff was. You wouldn't believe some of it.

Anyway, after I finished my 3 day training, I was assigned to a school and had a trainer type called an AT. This guy said to me 'Don't worry. Some peple in this company don't have any prior training, but I did. That's how I got promoted so fast. You see, I have a CELTA'. 'Oh', says I, 'I've got one of those too', but I have a few problems with it. What happens in this company is diffferent from my training, don't you think?

'Ah, says my trainer. Yes, but you probably learned on your CELTA course, that you have to be flexible. I did. You see, the particular methods used by this company may seem strange to you now, but they actually suit the learning styles of Japanese students very well. You learned a little about 'learning styles' on your CELTA didn't you? That bamboozled me. Of course, I didn't know much about Japan or Japanese people yet, so I was foxed. Maybe he was right. I don't know.

Actually, it was total bullshit, but it took me a couple of months to figure that out. But that is exactly how this company worked. It took advantage of people's culture shock and inexperience to make people think that maybe what they were doing was somehow alright, and even the people who had been trained to know better got sucked in.

Anyway a couple of months later it was Christmas time, and we had this Christmas party with the staff. I thought I had better go, and obviously hoped to have some fun. But there was nonone there except this CELTA trainer two other new teachers and the staff. Where are all the other teachers, I asked. Oh, they must have been busy, I guess. It was kind of dull. They talked a lot about bad relationships between staff and teachers and getting friendlier. I hadn't actually noticed any of this actually, because I was still so shell shocked about my classroom nightmare.

Two days later, I was on the final shift of the day. The AT came up to me and said: 'I don't know how to tell you this, but, you know how it's against our company policy to have any social relations with the students outside our school?' 'Yes,', I said. Well we have this big Christmas party and half of the students are waiting outside right now, 'Do you want to come?' OK, I say, are all the teachers coming then?' 'No, only some of them know about it' 'I see. So why are you inviting me?'. 'Well normally, I wouldn't have, but you are on the last shift, so I couldn't keep it a secret from you'.

Fuck that. I didn't go to the party. And I wasn't going to stay with that company any more. I didn't come back after the Christmas break. Yay.

Get this. Nova was not actually the worst of the eikaiwas in Japan. It was better than many. If you have a CELTA, for god's sakes don't work for an eikaiwa company.

Slow down people, especially the CELTA people who seem to get all defensive when . I am not an owner of a school, but I am a hiring manager. Let's just say the next time a CELTA resume comes across my desk I will think twice about hiring that person , if only to stop this kind of bickering from happening in my school. Honestly, you are only doing yourselves a disservice by trying so damn hard to convince people of your merits (sometimes through trash-talking others) who really are not interested or listening. Knowing when to stop is a virtue.

Which brings us to the place where this debate started. Which is more important? Experience or training? I would say that for actual teaching, experience is far more important. Depending on what the nature of that experience is. Of course, it is really difficult for a hiring type to gauge experience. Much easier to just look at what kind of qualification someone has or doesn't have and then remember a few remarks or things that has come into your consciousness one way or another about where they have been. Much harder to actually be able to evaluate experience. Therefore, from the point of view of getting hired it is not so much experience as having things on your CV that will make the hiring person think that you are a good gamble.

Eve.ry year there are literally thousands of graduates of CELTA courses from all over the world. You have been reading the ideas of about 5 people max on the CELTA, mostly as relating to one part of the world: Japan. My advice to you would be not to hire people who have worked in Japan, rather than worry about whether they have the CELTA or not.

Wait a minute, mate. This guy is a professional hiring type. He's not as stupid as to refuse to hire anyone who has worked in Japan before. Hell, he might even be hiring in Japan for all you know. Give him some credit for thinking power. Don't hire anyone who a) has a CELTA and b) has worked in Japan before, right? These guys didn't get to be in Human Resources without being able to put 2 and 2 together, did they?

