English teachers are now in the improvement business

The times they are a-changin’

Back in the old days of TEFL, learners could count themselves lucky if their teacher used a course book that had pictures in. They could count themselves really blessed if the classroom was equipped with a cassette player to play audio materials, usually performed by impoverished drama students intoning phrases such as ” The fat cat sat on the mat” with unintentionally hilarious received pronunciation – did people ever really talk like that?

In many teaching contexts nowadays (those with easy internet access)  there is a glut of audio materials and written texts for our learners to use in order to gain exposure to English.

The digital revolution and globalisation have proved to be game changers – English teachers are no longer the only people who have access to written and spoken English. We are no longer the high priests of arcane, esoteric grammar structures and vocabulary definitions. Our learners have the product (the English language) so they don’t need to buy the raw materials off us any more.

Does that mean that English teachers are on the way out? 

I doubt it. There is still and will continue to be a huge demand for English teachers because we are now in the improvement business.