The following work is research I conducted for my final project in my Problems in TESOL course at Southeast Missouri State University during the fall 2018 semester. A survey was designed and disseminated to gather data about Taiwan’s native English speaking teacher population. Survey responses reveal that a majority of NESTs in Taiwan are male, North American, have more than five years of teaching experience, and rarely have any professional certifications beyond a TEFL certificate. Data also indicates that schools are not supporting their teachers to become better educators as half of all respondents stated that their schools never provide opportunities for professional development. Recommendations are designed based on research by Patten, Parker, and Tannehill (2015) on the importance of professional development. Additional recommendations are made using findings by Kelch (2011) to improve the state of English language teaching in the Far East context.
Native English speaking teachers (NESTs) provide instruction to English language learners in a variety of educational settings in Taiwan (Republic of China). They teach young learners in bilingual (Mandarin / English) and all-English private kindergartens, they are employed in public and private elementary and secondary schools, they provide after school English instruction in private specialized schools [cram schools (buxibans)], and they teach in public and private universities.
The requirements in these different settings are established by the central government. Private kindergartens cannot apply for a NEST’s residency visa so they can only legally hire NESTs who have their residency visa through marriage or a permanent alien resident certificate. Cram schools require NESTs to have a bachelor’s degree in any subject or an associate’s degree and a TEFL certificate to apply for their residency. Private and public elementary and secondary schools require NESTs to hold a teaching certificate from their country to apply for residency and universities require NESTs to hold a master’s degree. There are loopholes around these requirements. For example: a teacher can have a residency visa from a job at a cram school and teach at an elementary school.
My research question is what are the levels of professionalism in Taiwan’s NEST population? Specifically, I am investigating levels of education, professional certifications, and years of teaching experience. I have been teaching English language learners in Taiwan for more than ten years in a variety of settings. I have worked alongside teachers ranging from those who had non-education related bachelor’s degrees to those with master’s degrees in TESOL and teaching licenses from their home countries. This primary research project provides a description of the levels of professionalism in Taiwan’s NEST population. This project is important because the government has recently announced intentions to make English an official language in Taiwan. Although no specific plans have been announced yet, there may be a push for more NESTs in public schools and universities to increase English proficiency. However, the hiring of under-qualified NESTs may negatively impact the quality of instruction in schools across Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Ethnolinguistic Groups
Taiwan’s current multi-ethnolinguistic groups resulted from various waves of settlement and immigration: first from ethnic Austro-Polynesian groups some six to eight thousand years ago followed much later by Southern Min (which evolved into Taiwanese Hokkien) speakers from China’s Fujian Province to escape turmoil during the Ming Dynasty and to meet the labor demands of Dutch colonists in southern Taiwan (1624-1662) and Spanish colonists in northern Taiwan (1626-1642). In the eighteenth century, small migrations of Hakka speakers from Guangdong settled areas of Taiwan. After Taiwan was ceded to Japan following the First Sino-Japanese War, a small number of Japanese colonial rulers spread their language through education and made Japanese the official language. The status of the local languages (Taiwanese Hokkien, Hakka, and the Austro-Polynesian languages) was detrimentally affected while Taiwan was a Japanese Colony (Chen, 2010). The wave of immigrants following the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces to Mao Tse-tung’s Communist forces in China brought a large influx of different Chinese dialects and introduced Mandarin as an official language.
Chen (2010) notes that during the process of democratization, Taiwan instituted the Mother Tongue Language Policy to repair the damage done to Taiwan’s local languages at roughly the same time the Ministry of Education was implementing English instruction in the national curriculum. Wei (2006) points out that since the beginning of the twenty-first century, there have been several changes to language policy in Taiwan by the Ministry of Education. To meet the cultural needs of the country, curriculum has been implemented in accordance to international standards to include instruction in minority languages to students once a week (Taiwanese Hokkien, Hakka, and aboriginal languages). English was included in the curriculum meets the pragmatic needs of the country by preparing students for globalization and internationalization. English proficiency in Taiwan has been used as a criterion for university admissions, job applications, career promotion, and tenure (Su, 2008).
Oladejo (2006) investigates the opinions of parents on issues involving educational policy regarding foreign language education in Taiwan. The author surveyed 1,160 Taiwanese parents to investigate opinions on six major aspects of bilingual education policies in Taiwan including: which foreign language should be part of the formal curriculum, when English as a foreign language should be introduced in the curriculum, whether learning a foreign language negatively affects a child’s competence in his or her mother tongue, whether learning a foreign language negatively affects a child’s knowledge of his or her native culture, whether the government should allow English to be taught in kindergarten, and whether the government should employ NESTs in elementary and junior high schools.