Experience as a teacher in Japan, without relevant qualification, is not experience at all, as any language school with any credibility, outside Japan, who get swamped with bullshit applications from Japan returnees, who, some how, some way, think they can teach, or are teachers, will tell you.

Lost puppies that wasted years in Japan simply can’t teach – they don’t know the first thing about it – they have their heads up their asses, and the industry is sick to death of them.

For most places, it is an automatic policy, to throw any application from a Japan returnee, unless specifically qualified, straight in the waste paper basket.

No-one wants them set loose in their classrooms, because it is akin to letting a bull loose in a China shop.

Teaching and performing at an Eikaiwa are two different things entirely. It is a well-known fact.

Someone here referred to unlicensed Eikaiwa teachers as being "back packers".

That is a superb analogy. It is spot on.

Eikaiwa work is by and large unskilled work, and a phenomenon unique to zany and quirky Japan.

Anyone who thinks otherwise to the above, is deluded, and in need of help.

“I hire”

An idiot’s translation of the above is that is means the person who stated it, is a professional in this industry, who employs people, and knows what they are talking about.

A person with at least half a brain, however, can see immediately, that the person who wrote it owns/operates a “Mum and Pop’s” Language Gig in Japan, and just like the back packers he/she employs, would not have a clue about teaching, and that is why, they own a Mum and Pop’s Language Gig in Japan to begin with, because, being unqualified and clueless, beyond a superficial exposure to gullible Japan, they faced a closed door, if or when they returned home.

They also have a financial interest to promote the use of back packer labour, and certainly live in fear of any real quality being introduced and recognized in Japan, since they cannot afford to pay anymore than what one pays to a back packer.

Really, just a small, outreach Mom and Pop School, which are popping up left, right and centre, like toadstools, offering a personal touch, to increasingly impoverished and discerning customers, temporarily flying on the coat tails of the festering corpse of the Eikaiwa industry, which promoted “brain wave differences” and face to face communication with normal, every-day foreigners as being the only way to master English, as a grand cover-up, of course, to the fact that they hired on mass uneducated morons, at the lowest price possible, to empty wallets on mass in advance ASAP, and spend it on yachts and villas.

Really, there is still an element of Japanese society that still believes the brain wave stuff – and once they finally wake up, times are going to get tough for the “Mum and Pop’s” Outreach outfits, that’s for sure. Really, they are like a mice plague at present, and like all mice plagues, you will soon start to smell dead mice all over the place. The gold rush is so HOT, you even have notorious and shady rip off merchants trying to sell paper-thin franchise outlets to the prospectors, who, thrown in the scrap heap by bankrupt Eikaiwa, believe the hills are still full of gold.

Finally, Mackorello is absolutely correct. CELTA is a very good stepping stone in the right direction, for those wanting to eventually have a career in teaching, and no qualification at all, married to Eikaiwa work, is career suicide, and broadly frowned upon, across the entire world. The same applies to no qualification at all, married to Mum and Pop’s Outreach School work. Same, same.

Bring in proper standards and regulation, once and for all, and get rid of the fly by nighters, who employ the back packers on mass, once and for all.

Do you know why people are bending and twisting what you say Mackorello? Because the TRUTH hurts them. They know they don't know what they are on about, and they feel very uncomfortable with that. That feeling is so strong, they bend and twist your sensible advice, in an attempt to bury the simple truth, found in your diplomatic words. They can't stand seeing the truth. You can say it to them gently, you can ram in down their throats, but it does not matter, because the truth hurts them, and they do not want to know about it, see it, or hear about it. Morons.

Belinda. I think we are on the same page here. There are people who had a training, for example in CELTA, who then went on to use that training working in an eikaiwa. Their experience did not lead them to be able to use the training that they had to build up skills that would have any relevance outside of the seedy eikaiwa market. On the other hand if the same CELTA qualified person worked for a reputable language school in Spain for a few years, then their experience in that environment could make a world of difference. Hence my position that experience, not training is what is important.

