There seem to be a lot of David’s out there in the TEFL World. The newest David making a splash in the TEFL World is David Vincent of ELT World. He has recently started up a new TEFL website that is starting to make an impact in the TEFL and ELT World. They have a ELT Discussion Forum, Blog and even a new Monthly Journal. We caught up him to ask him our 7 questions.
1) What’s the purpose of your site?
To make the world a better place for all TEFL teachers. That sounds ambitious but I think that what our profession needs are more people dedicated to nurturing our field of education into one that can be accorded the respect that we know it is capable of deserving.
2) Why did you start your teaching site?
Too many TEFL websites have been set up to make money and take from the profession; it doesnâ€™t have to be like this and Iâ€™m glad to say that sites such as this prove that Iâ€™m not alone in my thinking. For many websites, the money generated from the banner advert is more valuable than the individuals who use and contribute: Thatâ€™s just wrong if you ask me. If you place all the emphasis on making money, youâ€™re bound to lose sight of what youâ€™re goals are, unless thatâ€™s your only goal, of course!
3) What’s your background in teaching?
Iâ€™ve been teaching in and around Istanbul for the past decade. I started out via the traditional rite of passage, i.e. a dodgy language school, although Iâ€™ve been lucky in that most of my teaching career has been spent in universities here. This type of teaching isnâ€™t to everyoneâ€™s taste, but I love it and wouldnâ€™t want to change my job for anything.
4) What’s your favorite teaching destination?
Iâ€™ve only ever taught English in Turkey, so I canâ€™t comment too much on other destinations. Having traveled extensively in South East Asia, I lament the fact that I probably wonâ€™t ever get the chance to use teaching English as a means of living in this part of the world.
5) What is the biggest challenge facing TEFL teachers today?
People around the world are wiser than ever to the possibilities of making money from language teaching. I think itâ€™s fair to say that people who get into TEFL as a teacher are quite different from those going into it as a business opportunity. The dichotomy between the two parties is clear and more than ever itâ€™s creating an environment in which people are leaving the profession embittered by their experiences, or remaining in TEFL because they canâ€™t see a way out of it. This is an issue Iâ€™ve recently explored in my free ELT World journal (www.journal.eltworld.net); the idea that being an ambitious person in our field is by no means a bad thing but that, as a whole, there are a number of issues, such as exploitation by employers and lack of professionalism, that our profession needs to address sooner rather than later. We have to think of TEFL as a profession thatâ€™s still in its infancy but at the same time think together about how it can move forward in the 21st century.
6) What’s your most positive teaching experience?
I often reflect on a famous quote by Oscar Wilde, which states, â€˜success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.â€™ I think that for me, as with most if not all teachers, itâ€™s the times when youâ€™ve created an environment that allows your students to be successful.
7) What are your future plans for ELT World?
To make the world a better place for all TEFL teachers. I know Iâ€™ve said that already but Iâ€™d be crazy to think that Iâ€™d achieved anything substantial yet. I hope to continue the process of building a genuine TEFL community in which everyone coming to the website has a chance to contribute to its contents and enhance its usefulness as a tool for developing TEFL as a whole. Iâ€™m a great believer in blogging and discussion forums; these are two utilities which enable anyone to immediately respond to the content of the website and will remain at the core of ELT World no matter what directions the web site moves into in the future.