Oladejo (2006) found that an overwhelming majority (95.3%) of parents surveyed preferred that their children learn English as a foreign language over other foreign languages. A significant percentage (32.7%) of parents surveyed responded that English instruction should start at kindergarten which sheds light on the popularity of private all-English and bilingual (Mandarin / English) kindergartens across Taiwan. A very narrow majority of parents did not agree with the view that learning a foreign language negatively influences a child’s mother tongue proficiency and a larger majority responded that foreign language learning does not negatively influence a child’s knowledge on his or her native culture. Whether elementary and junior high schools should employ NESTs was met with a wide distribution of responses: 35.6% agreed, 4.8% strongly agreed, 29.5% disagreed, 4.1% strongly disagreed, and 26% were uncertain.
Native English Speaking Teacher Recruitment Policy in East Asia
Wang and Lin (2013) investigate Native English Speaking Teacher (NEST) recruitment policies in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. These government recruiting agencies are the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET), the English Program in Korea (EPIK), Hong Kong’s Native English-Speaking Teacher Scheme (NET), and Taiwan’s Foreign English Teacher Recruitment Project (FETRP). Although each country uses a different rationale for their respective recruitment programs, their common aim is to improve the English proficiency of youths in these countries. The authors describe these government recruitment agencies which are in charge of finding NESTs for local schools as promoting native speaker norms and adopting the ideology of native speakers as ideal English teachers regardless of qualifications.
NESTs versus Non-NESTs in Taiwan
Yeh (2002) investigates sensitive issues concerning staffing both NESTs and non-NESTs. Most notably, the large pay gap between the two groups of teachers. The author argues that inequality in terms of pay and rewards can lead to psychological imbalances leading to lower morale, lower productivity, increased absenteeism, and/or voluntary resignation. The difference in pay for NESTs and non-NESTs is roughly two-fold: NESTs typically receive $50,000-$70,000 NT ($1,666-$2,333 US) a month versus non-NESTs who typically receive $22,000-$27,000 NT ($733-$900 US) a month. Non-NESTs frequently also have additional duties such as handling communication with parents and checking student homework. Non-NESTs working at private cram schools are usually tasked with picking up students from their local elementary and secondary schools while non-NESTs working at private kindergartens are usually responsible for taking care of students when they nap after lunch.
Patten, Parker, and Tannehill (2015) synthesize findings of professional development literature as well as their own observations of professional development and present eight core features of effective professional development. These eight core features are that professional development: is based on teachers’ needs and interests, acknowledges that learning is a social process, includes collaborative opportunities, is ongoing and sustained, treats teachers as active learners, enhances teachers’ pedagogical skills and content knowledge, is facilitated with care, and focuses on improving learning outcomes for students.
The first of the core features is that professional development is based on teachers’ needs and interests. Patten, Parker, and Tannehill note that schools can increase the likelihood of a professional development program being successful by letting teachers make decisions regarding what they will learn and the format by which they will learn it. When a school designs a professional development program based on teachers’ self-identified needs there is a greater sense of ownership and thus have a better likelihood of success.
The second of the core features of professional development is that it acknowledges that learning is a social process. The authors note that successful professional development programs provide teachers opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge. Holding professional development sessions off school grounds in informal settings gives teachers opportunities to connect with colleagues on a more personal level. Helping create these personal connections among colleagues can help create conditions for teachers to work better together towards common goals.
The third of the core features is that professional development includes collaborative opportunities. Patten, Parker, and Tannehill suggest the creation of learning communities for teachers that allow them to regularly meet, collaborate, and reflect. These learning communities give teachers safe and supportive environments to learn from the successes and tribulations of each other.
The fourth of the core features of professional development is that it is ongoing and sustained. The authors suggest that professional development must be designed to give teachers opportunities to enact changes of instruction in their classrooms, measure student change, and follow-up for collaboration about what worked, what didn’t work, and what can be altered in the future.
The fifth of the core features is that professional development treats teachers as active learners. Patten, Parker, and Tannehill note that professional development programs are effective when teachers are active learners. When teachers have opportunities do classroom research, observe educators, receive constructive feedback, engage in discussions, and present to an audience of other educators that they are able to construct personal meaning and understanding.
