How to become a global English trainer
FiELT certifications: CELTA, DELTA, TEFL, TESOL
ELT centres: British Council, Inlingua, BAFEL
Essential qualifications: Any basic degree. Trained on the job
Anand Prakash hails from a small district in Uttar Pradesh. His father teaches at a local school and he has four younger siblings. With many social and economic constraints, he managed to complete his MSc degree from Lucknow. However, as he moved to Delhi to find himself a suitable job, he was in for a rude shock. Most companies rejected him due to his poor English communication skills. He could not manage to clear any of the interviews.
Call it the colonial hangover or the repercussions of a globalized world; the knowledge of English, both spoken and written across arenas has become essential prerequisite for success. In the last decade, the outsourcing of jobs from USA and Western European nations gave further impetus to this phenomenon.
As a result, there has been steady rise in the section of population that intends to learn English language, from most basic to articulate spoken version, to cope with the prevailing situation. English Language Training (ELT) has emerged as a viable career opportunity for those with a flair for the language. “We get people across age-groups, socio-economic status and professions, who are willing to initiate or improve their English speaking and writing skills. We have to train our teachers and design modules to suit each of these groups,” says Alka Gupta, Managing Director and Head of Training at British Academy for English Language (BAFEL), one of the popular private ELT institutions with around 12 centres in NCR.
Role of language trainer
Teaching English language entails a comprehensive job that covers a wide ambit. English language trainers generally handle individuals’ abilities to frame grammatically correct sentences or his/her lack of vocabulary, fear of speaking to groups of people, and ineffective presentation skills.
Effective communication skills are needed for public speaking, presentations, negotiating, conflict resolutions, knowledge-sharing as well as writing skills for preparing reports, proposals, instruction manuals, writing memos, notices, official correspondence etc. A combination of verbal and non-verbal skills marked with proper and distinct articulation, appropriate pause, and voice modulation is taught.
The role of the English Language Trainer comes in here. Quality job depends as much on knowledge of the respective subject as on good communication skills. “We have Evolution courses that focus on providing knowledge of English from elementary levels to advanced levels focusing more on the grammatical and vocabulary aspects. We also have Impact courses that focus more on fluency in spoken English,” informs Charles Keith, Senior English Language Teacher at British Council, New Delhi.
Group discussion skills
Group discussion is one of the ways to test someone’s communicative skills generally before the final interview for a job or entry into an institute. An English language trainer trains the candidates for group discussions. Moreover, the trainer has to keep in mind that he trains his students to have thorough knowledge of relevant topics, language competence, confidence, takes initiative, has team spirit as well as can assume a leadership role.
Interviews are the ultimate test of one’s complete personality, which more often than not remains latent. While training the candidates, the trainer aims at grooming the whole personality which comprises confidence, attitude, aptitude, behaviour pattern, team spirit, clarity of thought and expression, ability to take quick and correct decision, originality of ideas and approach, innovative mind and cheerful disposition. Mock interviews are organized to assess them and prepare accordingly.
|“We get people across age-groups, socio-economic status and professions, willing to improve English speaking and writing skills”|
Oral presentation skills
The anxiety of speaking in front of a crowd is one of the greatest fears faced by people. Here, the role of a trainer is to train the candidates in practicing confidence, calmness, and how to concentrate on his/her message. The trainer’s strategy includes understanding purpose and role, tailoring the message to the audience, clarifying your objectives, developing a logically compelling case for your plan, and reaching a common goal.
The corporate organizations engage in training their employees in presentation and public speaking from time to time. “It is important to understand the need of corporate clients and then develop modules to train them accordingly. Corporate training is a specialized area, where we need teachers with certain experience,” explains Vanadana Jain, Corporate Training Consultant, British Council.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) are the important tests that need to be cracked for those planning to study outside India. With steady rise among such aspirants, the demand for preparation and training for these tests have gone up. These papers have sections on reading comprehension, writing, listening and speaking to test familiarity with English. The trainers have to give an overview of the tests, focus on each of the sections, conduct mock tests and practice sessions as well.
Voice and accent training
As the BPO sector continues to employ large section of workforce, the demand for voice and accent training for voice-based operations remains high. The trainers provide accent neutralization, tonal quality, differences in American and British English, voice modulation and pitch and tone training. “Voice and accent opens one’s perspective to the different facets of the language and the cultural nuances attached to the language. Training people on voice and accent with the motive to neutralize pronunciation for better communication skills always gave me a sense of achievement,” says Nisha Thomas, Senior Manager-Business Training, Hinduja Global Solutions.
It should also be kept in mind that most trainers love their job and are passionate about it. It is very rare that one finds it monotonous. “Apart from the fact that you get exposure to different people, business, methodology and organizations, a voice an accent trainer can also make good money,” says Aakash, Voice and Accent Trainer, NIIT Uniqua.
“We do not expect trainers to have any formal training or certification. Once recruited, they go through intensive training”
How to get into it?
There are no essential qualifications or degrees required to become an English Language Trainer. However, you need to have above average English speaking and writing skills and sound grammar. A degree in English Literature can be helpful, but is definitely not mandatory. Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) is an internationally recognised qualification which enables successful candidates to work in institutions worldwide. It is awarded by the University of Cambridge. CELTA is a course for teachers with no or little experience in teaching. However, even more experienced ones can benefit from it, since it’s the perfect combination of theory (through input sessions) and practice (through teaching practice sessions and assignments).
The British Council also requires all its teachers to have the CELTA. For those who love travelling and would prefer teaching English abroad, there are Teach English as Foreign Language (TEFL) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certifications. “Apart from mandatory CELTA possession, one needs to have a genuine passion for teaching and sound English knowledge to teach English. Over the years, we have been getting enquiries from professionals from different walks of life, who want to teach English,” says Chetna Bhatt, Senior English Language Teacher at British Council, New Delhi.
However, at the private ELT institutes, there is no specific criterion for hiring trainers. “We do not expect our trainers to have any formal training or certification in ELT. Once recruited, our teaching staff goes through an intensive induction module, followed by on-the-job training and mentoring,” says Mohit Satyanand, Director, Inlingua, India.
While the salary range varies tremendously, especially with numerous unorganized teaching institutes, an English language teacher can earn Rs. 15,000/- per month to Rs 150,000 per month. “At the British Council, a teacher is paid on a grade scale of 1 to 10 based on experience. With CELTA, one can go upto a certain grade. After that one has to clear DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults) to move beyond,” explains Charles Keith. Initially, the trainers get trained and start teaching. With experience, they also move into content generation and management. “As we expand the reach and scope of our business, teachers advance into areas of training, materials development and management, which allow for significant career development and high remuneration packages,” adds Mohit.
In the last few years owing to globalization of jobs, the importance of English has increased manifold. It has over the years become an important medium of communication, both at the international and intra-national levels. The importance of spoken English is even more, because there are many cases where one knows the subject well, but fails to communicate it properly. The practicing of spoken English, therefore, is quite essential.
Learning English in a country, where it is not a native language, opens up a number of opportunities. Teaching also is a very satisfying career, if not the most lucrative. “Such is the lure of teaching; we even get cross-departmental queries. There are MBAs and engineers, who are bored of their jobs and intend to move into teaching English” adds Chetna Bhatt. So if you have a flair for the language and wish to teach, then all you need is to directly approach the private institutions or go for CELTA training to join the British Council.