The Linkedin Community Responds to the Great Debate: Is TEFL a Profession? Is Teaching a Profession? #CCK11 #ELTchat

The Great Debate: Is TEFL a Profession? Is Teaching a Profession? (Credit: Alex Maingot)

Ladies and gentlemen, here are the responses received from my Linkedin professional learning network (PLN). The responses represent a variety of viewpoints, some personal, others objective. From whatever vantage point you view these responses, the one thing you can not do, in my view as debate adjudicator, is ignore their views.

In a time when national governments across the globe are seriously considering their provision of education, the professionalism of teachers increasingly finds itself in the spotlight, under intense scrutiny, with no place to hide.

We can either stick our heads in the sand, like an ostrich, or be the three monkeys: See no evil, Hear no evil, speak no evil, or, on the other hand, actively join in the debate. There is no middle ground.

No matter how much we would like to have a third option, there is none. If you are an educator, the choice is yours. If you have made TEFL your profession, the choice is yours.

As Shakespeare put it in Hamlet, 3.2. ll 1-15 “Speak the speech, I pray thee, as I pronounced it to thee, trippingly on the tongue…”

Add to this the immortal advice from Polonius to his son, Laertes, “To thine own self be true”, and you are ready to Participate in the Great Debate. Without further preamble, here are our first responders…


Group: TESOL Greece
Discussion: Participate in the Great Debate!

If a profession is defined or understood as being an occupation for which one has been trained, and examined and for which continuing (professional) development is encouraged and available, then I would feel that teaching is a profession.
Publishing, however, which calls itself a profession but which neither requires nor demands any training or qualifications is most certainly not. But that’s probably another discussion.

Posted by John Walsh

Group: Webheads in Action
Discussion: Participate in the Great Debate!

As a Universisity Lecturer in ELT, what can I say but, it obviously is a profession and one you have to be duly trained into. Form a very personal point of view, I think it is an art but, “informed art”. Hence, the need for appropriate training again…and information.
From a legal point of view, at least in my country, anything you get paid for constitues a profession, a job or an occupation. We do get paid (sometimes not as much as we would hope for), therefore, teaching (and ELT) is a profession. Whether teachers of English are more or less professional…well, that is another question.
Omar Villarreal from Argentina

Posted by Dr. Omar Villarreal

Group: The IELTS TOEFL Centre
Discussion: Participate in the Great Debate!

Some people make a living out of it. This writer, inclusive. Is it given the proper recognition and worth by those in power and who are able to establish policies? Jury is still out.

Posted by Mauro Paim

Group: LLLUK – (Life Long Learning UK)
Discussion: Participate in the Great Debate!

Thomas – Teaching English as a Foreign Language denotes that it is does it not? I had an interview for teaching English in China once and without my teaching experience or PGCE I dont think I would have got the job.

Posted by Paul Cook

Group: The IELTS TOEFL Centre
Discussion: Participate in the Great Debate!

If it is not a profession, what is it then? It is a profession hard to make a living out of it, as our colleague Mauro Paim said. I wonder why.

Posted by Célia da Cunha

Group: Korea TESOL (KOTESOL)
Discussion: Participate in the Great Debate!
I would have to say yes.

I think it greatly depends on the individuals state of mind when they are employed as an English teacher in a non speaking country.

People do this kind of work for many different reasons:
1. To pay off student loans back home.
2. To experience another culture.
3. An opportunity to travel and earn.
4. To live and work in another country.

There are many reasons.

Personally I came to Korea as it was a country I was interested in and my plan was to return to the UK after one year. That was almost 10 years ago now, I am now married to a Korean and have a daughter.

I have also moved into other fields and help companies with presentation skills and Social Media.

Whilst my experience was only to be for one year but has grown into nearly 10 years it was one of my best decisions. I have grown as a person and learned so much and am still learning.

So yes it is a job for me as I have certainly felt rewarded when I see people progress in their skill because of me. As a person you can grow in this profession and take so much from it and there aren’t many professions you can say that about.

Posted by Liam Lusk


#TEFL #EFL #ELTChat #ESL #ELT #TESOL #IATEFL #ESOL #education #edreform #edlearn #edchat #edcon

About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s