miércoles, 30 de enero de 2019

Struggling With job Interviews? 10 Tips to keep in mind

                                                                                                  By Zarela Cruz                                                                        

         Looking for a new job may be a tiresome experience, even when we have been looking forward to a new opportunity or to making progress in our career path.  Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the prospect of the big day? Below you will find some important aspects to keep in mind, although they are quite often neglected.

1.   Get ready for the interview.
2.   Show up 10 minutes before the arranged time.
3.   Always bring a copy of your resume.
4.   Observe their dress code or a reasonable one.
5.   Do not use your cell phone during the interview.
6.   Make eye-contact with your interviewer.
7.   Do not criticize your former employer.
8.   Do not tell the interviewer that you really need the job and the money.
9.   Be ready to explain how the company will benefit if they hire you.
10.  Prepare a model class should you be asked to give one.

         Is that all? not exactly. Whenever I have been in charge of evaluating applicants for a teaching position, I could see that some of them had a tendency to replicate the teaching model they were used to.  Furthermore, they used the same slides, a grammar-centered approach and examples related to themselves. They did not have any information about the students’ profile, education, age and interests to name some; the kind of courses that the institution offered, even the technology that was available.  In a word, they hardly did any research about the institution they wanted to work for, not to mention the position.  On the other hand, some of them mentioned personal issues such as how much they needed the money or that they wanted to have additional income. We all work for money, up to a certain extent, but it should not look like our top priority.

      Once you got the job, your homework is not done yet: it is the beginning of a new phase in your working life, so you have to be ready to undo some routines and embrace new ones; such as working in teams and participating in the training programs.

    By keeping these remarks in mind you will show that you are really suitable for the institution and for the position.

And now your turn:

Have you ever made a mistake in the course of a job interview?
Did you find the job you were looking forward to?

         We will be expecting your comments, suggestions and/or tips regarding this topic.


Zarela Cruz graduated from Ricardo Palma University as a translator.  She also finished her master’s studies in Linguistics and took some specialization diplomas in the Teaching of English and Spanish. She has also completed some online certificates:  Teaching the Working Adult, Online, Hybrid and Blended Education, among other self-study courses. She has taught different courses, programs and levels and has been a teacher trainer, a lecturer and online instructor for more than 25 years. She is has just finished her master’s studies in Translation. This article aims to reflect on the convenience of getting ready for a job interview to deal with it successfully.

miércoles, 23 de enero de 2019

Experience, Degrees or Language Proficiency? Does One Overshadow the Others?

By Mayra Yaranga Hernández

          As a new year starts, many English teachers begin to make decisions regarding their careers. This is the best time to analyse their strengths and weaknesses. They evaluate the labour market and may start looking for new jobs. Which aspects of their careers, as seen on their CVs, should they improve in order to stand out from the crowd?

          Some teachers take pride in their years of experience and consider them to be their best asset. Granted, seasoned teachers know the profession, which helps them justify their classroom decisions. However, if this experience is not linked to progress, it may not be so attractive to potential employers, since it may mean that these teachers were not able to step out of their comfort zone and try out new dares: teaching more challenging courses, preparing students for international exams, changing schools or adopting new methodologies, doing research, etc. Having said that, there should always be one or two areas in which English teachers should feel most confident and demonstrate more expertise.

          On the other hand, postgraduate courses (Diplomas and Masters’ Degrees) are nowadays much more attractive and more readily available than in the past; this is why quite a few teachers choose to take this option as part of their professional development. This seems to be a good idea: postgraduate courses usually provide theoretical foundations to many of the things that happen in class, as well as foundational research methodology for those more academically inclined. However, in practice, postgraduate study may not have an impact on the quality of language teaching and learning overall as some courses are probably too abstract or do not cater for their audience’s everyday needs.

