College graduates sought to teach English overseas

By Charles Ratliff

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Bok Ji Corporation is looking for a few good graduates to teach conversational English in South Korea.

Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree in any major to fill positions offered every month yearlong. Bok Ji, a private institute, offers a salary range of $18,000 to $24,000 per year and provides accommodations as well as "other benefits."

"They feel if you're a native speaker, you can teach the language," said Frank Pialorsi, director of the Center for English as a Second Language at the University of Arizona.

"I would advise anyone to talk with someone who has experience with that particular outfit," he said.

Pialorsi said potential applicants should look at the differences between teaching in a private institute and teaching at a formal school. The benefits could be different, he said, depending on the institute.

A professor hired by a foreign university might teach up to 18 hours per week and have a class enrollment of 12 to 15 students, he said, whereas an instructor hired by a private institute might teach 40 hours per week to a class of 40 to 50 students.

Pialorsi advises any potential teachers of English overseas to have taken at least an English grammar class.

"We found out you can't teach business administration without a background in business," he said.

Pialorsi, who taught at the University of Athens in Greece, said CESL only hires professors who have experience teaching overseas prior to accepting positions with the UA.

Dean Jensen, an adjunct lecturer with CESL, taught at the branch campus of Temple University in Japan for nine years.

"Conditions have changed in the last several years," he said.

Jensen said most formalized institutions of higher learning in Japan are requiring its teachers to possess advanced degrees. Doctorates are preferable, he said, but a master's degree in English as a second language could be the minimum requirement.

The commensurate benefits, however, outweigh the added effort to achieve a postgraduate degree.

"Beginning salaries there are among the best in that area," Jensen said. "Salaries are very good.

"Japan spends a lot of money on education," he said. "To them, education is important. It plays a central role on their individual and group efforts."

Pialorsi said four factors influence non-English speaking countries to seek teachers of English: world trade, diplomacy, information sciences (most computer technology is in English) and popular culture (music, films and theater are all incentives for learning English).

Jensen said the overseas instructional job market may be different in various countries. For instance, companies who hire graduates to teach employees may set up their own human resource requirements and compile their own curriculum to be taught. In return, they may cover transportation costs and other required necessities.

English is still very much in demand in Japan with a declining student population and universities lowering entrance requirements, he said.

"Asia is on the move," Jensen said.

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