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English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers can work either in the UK or overseas, teaching children, students and adults of all ages the English language. They work in schools, universities, private language schools, businesses or as freelancers.
People will learn English for a number of different reasons: children learn it as a second or third language in schools overseas in preparation for national examinations or to improve chances of entry into English schools and universities; students and adults will learn English in order to obtain qualifications which will broaden career prospects; businesses may encourage their staff to learn English as part of training schemes. Many people simply want to learn or improve their conversational English.
There is constant demand for native English teachers all around the world, particularly in developing countries.
In the UK, non-native residents will sometimes attend English classes to learn or improve both language and culture awareness.
Freelance teachers may be hired part-time to assist children or students who need extra-curricular help with English language.
EFL teachers working abroad will, like most teachers, plan, develop and deliver appropriate lessons in order to help their students grasp the key areas of language – reading, writing, speaking and listening. Depending on the demands of the students, some teachers might concentrate on just one or two of these four areas.
They will create interesting and engaging lessons which will help learners understand grammatical rules and remember vocabulary. Students will generally be encouraged to use all they have learnt in role plays, conversations and reading and writing exercises.
In many EFL classes, particularly those in the UK, students will come from a range of backgrounds all with different mother tongues. Therefore, teachers must speak English all the time when it is the common second language of the class. Even at beginner level teachers may choose to only speak English as this will help learners pick up the language quicker.
In schools abroad, EFL teachers might also speak the language of the host country which, depending on their own teaching methods, they may occasionally use in order to explain areas which are harder for learners to grasp.
EFL teachers are responsible for setting and marking exams and giving appropriate feedback to students. They will also encourage independent study and suggest appropriate learning resources to their students, such as books, films and websites.
Both in the UK and abroad, teachers organise and attend social events, field trips and cultural excursions.