The sixth of the core features of professional development is that it enhances pedagogical skills and content knowledge. The authors suggest that teacher interest is stimulated when professional development is designed around their specific area of content. This may take the form of professional development focused on the instructional methods and assessment options for a particular content area. This can have a positive effect on teacher engagement in a professional development program as it relates to a teacher’s daily instruction.
Patten, Parker, and Tannehill note in the seventh of the core features that professional development is effective when it is facilitated by someone who listens and guides rather than tells. A facilitator’s role, whether it be a principal, a member of a university faculty, or a teacher leader should be to help teachers put their knowledge into practice and set them on a path of lifelong learning.
The eighth and final of the core features of professional development is that it focuses on improving student learning outcomes. The authors note that a specific goal of professional development programs is how it will positively affect student learning outcomes. Professional development should be planned around improving student learning outcomes with specific guidelines to how improvements will be measured.
Three important factors to be considered in any professional development plan are trust, collective efficacy, and academic optimism. Patten, Parker, and Tannehill conclude with a blueprint that schools can follow to begin to create effective professional development. First on their blueprint is starting small. By starting small, schools can try different things to meet their needs without the need for intensive labor and planning. Second, the authors suggest starting smart. Schools can do this by asking teachers what they look for in a professional development program and tailoring the design of such a program around teacher needs. The third suggestion is to start. Schools serious about change need to get the ball rolling rather than putting off change at the expense of student learning. The final suggestion by the authors is to not stop. Simply because student outcomes have not improved as a result of a series of professional development sessions is no reason to conclude that professional development is not having a positive effect on instruction. Schools can interview teachers to learn what aspects of a professional development program are useful, which are not, and make changes accordingly.
Luo (2013) explores a professional development program using the collaborative teaching model to teach English as a foreign language in elementary schools in Taiwan. In this model, NESTs are paired with non-NESTs. The author investigates teacher perception of a professional development program designed by the author and determines dimensions in which the program needs to be improved. This program consists of seven modules. These modules are Introduction to Collaborative Teaching, Developing Collaborative Teaching Lesson Plans, Cultural Understandings, Teaching Strategies and Classroom Management, Strategies for Negotiation, English Language Enhancement (for non-NEST partners), and Conflict Resolution. Luo found that teachers considered the program as a valuable opportunity to learn from others and share experiences. However, teachers found implementing what they learned in their daily instruction difficult due to heavy workloads. Respondents found professional development sessions related to cross-cultural communication and practical teaching skills to be the most useful and that several modules of the author’s professional development program need to be fined-tuned to meet the individual needs of NESTs, non-NESTs, and homeroom teachers.
TEFL Best Practices in the Far East Context
Kelch (2011) discusses current best practices related to teaching English as a foreign language and research regarding improving the state of English language teaching as related to curriculum innovation. Implementing a curriculum based on Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) faces many problems in Taiwan and East Asia in general. Teachers often lack adequate training in implementing CLT techniques and students may have an English proficiency level that is too low to easily engage in communicative activities. They may show little motivation to learn English as a means of communicating as opposed to developing skills to pass a standardized entrance examination. Additionally, large class sizes of between 40-50 students in schools across East Asia often lead teachers to emphasize traditional, non-communicative classroom methodologies. Kelch outlines a few examples of promising programs across East Asia to overcome these difficulties including a PenPal project that connects Taiwanese students with American students via e-mail, an English-through-film approach that was found to increase student listening comprehension, and South Korea’s English Village concept which presents students with all-English learning environments in rooms staffed with NESTs accompanied by non-NESTs built to recreate places such as doctor’s offices, airports, and supermarkets.
