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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: November 2012

2 - Training to be a language teacher


The previous chapter described the nature of the research upon which this book is based, and outlined the steps that were taken to identify a suitable framework for the book. Chapters 2–10 present the experience of being a language teacher in a sequential manner. The sequence begins with this chapter, Chapter 2, which describes the experience of starting out as a language teacher. It concludes with Chapter 10, in which teachers reflect on the experience of being classroom language teachers.

This chapter is divided into four sections. Section 2.1 outlines some of the reasons why people choose to become language teachers. Section 2.2 describes the experience of training to be a language teacher on short, intensive courses. It highlights the pressurised nature of training courses and describes the challenges and pitfalls of teaching practice. Section 2.3 describes the shift towards becoming more student-focused, while Section 2.4 describes the feelings of newly trained teachers on entering the workforce.

The appeal of language teaching

It is now widely accepted that the scales have tipped in favour of English as the language of international communication – and that English is the preferred language of communication in the key areas of science, technology, trade and education. Because of the benefits that mastery of English brings with it, the learning of English is promoted in increasing numbers of countries throughout the world – with many education departments making the learning of English mandatory in primary and high schools. Growing numbers of people who are keen to upgrade their English language skills travel to English-speaking countries, either to attend short intensive language courses or to engage in tertiary studies in English-speaking institutions.