          We could argue that English teachers may find that strengthening their language proficiency is probably more useful in the long run, as this is the core of their daily work as well as an important asset when seeking further challenges in their ELT careers. Teachers are usually advised to be at least one level above their students in terms of proficiency. This is especially true these days, since many Peruvian schools have decided to start teaching the language from early years and more parents also decide to enrol their children in private language schools after school classes. This results in an interesting challenge: by the time pupils arrive at secondary school, their standard is very close to B1 or B2, which means that teachers would need to operate at a good B2 or C1 in order to deal with language issues more confidently and without “losing face.” Naturally, spending in language training and qualifications requires time and money to invest, which not all teachers have, although maybe they could compensate for this by being constantly exposed to the language outside work.

          All in all, the three aspects are important for English teachers, and should be upgraded as much as possible throughout their careers; but, if they want to make themselves more attractive in our current career market, they should think very carefully about which of the three points they need to hone the most. Arguably though, improving their own language proficiency could yield the best long-term results.

Now, it’s YOUR turn:
Is it enough to focus on one aspect only?
 Is there one that you consider more important than the others?

Mayra Yaranga (1985) Doctor in Education (UNIFÉ); Master’s Degree in Media, Culture and Identity from Roehampton University (London) revalidated by PUCP, a Bachelor’s Degree in Education - UPCH and the Professional Title of Licenciada - IPNM. Currently she is Cambridge Oral Examiner and Member of the Research Area for Universidad del Pacífico Language Centre. She is also ESP coordinator and Pre-University Centre Director at UNIFÉ.

jueves, 17 de enero de 2019

We Will Keep Searching for Topics of Your Interest

By Enrique Rojas Rojas

 As we said before, 2019 started and with it our fourth year of existence as the Research Group of the Language Center, Universidad del Pacífico; it also signals the fourth year of publishing this blog, dedicated to the interchange of thoughts and ideas related with the teaching of foreign languages and the wellbeing and advancement of the persons dedicated to this endeavor.

         We must express our recognition and gratitude to the individuals who have accompanied us in this journey, not only in this country but throughout the Americas, and even in some faraway, and unexpected, places such as Russia, where we know we have regular readers.

         For the New Year we have started we have a number of very interesting topics swarming about our heads which we are eager to work and share with you. We begin this 12-month period with a series analyzing what is that makes a teacher attractive in the labor market. Is it their knowledge of the language or their learned pedagogical techniques? In other words, is it language competence, perhaps demonstrated by an international certificate, or a university teaching degree what makes teachers more desirable in the eyes of employers?

Or perhaps we might deal with what a language teacher should know in order to be able to drive a good bargain at interview time?   Or maybe which are the   other --more valued now— qualities, such as soft skills or emotional intelligence? Of course, which is the teacher profile sought by learning institutions nowadays will be another topic we will submit to scrutiny.

         So keep with us, we will keep working

Graduated in Journalism at the PUCP, Peru, Enrique Rojas R. holds a MA in Journalism and MA in Inter American History from Southern Illinois University, USA; an MA in Literature from University of the Americas, Puebla, Mexico, all the coursework for a MA in TEFL at Universidad de Piura, Peru and BA in Education from Universidad Federico Villarreal. He has also obtained Certificates of Proficiency in English both from Cambridge University and the University of Michigan and the Diploma for EFL Teachers from Universidad del Pacifico. He is an Oral Examiner for the Cambridge University exams and has been awarded the title Expert in E-Learning from Asociacion Educativa del Mediterraneo and Universidad Marcelino Champagnat. He has worked as a professor in universities in Peru, Mexico and the United States; as a newscaster and a producer in radio and television stations in the United States and Mexico, and as a writer and editor in daily newspapers of the same countries. He has been in the staff of CIDUP for 19 years teaching English and Spanish specializing in International Exams, English for Business, ESP and Teacher Training. He has been a speaker in every Congress of English for Special Purposes organized by Centro de Idiomas de la U.P. He is also a member of its Research Area. 

jueves, 10 de enero de 2019