by Carlos Barreras
Josef Albers once said that “good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.” This is a quote that very accurately describes why I enrolled in the English Language Teaching (ELT) certification program provided by Keiser University. It also describes how all the incredible capable instructors who were part of this project always encouraged every single one of us, teachers, to push ourselves to the best version of teachers we could possibly be. They did so by partnering with none other than Pearson, which is a leading institution in the language teaching field and offered first-class resources whenever we needed them. Both institutions provided a variety of academic modules such as: Understanding Language Teaching and Learning, Factors in Language Learning and Sociocultural Factors in Language Learning, among others, that have prepared me not only academically but also, and perhaps most importanly, integrally as a teacher.
First of all, the organizers of the ELT program were able to see the big picture of English learning across the world, where the number of learners of this language worldwide has reached up to 1.5 billion people. This fact enabled instructors to develop and train us taking into account not only the local aspects but also the global audience of EFL and ESL teachers. They did this by providing us with a set of interactive mul- multimedia teacher training modules that combine text, video, audio, PowerPoints, discussion, and quizzes that required our full attention and study.
Also, it is worth mentioning that the writing assignments, such as essays, played an important role in the success of the program. These writing tasks provided an excellent opportunity for reflecion as well as personalization. Additionally, we received personalized feedback from our instructors on these assignments, so they became an important component of each lesson that contibuted to the in-depth analysis of such tasks. For this reason, although the essays had to be completed individually, we always felt as if our instructor were by our side.
Another aspect that was vital in my success throughout this program were the peer observations which were carried out along with many of the writing assignments. Peer observations were, without a doubt, an enormously valuable tool for learning about teaching and English learning in real contexts. Similarly, the focus on a variety of issues concerning English language teaching and learning about behaviorist, cognitivist and constructivist theories, among others, has been tremendously helpful. Thus, it is fair to say that this blend of theory and practice that Keiser University along with Keiser’s International Language Institute provided us with proved to be a perfect combination to form an exceptional group of professionals.
In the academic field, Teaching English as a Second Language is a high-demand subject of instruction that continues to experience growth in schools and universities across the world. As people from foreign countries continue to immigrate to the United States and enroll in schools here, the number of students whose native language is not English continues to grow. English, as the primary spoken language in a country with a rich history of immigration and cultural diversity, English and its mastery are an important part of educational development, for which, academically speaking, this English teaching certification has prepared me for. Whatever your field of education may be, this certification meets all the standards required for different levels and contexts in which the participants might choose to work at.
As a professional myself who is currently living and teaching at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in the United States, I understand firsthand the high standards of English teaching required by global education systems, students and society. This certification has, on the one hand, built on the knowledge I previously carried from my undergraduate TEFL program. On the other hand, it has proven to successfully meet international standards for which I can personally give testimony.
In terms of personal growth as a teacher, I reinforced and added the qualifications, skills as well as abilities needed to become not just a regular teacher but a well rounded one. Thus, I explored the journey of becoming an effective teacher, mantaining enthusiasm and preventing burnout, taking into account, of course, the challenges and complexities that such responsibility entails.
At some point in our lives, we all have been students and unquestionably remember some of our teachers in our professional lives. As a teacher myself, I have asked myself questions like, how can I become a good teacher? How can I learn useful and effective teaching techniques? How do I know my teaching is fruitful and my techniques are working? And how do I stay an enthusiastic and effective teacher throughout my career? All of these questions are not easy to answer. In fact, I would argue that these questions require a high level of complexity due to the variety of material and teaching practices all over the world. Consequently, the incredible success of this English Teaching Certification lies on these very specific type of questions and the professional instructors that made them.
Finally, I have to say that this certification would not have been possible without the tireless work and vast knowledge of all the professional, knowledgeable and experienced instructors that guide me throughout this journey. I’m thankful for all the peers that shared this incredible journey with me. Last but definitely not least, all of this work and effort is now a reality due to the vision and commitment of the president of Keiser Latin American Campus, Mr. Mathew Anderson, and the director of International Language Institute Ruffo Torres. I encourage any person who wants to be a part of this renowned certification to go ahead and pursue it. Rest assured that this accreditation will be part of your personal and professional experience in the foreseeable future wherever you go.