The Essential Skills You Need For Teaching English Abroad

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6890601645_1e15cf91f6_bAn article by UK based contributor Sam Gatt.

Teaching English abroad is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things you can do with your life. Not only will you explore the world’s most interesting countries, you’ll have a real impact on growing children. You’ll help shape their future and set them up with the skills they need to work in a global economy. In some cases, you’ll work in deprived areas, and your impact on the children is incredibly powerful. If you’re considering this route, there are a few academic and personal skills you’ll need to muster. Let’s take a closer look.


The route into teaching English abroad isn’t as tricky as you might think. You don’t always need a bachelor degree to get started. Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) requires a one-year course, where you’ll learn the basic principles. From there, you can apply for TEFL jobs all over the world. Some of the most popular destinations are China, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.


Now that we’ve covered the academic basics, what personal skills do you need? First of all, you need patience, and lots of it! All teachers require a degree of patience, but teaching English in a foreign language is a whole different ball game! In most cases, you won’t know the language in your chosen country. That means having the patience to teach the most basic principles of the English language.

Communication skills

The biggest problem for TEFL teachers is that you can’t understand the children, and they can’t understand you! That means looking for different ways of communicating. There is more to communication than simple dialogue. You’ll learn to connect with children on a deeper level and communicate in a way that benefits everyone. Communication is, by far, the trickiest part of teaching English abroad.


To make this communication effective, you’ll need to get creative. There are all sorts of clever ways to help the children learn English, even with a language barrier. You can create games or find a way to tap into their passions. The classroom is yours to command, use your imagination here. Our best advice: think like a child! After all, they are the most creative creatures.


Teaching English in a foreign country requires an immense amount of adaptability. You’ll be thrown into new environments, and you’ll face new challenges every day. Learning to adapt is crucial. The skills you learnt on the TEFL course won’t always be appropriate, so you’ll have to find new techniques. You’ll have to think on your feet and adapt to the situation. Take note of what’s working, and ditch the techniques that aren’t connecting. You may even find yourself in a variety of countries, each with their own customs, traditions, and laws. You’ll have to adapt to each of these to thrive.

If you’ve reached the end of this post and think you’ve got what it takes, congratulations! You’re ready to take your skills abroad and teach English as a foreign language. It’s a rich and rewarding experience. You’ll love every second of it.

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