Design and Methodology
To investigate professionalism of Taiwan’s NEST population, a survey was adapted from Alpaugh whose 2015 study investigated beliefs, expectations, and realities of NESTs that work at private educational institutions in South Korea. This electronic survey was made available via social media. It was posted to my Twitter Feed, Facebook’s Taiwan ESL Teachers group, and Reddit’s TEFL board. I chose this method for disseminating my survey because sharing on these platforms is free of charge and reaches a wide audience. At the time of sharing the survey, my Twitter feed had 528 followers, Facebook’s Taiwan ESL Teachers group had 4,911 members, and Reddit’s TEFL board had 25,022 subscribers. This survey included a series of questions to provide insight into levels of professionalism. These questions were:
- What is your age? (open-response)
- What is your gender? (selected-response)
- What is your nationality? (open-response)
- What is your educational background (selected-response)
- Do you have any professional certifications (e.g. x-hour TEFL course, CELTA, DipTESOL, or teaching license)? (open-response)
- How many years of experience do you have teaching English as a foreign/second language? (selected-response)
- How many more years do you plan on teaching English as a foreign language/second language? (selected-response)
- In which setting(s) are you currently teaching? (selected-response)
- Does your school provide professional development opportunities? (likert scale)
- How would you rate your effectiveness as a teacher? (likert scale)
- How effective do you feel your school is at teaching English? (likert scale)
- How familiar are you with Second Language Acquisition theories? (likert scale)
- How familiar are you with the Communicative Approach to teaching languages? (likert scale)
- Are there any additional comments you would like to add about teaching English language learners in Taiwan? (open-response)
Results and Discussion
A link to the survey was posted to my Twitter feed on September 22, 2018. It was posted to Facebook’s Taiwan ESL Teachers’ group and Reddit’s TEFL board on September 25. Following a precipitous slowdown in the rate of incoming responses, I stopped accepting responses and downloaded the results on October 11, 2018.
In the twenty days that the survey was available it was filled out by 52 individuals. Of those respondents: 36 were male and 16 were female. As percentages, 69.2% of respondents were male and 30.8% were female.
The percentage of males versus females was not surprising at all. There are more male NESTs than female NESTs working in Taiwan, especially outside the big cities. Of the seventeen NESTs in the township where I work only one is a woman. The average age of the respondents was 34.8 years old. The distribution of the ages is bimodal (33 and 39 years old). The median age of the respondents is 35 years old. The high-low is 22 to 49. The range of ages is 28. The standard deviation of the ages is 7.44.
Of the 52 respondents, an overwhelming majority (75%) were North American: 25 respondents (48.1%) were American and 14 respondents (26.9%) were Canadian. The next largest group were South Africans [8 respondents (15.4%)]. There were four British respondents and one Irish respondent (7.7% and 1.9% respectively). It is unknown whether the Irish respondent was from the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.
Of the 52 respondents, one respondent (1.9%) reported having no higher education. Six respondents (11.5%) reported having an associate’s degree. 19 respondents (36.5%) reported having a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field while ten respondents (19.2%) reported having a bachelor’s degree in education, TEFL, applied linguistics, or another related field. One respondent (1.9%) reported that he was in the process of earning a master’s degree in an unrelated field and seven respondents (13.5%) reported having a master’s degree in an unrelated field. Two respondents (3.8%) reported that they were in the process of earning a master’s degree in education, TEFL, applied linguistics, or another related field and five respondents (9.6%) reported having a master’s degree in education, TEFL, applied linguistics, or another related field. One respondent (1.9%) reported that he was in the process of earning a doctoral degree in education, TEFL applied linguistics, or another related field.
On the topic of professional certifications, 24 respondents (46.2%) reported having none. The most frequently reported professional certificates were 100, 120, or 150 hour TEFL certificates. 22 respondents (42.3%) reported having a TEFL certificate. Two respondents (3.9%) reported having a CELTA certificate. Four respondents (7.7%) reported having a teaching license and one respondent (1.9%) reported having a post-graduate certificate in education (PGCE).
33 of the 52 respondents (63.5%) reported teaching in one setting while 19 of the 52 respondents (36.5%) reported teaching in multiple settings. The most common teaching settings reported were cram schools. 28 out of 52 respondents (53.8%) reported teaching in cram schools. 14 respondents (26.9%) reported teaching private lessons. Ten respondents (19.2%) reported teaching in kindergartens. Nine respondents (17.3%) reported teaching in private elementary schools and five respondents (9.6%) reported teaching in public elementary schools. Three respondents (5.8%) reported teaching at private secondary schools and four (7.7%) respondents reported teaching at public secondary schools. Two respondents (3.8%) reported teaching at private universities and two respondents (3.8%) reported teaching at public universities.
Four out of 52 respondents (7.7%) reported having less than one year of experience teaching EFL/ESL. Four respondents (7.7%) reported having one-to-two years of experience teaching ESL/EFL. Seven respondents (13.5%) reported having two-to-three years of experience teaching ESL/EFL. Two respondents (3.8%) reported having three-to-four years of experience teaching ESL/EFL. Three respondents (5.8%) reported having four-to-five years of experience teaching ESL/EFL. Nine respondents (17.3%) reported having five-to-ten years of experience teaching ESL/EFL. 23 respondents (44.2%) reported having ten-or-more years of experience teaching ESL/EFL.
