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The Wheat from the Chaff

February 16, 2006

Hello friends.

It seems to me that a reputable school that wishes to do the best for its students and be fair to its teachers needs to do something to prove its credentials. It is not surprising I suppose that most reactions to these blogs come from teachers rather than school owners and directors. I mean most of the gripes . . .

. . . are the ones teachers have: low pay, too many teaching hours, poor facilities. And, of course, it’s easy to believe that most schools are exploitative and most teachers are hard done-by; I mean why would a satisfied teacher bother to post a comment anyway?

But I do have concerns that derive not just from the reports of teachers but also from dissatisfied students and press coverage, all of which paint a black picture of certain organizations around the world. It seems to me, therefore, that a reputable school that wishes to do the best for its students and be fair to its teachers needs to do something to prove its credentials.

One step is acquire any official accreditation that I available in your country. In the UK the British Council runs and accreditation scheme that is widely respected. Yet despite this well established scheme, “rogue” schools still manage to thrive, often ripping off both students and teachers alike. At least by obtaining official accreditation a school can legitimately claim to aspire to high standards.
I think it is important for schools to describe any accreditation scheme they belong to when they recruit teachers and as part of their marketing to students.

But what if no suitable scheme exists? Well there are some international organizations such as IALC (http://www.ialc.org) that you might be able to join. And it that doesn’t suit, you could try setting up a local umbrella organization to agree and monitor standards. Frankly I don’t have much sympathy for school that plead they can’t affordaccreditation or feel that they are somehow beyond the scope of such schemes. Teachers and students need protection from those who would exploit them and I don’t see any other way in which they can sort the wheat from the chaff.

Bye for now,


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  1. Ian Says:

    I think the best way to sort out the wheat from the chaff is to research before you sign any dotted lines. So what type of credentials do the existing teacher(s) at the school have? Do they all have degrees as a minimum requirement? If at least that, then you know the school is most probably marginally reputable. If not, keep flipping pages.

  1. jane Says:

    I definitely believe that for teachers the most important thing is to research the hell out of any potential school before signing on... (This was something that I learned the hard way my first time around, when - naive little girl that I was - I trusted my recruiter instead of researching on my own.) But what I always wonder isn't how the schools get teachers, but how the schools stay in business. My first (and horrid) ESL school was a complete ripoff to both teachers and students. Parents were paying small fortunes for their little ones to learn English, but no one was learning anything. That was five years ago, and the school is still in business....

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