Here's an interesting article I just stumbled across when checking out a couple of details for an earlier post.
David Graddol of the OU, writing in the Guardian back in 2005, suggests that the English teacher may be on the verge of extinction. He's certainly got a point. With English continuing to become a bigger deal in primary schools the world over, more and more language instruction is becoming incidental -- English tuition is becoming the domain of subject teachers, not specialist language teachers. It'll take a while for things to really hit home, but the 21st century boom in the TEFL industry is currently not only burning the candle at both ends, but along its whole length. TEFL teachers are teaching preschool kids, primary school kids, teenagers at high school, university students, young professionals, older professionals, even the retired.
In 10 years' time, will there be a need for TEFL teachers in many parts of the world?
Certainly in the far east, but closer to home maybe not. There's already practically no need across Scandinavia and the Low Countries. Spain's throwing its weight behind English in an effort to catch up.
But all is not lost for the TEFL teacher hoping to make a living in a comfortable Western European country
Recently an OU coursemate of mine was told by her children's teachers that she had to stop speaking to them in English -- the teachers, not familiar with the literature in bilingualism, thought that speaking English was damaging their French. So in 10, 20 years time, when Spain, Italy and Germany have no need for the TEFL teacher, there will be a mass migration to France, the promised land flowing with milk, honey, and potential English students....