In response to the question, “How many more years do plan on teaching EFL/ESL?” two out of 52 (3.8%) respondents answered that they planned on teaching EFL/ESL for less than one more year. Nine respondents (17.3%) answered that they planned on teaching EFL/ESL for one-to-two more years. Eight respondents (15.4%) answered that they planned on teaching EFL/ESL for two-to-three more years. Two respondents (3.8%) answered that they planned on teaching EFL/ESL for three-to-four more years. Two respondents (3.8%) answered that they planned on teaching EFL/ESL for four-to-five more years as well. Five respondents (9.6%) answered that they planned on teaching EFL/ESL for five-to-ten more years. 24 respondents (46.2%) answered that they planned on teaching EFL/ESL for ten-or-more additional years.
A likert scale was used to gather information for the question, “Does your school provide professional development opportunities?” The scale ranged from one to five. One was labeled as never and five was labeled as frequently. Half of the 52 respondents (50%) answered 1, that their schools never provided professional development opportunities. Nine respondents (17.3%) answered 2. Nine respondents (17.3%) also answered 3. Two respondents (3.8%) answered 4. Only six respondents (11.5%) answered 5, that their schools frequently provided professional development opportunities.
A likert scale was used to gather information for the question, “How would you rate your effectiveness as a teacher?” The scale ranged from 1 to 5. One was labeled as ineffective and five was labeled as highly effective. One respondent (1.9%) out of 52 labeled himself as ineffective. Two respondents (3.8%) labeled themselves as 2. Eleven respondents (21.2%) labeled themselves as 3. Half of the respondents (50%) labeled themselves as 4. Twelve respondents (23%) labeled themselves as highly effective.
The same likert scale was used to gather information for the question, “How effective do you feel your school is at teaching English?” Six respondents (11.5%) out of 52 labeled their schools as ineffective. Nine respondents (17.3%) labeled their schools as 2. Thirteen respondents (25%) labeled their schools as 3. Seventeen respondents (32.7%) labeled their schools as 4. Seven respondents (13.5%) labeled their schools as highly effective.
Likert scales were also used to gather information for the questions, “How familiar are you with Second Language Acquisition theories?” and “How familiar are you with the Communicative Approach to teaching languages?” The scale ranged from one to five. One was labeled as unfamiliar and five was labeled as highly familiar. Ten out of 52 respondents (19.2%) answered that they were unfamiliar with SLA theories and ten (19.2%) answered that they were unfamiliar with the Communicative Approach. Eight respondents (15.4%) answered 2 for familiarity with SLA theories and four respondents (7.7%) answered 2 for familiarity with the Communicative Approach. Six respondents (11.5%) answered 3 for familiarity with SLA theories and thirteen (25%) answered 3 for familiarity with the Communicative approach. Eighteen respondents (34.6%) answered 4 for familiarity with SLA theories and seventeen (32.7%) answered 4 for familiarity with the Communicative Approach. Ten respondents (19.2%) answered that they were highly familiar with SLA theories and eight (15.4%) answered that they were highly familiar with the Communicative Approach.
An open-response section was included at the end of the survey for additional comments about teaching English language learners in Taiwan (see Appendix T). Four comments really stood out and are worth noting in the body of this report. A 27 year old, male, Canadian teacher with a master’s degree in an unrelated field in progress and two-to-three years of experience teaching EFL/ESL wrote:
In order to make up for my lack of qualifications I have relied on student development activities to motivate secondary school students to desire learning English. Projects related to building school spirit or coordinating events have been useful in actualizing an invested communicative approach for students to plan and implement English language events themselves.
A 42 year old, male, American teacher with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field and more than ten years of experience teaching EFL/ESL also comments on making up for lack of an educational background or training:
My answers about schools are related to those that I had when I was working in them. Basically we all know that Buxibans in Taiwan are only cash cows, they do nothing to teach students well. The teachers in those Buxibans are what matters. I have met many wonderful, highly effective teachers who work there without any training from the schools. Like, me, those teachers who have lived in Taiwan a long time learn how to teach and do it well and understand the problems in Taiwan. One does not need a certificate to prove how effective they are at teaching, practice makes perfect.