I agree about the Mom and Pop schools. Most of them are basically following the eikaiwa model: all things to all men. Any time anyway anywhere. If you've got money we'll take it.

Having said that, there are a few that focus on, say, Elementary Kids only that get some actual results.

Well, I have talked about experience before. I used the game of tennis as an example of how years of bad habits will result in a rather bad serve, experience or not. But here is another example. I am told that in the old days a barber would do dental work. Yes, if you wanted a tooth pulled, your neighborhood barber could do it for you. And if you did not want to venture out of the house, grandma could it for you, too. She'd just fix the problematic tooth to some kite string and attach the other end to a door knob. You can guess the process. It was painful, but it did work. Now me, if a tooth ails me, I'd rather see a dentist who has had some formal training - no offense to the kindly local barber or grandma.

Well, up to a point. My mother became a teacher at the age of 40 in Britain. She did not training, but was put on a probationary year after which time she would be told whether or not she would get her registration as a teacher and be kept on. She passed her probationary year, became the head of her department 3 years later and later went on to become a headmistress. All with no training.

Now, I am not against training at all. Absolutely not. However, there are a lot of people who get the training, but still have problems doing the job and don't necessarily have particularly good careers. There are others, who for one reason or another were able to get in without the training and they did OK. Would they have been even better with the training as well: yes probably. However, I don't think it's the most important thing.

Another problem with the emphasis on training is that some teachers spend too much of their time chasing qualifications at the expense of parts of their work that are more important.

For example, if you are a teacher in a rural school, then your role as an active figure in the community is what is most important. So if you go all out for that as well as having great classroom stuff going on, you are doing well. But what about the type of person who instead of that puts the minimum into improving classes and their community role just so that they can produce some fancy paper or two on the role of IT in rural communities? Who gets to become a principal first, I wonder? The one who did their job, or the one who did the fancy paper?

Interesting all this stuff about resumes and hiring policies. It seems that a lot other DOSs have a very similar system to me. As an ESL DOS this is what happens when I get a resume:

No experience, no quals
Not a chance, point at a CELTA or TESOL and tell them to come back with that and a few years experience in a couple of good schools.

Experience only in Japan/Korea/China, no quals

Experience only in Japan/Korea/China, shonky quals (e.g. online TESL, TEFL certificate, etc.)

Experience only in Japan/Korea/China, legit initial quals (CELTA/TESOL)

Call back, perhaps arrange an interview if not too unhinged. Consider first for relief/cover or study tours until you've seen them teach. Carefully check as many references as possible. Ask around other DOSs I know in case they've fudged their resume. Decide how desperate we are.

2+ years Experience in several countries, legit initial quals (CELTA/TESOL)
2+ years Experience in several countries, EFL and ESL experience, legit initial quals (CELTA/TESOL)
Interview for casual position

Experience in several countries, EFL and ESL experience, legit initial quals (CELTA/TESOL) + MA/DELTA
Interview, consider for senior/permanent position

7 years + experience, legit initial quals (CELTA/TESOL)
Call back, with reservations over salary cost and why they haven't done any further qualifications

This is pretty much true of every DOS I know.

And, girls and boys, don't forget to ring around a few mates and check out the DOS before bunging in a job application.....while the academic managers are agonising over whether you have a CELTA or a DELTA, or even a FELTA or a SMELTA, you can be genning up on their CHARACTERS. Far more important, given the current crop of DOSs round the place!

Slow down people, especially the CELTA people who seem to get all defensive when . I am not an owner of a school, but I am a hiring manager. Let's just say the next time a CELTA resume comes across my desk I will think twice about hiring that person , if only to stop this kind of bickering from happening in my school. Honestly, you are only doing yourselves a disservice by trying so damn hard to convince people of your merits (sometimes through trash-talking others) who really are not interested or listening. Knowing when to stop is a virtue.

I think you're right about binning any CELTA/Trinity resumes that come your way. Those people would obviously not be up to the standard of working for an "accredited" school (that they were led to believe a CELTA would give them) to have to apply to an unaccredited place like yours, and will most probably be bitter about it, and have a superiority complex to go with it.

