By Mayra Yaranga
It cannot be denied that obtaining international certifications, both for language proficiency and for methodology, is a career-boosting move for teachers of English as a foreign language, because they are valid proof not only of their competence, but also of their commitment to their profession.
In the first place, teachers should constantly consider their proficiency in English. A good place to start would be the Cambridge English qualifications, given their wide availability and acceptance in the TEFL world. I would argue that all teachers, regardless of the level or age they teach, should start their careers at a solid B2 standard, that is to say, to hold a Cambridge First (FCE) with a Passing Grade of B or A. Naturally, teachers should always seek to improve this standard, especially now that children in many schools are being given the opportunity to sit such examinations. Ideally, the teachers in charge of preparing these students should have experienced the examination, as well as the ones above the level. Another compelling argument in favour is the fact that holding different certificates may be a key for teachers to be promoted, to teach different classes or to seek different job opportunities.
Teaching methodology is another aspect in which international examinations can be a valuable tool. Nowadays, TEFL professionals need to be familiar with the theoretical foundations and well versed in the terminology of the profession. For teachers with little experience, the TKT would be ideal in order to guarantee that such foundations are present. Unfortunately, qualifications such as the CELTA or DELTA are still available to very few people in our country, and should only be considered when time and resources become available.
I would like to suggest that teachers ought to devote an entire year (or at least eight months) to preparing for the demands of any qualification sought. There are resources available over the internet to this purpose. Other than that, they could consider training courses provided that they have the motivation and commitment to meet the demands of such courses.
What do YOU think?
What difference do international examinations make to teachers’ careers?
Mayra Yaranga (1985) has completed Doctorate studies in Education at UNIFÉ; she holds a Master’s Degree in Media, Culture and Identity from Roehampton University (London) revalidated by PUCP, a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from UPCH and the Professional Title of Licenciada from IPNM. Currently she works as Pedagogical Specialist and Member of the Research Area for Universidad del Pacífico Language Centre. She is also Associate Professor at UNIFÉ. She has published papers in the fields of English Language Teaching and Cultural Studies.