These two statements show that many NESTs in Taiwan are able to overcome their lack of educational backgrounds to become highly effective teachers. In my personal experience, I have also thought of myself as a highly effective teacher but that I had reached a plateau in my effectiveness until I began taking courses to renew my Michigan teaching certificate and for my master’s degree in TESOL. Once I started those courses I was able to collaborate and learn from teachers all over the world and was able to bring new ideas regarding instructional methods to my classroom immediately.
A 27 year old, male, American teacher with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field and three-to-four years of experience teaching EFL/ESL wrote, “I wish there was a better way for foreign teachers to be certified in Taiwan.” A lot of NESTs for one reason or another stumble into teaching abroad and discover it to be a true calling. However, in Taiwan it is very difficult to add to your professional credentials beyond a certificate that can be earned online such as a 100, 120, or 150 hour TEFL certificate. For example, Cambridge University’s CELTA: an initial teacher training qualification for teaching English as a second or foreign language does not offer training in Taiwan and requires four to five weeks of full time commitment to complete. For a teacher in Taiwan this would require flying to one of the closest countries where training is offered such as Vietnam, South Korea, or Japan and all the expenses that would be incurred as living expenses on top of the program fees during a four-to-five week stretch of not working. American teachers have the option of earning a Florida initial teacher certificate through the program Teacher Ready. This online program is affiliated with the University of West Florida and is designed for college graduates who don’t have an education degree. This program requires at minimum a nine month commitment but is generally highly regarded as an avenue for teachers abroad to obtain a state teaching certificate without having to return to the U.S. to complete coursework.
A 44 year old, male, American teacher with a master’s degree in an unrelated field and more than ten years of experience teaching EFL/ESL points to issues with English curricula in cram schools:
The communicative approach is good for some things. The structural approach seems to provide a better base for accuracy over fluency, but the order of skills needs to match Taiwanese areas of difficulty. One of the main hurdles is parent directed curricula, in which market completion leads to curricula that are too fast for acquisition and review, and far too much homework that outpaces the physiological and psychological development of the learner.
This teacher makes a very good point. The structural approach does have its merits in Taiwanese classrooms as there are few opportunities for students to practice English outside of the classroom. Parents are also very unlikely to seek out opportunities for their children to practice outside of the classroom due to the volume of homework students must complete on a daily basis and the pressures to perform well on standardized examinations.
Conclusions, Recommendations, and Implications for Future Research
Survey results reveal that the majority of NESTs in Taiwan are male (69.2%), North American (75%), have an average age of 34.8 years old, and have no professional certifications or a TEFL certificate (46.2% and 48.3% respectively). Although there is a stereotype in East Asia that NESTs come and go our survey indicates that there is a sizable population of NESTs choosing to work in Taiwan over a medium and long-term; 61.7% of NESTs in Taiwan have more than five years of experience in teaching EFL or ESL and 55.8% intend on teaching EFL or ESL for at least an additional five years. NESTs rate themselves very highly in teaching effectiveness with 73% rating themselves a four-out-of-five or a five-out-of-five. Very concerning is our survey’s finding that fifty percent of NESTs reported that their schools never provide opportunities for professional development.
Since a majority of NESTs teach in Taiwan for several years and come from non-education backgrounds it makes sense that schools invest in their teachers. Following recommendations by Patten, Parker, and Tannehill (2015), offering professional development programs for NESTs should be a priority of both public and private institutions. Some topics that schools should consider when planning professional development programs for NESTs include intercultural communication, classroom management techniques, instructional methods for Communicative Language Teaching, collaborative teaching (if applicable) and avenues for teachers to set themselves on a path for continuous improvement. Schools should also be able to provide some financial reimbursement for teachers who embark on programs to gain teacher certification in their home countries or travel to another country for further professional training such as CELTA certification.
To overcome the difficulties in implementing curriculums based Communicative Language Teaching in Taiwan it it is recommended that schools follow suggestions made by Kelch (2011). Some of these suggestions include PenPal projects to connect English language learners in Taiwan with students of English speaking countries and the establishment of English Villages modeled off the South Korean model where students can have opportunities to practice English in risk-free environments created to simulate airports, doctor’s offices, supermarkets, etc.
Due to time and financial constraints it was impractical to survey a larger sample of NESTs working in Taiwan. To get more complete data of the levels of professionalism in Taiwan’s NEST population it would be beneficial to survey a larger number of NESTs and include interviews to get a better understanding of the concerns NESTs have and explore their recommendations for meeting the instructional needs of English learners in Taiwan. For additional research it would also be worthwhile to explore levels of professionalism of NESTs in other East Asian countries to do a comparative study of different NEST populations.
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