(35 of 50) CLT & Taiwan: Fake/Not-Real Teacher of IELTS/English: 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sign

By | June 6, 2018


Hi everyone. Due to the beginning of the new teaching term, I was busy, and put a few other posts here, but now it’s time to continue the series about CLT and Taiwan. We are up to Post 35, which continues to look at that murky and fraudulent world of ‘magic IELTS’ teachers. There’s more of them coming all the time, so for your own benefit, you really need to know and read the signs.

Six Signs of a Fake/Not-Real Teacher of IELTS/English: 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sign

Okay, I used one posts for the 2nd Sign of being a fake/not-real teacher. Now, I’ll use one post for the next three signs. Here we go.

Sign 3 of a Fake/Not-Real Teacher

The teacher/school makes claims of ‘guaranteed scores’ or ‘special techniques’.

If you ever hear claims such as:

  • I don’t teach you English; I just teach you how to get the answer in the test.
  • My method gives you IELTS 7.
  • This is a guaranteed IELTS 7 course.
  • I got IELTS 8 in the IELTS test; I’ll show you how to do it.
  • This course shows you how to get all the answers.
  • I have special IELTS techniques.

… the people saying this are lying to you. All these claims are based on a ‘magic’ or ‘guarantee’ theme, and it is an obvious fact that there are no guarantees and no magic in IELTS. IELTS is based on English abilities; and no matter how good a teacher is, your IELTS results will depend on …

  1. your starting level of English,
  2. your work ethic (that is, willingness to work hard),
  3. your attitude to learning,
  4. your intelligence,
  5. your ability to learn languages,
  6. practical realities, such as the time you have to study, how busy you are, how stable your life is, your ability to attend every class, and arrive on time,
  7. some degree of luck.

If a teacher or school makes any claim of ‘guaranteed answers’ or ‘special techniques’, it simply shows the teachers or schools are dishonest. They are saying what you want to hear in order to get your money. It’s that simple. Do you think that sounds like a good beginning? Are they people you should trust? 

Sign 4 of a Fake/Not-Real Teacher

The teacher talks and ‘explains’ all the time in class (and it’s usually in Chinese).

This is the ‘traditional’ approach, the approach a non-teacher, or someone who doesn’t know anything about TEFL teaching, might first think about. A TEFL-qualified teacher should know better, and should be more concerned about helping you learn. A not-real teacher might do this, simply because they don’t know the truth.

I don’t need to talk about this. Just read posts 325 of this series, and everything is explained in detail. Also, think again of the simple analogy: learning a language is like learning to drive a car. You can be ‘explained to’ for years about how to drive a car, but you won’t be able to actually drive it until you sit in the seat, and try. The TEFL-trained teacher takes every opportunity to put you in the seat and try (= practise English).

This also explains about the next sign of being fake/not-real below.

Sign 5 of a Fake/Not-Real Teacher

The teacher/school advertises that “You only talk to the teacher”, or “Pairwork speaking is not important”.

This is a new trend in Taiwan. Wow! It is simply mad! No real TEFL teacher would ever do this. Ever! They would immediately fail the observation in any TEFL training course. If you kept doing this, you would fail the course. If you only talk to the teacher, then you don’t practise English much at all. You don’t sit in any seat of that car’, and you never try. It is the very opposite to what is supposed to happen in an IELTS/English class.

TEFL professionals talk about ‘student talking time’ (STT), and ‘teacher talking time’ (TTT), and one of the most basic rules in a class is to ….

…. maximise STT and minimise TTT!

TEFL professional should live by this rule, but it takes effort, preparation, thinking, and skill. It also takes experience, and as the serious TEFL-trained teacher gets more experience, (s)he develops better and better techniques for following this rule more effectively and efficiently (for example, through the use of PowerPoint: See Posts 3739). So, remember, you students always have to ‘drive the car’.

I’m a Cambridge-accredited teacher trainer, with over 20 years experience, so you can imagine how shocked I am when I hear schools or teachers boasting, ‘You only talk to the teacher’. Wow! Unbelievable! Taking Taiwan back 50 years into the past, back to the horse and cart. Is this a modern nation? It is NOT when it comes to the teaching of English/IELTS. And that’s why the standard is still so low in this country; that’s why the average IELTS writing score remains 5.5. Because the teaching remains the same.

Why do these people promote such a backward and awful claim?

The answer: because so many students accept this, and give them lots of money.

Now, check that you know the meaning of the underlined vocabulary (also repeated below).

  • murky (adj)
  • a guarantee (n)
  • ethic (n)
  • to be blatant (adj)
  • an analogy (n)
  • an observation (n)

If you want to find out more about me, go to aisielts.com .

Author: Andrew

Andrew Guilfoyle Cambridge CELTA, Cambridge DELTA, Cambridge CELTA teacher-trainer, M.Ed