Slow down people, especially the CELTA people who seem to get all defensive when . I am not an owner of a school, but I am a hiring manager. Let's just say the next time a CELTA resume comes across my desk I will think twice about hiring that person , if only to stop this kind of bickering from happening in my school. Honestly, you are only doing yourselves a disservice by trying so damn hard to convince people of your merits (sometimes through trash-talking others) who really are not interested or listening. Knowing when to stop is a virtue.

I think you're right about binning any CELTA/Trinity resumes that come your way. Those people would obviously not be up to the standard of working for an "accredited" school (that they were led to believe a CELTA would give them) to have to apply to an unaccredited place like yours, and will most probably be bitter about it, and have a superiority complex to go with it.

Well, I listened to quite a few folks here, or at least quite a few posts, and I guess it's my turn again. It seems that we are still trying to resolve the topic of experience versus training.

It looks to me that we are going back and forth like this because when something works for us, we tend to think it works. Well, if that were true, I guess we'd all be shooting two-hand, underhand free throws in basketball. I think it is human nature to believe that the way you did it is the way to do it. To get an objective viewpoint, I say take a look at how things are done outside of our profession. That way we take all the subjectivity out of it.

If one wishes to become a doctor or a lawyer, he has to get the proper education followed by certification. Here in the US, that means a professional degree, MD or JD respectively AND passing the State Bar Association test or AMA test. We know what follows of course - lots of on the job training/interning. How about construction workers? Now, I might have some good carpentry skills that I picked up at the Boys Club building things, but in my state, if I try to build a house without a contractor's license, I will probably get sued and/or thrown in jail. The same goes for selling real estate. I might believe that I have a real knack for selling a house, but in my state I am required to have either the real estate salesperson's license or the real estate broker's license. There are courses that one must take and pass to those ends. When you have passed all the courses, then you have to pass the state licensing examination. Now, if we consider teaching in general, we might notice that licenses, credentials, certification and considerable education are required to land a teaching job. If I want to teach high school math in my state, I need to have at least a bachelor's degree in education, a passing score on the state test and a current teaching credential.

As I said the other day, if I want a tooth pulled, I'm inclined to see a licensed dentist. But if one fellow thinks he can do it better by fixing a piece of kite string to his ailing tooth and a doorknob, I'm not going to say one word of advice. To each his own they say.

A) What is an "accredited" place? You throw/ Obviously you are a newbie because if you had any knowledge of the industry whatsoever there are NO "accredited" singular bodies giving out their approval in most countries! Name a single body in Japan that "accredits" schools? Name one in many countries? In Canada and the U.S. their, but they do not give preference to CELTA at all. Just meets the "TESL standards" of

b) If you think getting some magic piece of paper that "accredits" you by its OWN standards automatically for a career in teaching, well, you are deluded. Unlike you, I am an "accredited" teacher with several TESL certificates, two degrees in education, one being a masters, and loads of experience. My opinion matters, and I see all kinds of idiots coming through my door everyday begging for a job. Obviously, you would never make my standard for a teacher, but you might "pass" a CELTA certificate. Congrats on your one-month accomplishment. If that is all you can say for yourself in life, well, it puts things into perspective.

c) The school I manage is accredited by LANGUAGES CANADA and all of our teachers must meet their requirements. Guess what? Most do not have CELTA, but STILL meet the CREDENTIALS of a governing body. Go figure.

You can keep arguing, but for every MY ACCREDITED school will never hire another CETLA grad. Seriously, you really have no tact or professionalism, so why would I hire you, CELTA or no CELTA. You constant refusal to see another point of view, one from a manager with more experience and education in TESL than you probably could dream of, just goes to show how sad a CELTA grad can be. Might also explain why you have so much time on your hands and seem a little bitter. Out of a job?

