TEFL is becoming a big business and teaching English abroad is now a very popular option, not only for people on their gap year, but also people looking to dramatically change their career or live life in another part of the world. One question that gets thrown around a lot is why; TEFL teachers are not always sure why their students are learning English, especially when it is not the first language in the majority of countries they go to teach in. The truth is, there are so many reasons why people chose to learn English as a second language that we would not be able to discuss them all, however, there are some reasons that seem more popular than most.
Entertainment and knowledge
ot many people know that around 55% of the internet is written in English, meaning all other languages in the world only make up only 45% of the whole of the World Wide Web. By speaking English, learners will gain more access to online information compared to their peers who decided against learning the language. English learners can also find it easier to join in with the larger conversation online. With the increase in social networks and forums, the chance for non-native English speakers and native speakers to interact has greatly increased, whereas non-learners would miss out on talking to a large majority of the world.
It is a fact that many of the world’s most popular movies and television programs are made by English speakers, and therefore are in the English language. By learning the language with a TEFL teacher, learners can begin to watch some of the popular movies they would have previously had to use subtitles on and many teachers even use English-speaking films and programs as a teaching aide.
Employment and business
ften referred to as the language of business, learning English offers people the chance to work for a larger amount of businesses in higher positions. Being able to talk to people in countries with major economies will naturally lead to better business deals and will attract better clients, therefore increasing revenue. This means English speakers are a lot more attractive to employers all over the world, even in non-English speaking countries, as employees will be able to interact with countries like the US, the world’s largest economy by far.
In English speaking countries, speaking multiple languages, as well as the required English, is increasingly popular as it means the company would be able to strike up more deals with multinational companies, or even expand into other economies, becoming a multinational company themselves. In situations like this, where multiple languages are represented in one meeting, it is likely that the meeting would be conducted in English, or in the client’s native language, meaning any bilingual employees would be first choice for important calls or meetings within a company in a country that doesn’t speak English.
When building a career in technology, knowing English is key. As well as being the language of business, English is also the language of technology and science, especially in medicine, computer science and genetics, with the majority of research being conducted in English speaking countries. When pursuing a career in any of these subjects, knowing English is essential for unlocking a wealth of information and research that can lead to job progression or even new discoveries.
Cambridge, MIT, Oxford and Harvard are just a few examples of the top universities in the world, and all of them are situated in English speaking countries. In order to gain access to the world’s best higher education, applicants from non-English speaking countries must take an English language test during their application process in order to prove they will be able to learn in an English speaking environment. By learning English from a young age, many parents are opening the door for their children to study abroad when they are of university age. This is why TEFL is taught from kindergarten age in most countries that learn TEFL.
As well as the English language test, many universities require an understanding of English at a minimum of a basic level, no matter where they are in the world. This is due to the majority of research being conducted in English and therefore, teachings may follow the same pattern. A large proportion of university courses the world over are now taught in at least basic English, so in order to get access to higher education, many people are learning English, or are participating in TEFL lessons in schools.
s English is full of weird and wonderful grammar rules and pronunciation, learning it as a second language can be very challenging. Many people, especially adults, choose to learn English as a challenge and as something that can open up new doors culturally. Being comfortable with the English language allows learners to go on holiday to English speaking countries and interact with the locals and read road signs. Being this comfortable means learners are subject to cultural exchanges or even hosting a cultural exchange teacher or their own in their home.
Knowing the English language can be seen as prestigious in some communities as it is such a challenging language to learn. However, as it is the language that rules the free world, stepping up to the challenge can help learners get ahead of their non-English speaking peers and becoming a member of a much wider community and a crucial team member in a number of businesses.
Emily Ware is a digital content writer for ESLstarter, a TEFL recruitment agency who send fluent English speakers all over the world to teach English to speakers of other languages to help them get ahead in an English speaking world.
If you want to teach English abroad make sure to check out TEFL English Teaching Jobs and discover 1000s of amazing overseas TEFL teaching opportunities here. Apply now, there are still some placements available!