I can't believe these comments are for real any more. Do you really have this much hatred for all CELTA grads across the planet, purely because of the comments of a few on the Internet? Seriously mate, switch off the computer and find something else to do.

(And FYI, I am working and am about to do a further course, so there)

You seem primarily to be arguing on the question of whether the need for qualifications is justified or not in society. Generally speaking, I would agree with you that yes it is - especially as a mechanism of social protection, which is by and large the line of argument in the most recent post. On that topic, whereas I do agree with you, I am generally inclined to believe that there has been a tendency to over-regulation by the state. You can get qualifications in cleaning toilets these days - and I mean that quite literally: it might be called a licence in 'Sanitary Englineering'. When I was young people typically left school at 16 years old. If people wanted to be nurses, they could start training at 16, start office work at 16, start learing to be a builder start their apprenticeship at 16. Start training to be teachers (non secondary) at 16. These days you need to be a graduate to do some of these jobs that 16 year olds used to be able to get. Of course there was in house training, but this is something that has largely been abandoned now, with employers refusing to carry the costs of learning in the way that they used to.

At that time there was a severe unemployment, bad economy problems, and one of the solutions to it was to keep everybody in education for longer. Sometimes a lot longer. Some people going up to the age of 30 in fact before doing anything responsible or meaningful with their lives. After that was set up successfully, with all sorts of new fangled qualifications added into the process, you then got into the withdrawal of state support. That is, increasingly, people who had been forced into more and more education were now being forced to pay for more and more of that education themselves in order to ensure good jobs for themselves.

Is our society really any better overall as a result of this proliferation in education? Personally, I think not. Much of it is wasted money, and frankly wasted potential. Too much time spent practicing, not enough time spent on the real thing.

However, even with the above reservations, I agree with you that both training and qualifications are a social necessity, even if not an individual necessity in the case of every occupation. That said, however, in I place far more value on experience (with a training dimension in many cases) : what it is, where it is and who it occurs with, than I do on pre service training. The good doctors become good, because of where they work and who they work with. There are some things they will never learn to do unless they are working in the right situation at the right time with the right people.

Intern/mentorships/on the job training in relatively sound environments are preferable to mostly academic training followed by substandard working situations. All of the former can have their problems, especially if you have certain political aims in education, however, teaching is a social medium and teachers should learn to teach primarily in that socially constructed way, I believe: even if the result is the repetition of mistakes. Qualifications and training approaches have not necessarily lead to any reduction in the making of social mistakes. For example, whilst I have nothing against feminism, an over emphasis on feminism for a decade lead by people armed with the latest training and qualifications, back there, ended up causing more problems than it solved in my opinion.

Excuse the typos of the last post as it is late here in the working day and the idiotic postings of a few had me flying off the handle a bit.

Just to clarify...

a) There is no singular body that accredits school worldwide. Even in most countries, there are more than one competing standard for a TESL teacher standard. Many others have spoken about this on here in detail, and there is plenty on the Internet that talks about it, so I do not know why some idiot keeps posting that "your unaccredited" school. Really? Does he/ she even know what school I work at to make such a trite comment, let alone what country I am in? Enlighten me as to the world teacher standards? Sorry, but my school meets ALL the top standards in the country and we only have ONE CELTA grad...And only because that person has a masters in teaching/ education.

b) Based on the comments of one or two CELTA posters, I probably would never consider CELTA grads fresh out of school to be anywhere near the qualifications of experience I would consider for a teacher position at my school. As they keep posting the same dribble, I will even think less of them in the future and that will directly impact my decision-making on resumes in the future.

c) Anyone, like the one poster on here, who relies on CELTA as an end-all or all-encompassing certificate that "proves" they are the best or better than someone else, is completely deluded. Hence why CELTA grads have to apply for the same job just like TESOL and non-TESOL grads, and still get rejected from those jobs. Sometimes, a TESOL grad will get the job over a CELTA grad. The "certificate" is just a small part of an overall teacher's portfolio. Sad that this little CELTA guy/ girl can't figure that out.


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