Priming Filipino Specializations for Global Competitiveness
VOL. XVIII NO. 3 (October 25-31, 2014)
The English language when comprehensively absorbed is a sturdy tool that cultivates the intellectual capacity of Filipino graduate professionals to penetrate and take part towards successful international interactive endeavors even how complex a corporate world is.
As early as the last decade of the 20th century, world labor gave opportunities for Filipino professionals with English language specialization to endeavor overseas as educators to other nationalities. English teachers of the English language go global that implies Filipino graduates are at parity with graduates abroad. But as the 20th century moves to the 21st century, qualifications become standardized due to the influence of Western educators who come from varied universities and colleges around the world. These teachers’ popular destinations are in Asia influencing countries’ education authorities and administrators to revamp their hiring criteria as well as aligned their curriculum to the concepts of Western education introduced by native speakers as catalysts for pedagogical evolutions outwitting Asian English language lecturers known to possess impressive academic performance abroad and in their countries of origin.
In the Middle East to be specific, great numbers of native speakers continuously flocked educational institutions causing Western- oriented administrators to raise their hiring standards. For Asians like us, to be of equivalence to these native speakers, the need to transform our higher education curricula is crucial. Graduating the Bachelor’s degree doesn’t’ guarantee satisfactory qualifications for candidates to teach the English language where colleges universities, institutes, technical –vocational centers, elementary and secondary schools are publicly operated. Let’s examine common requirements which were raised due to the influx of foreign language educators. Graduates in the Bachelor’s degree with English should have a teaching experience for a minimum of two years after graduation. The candidate should be a licensed teacher with a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages) certificate from any internationally recognized institution and should be able to display his fluency in written and oral English. For graduates of the Master’s degree in English or other allied courses, it follows the requirements of the Bachelors’ degree applicants and must have (2) two to (3) three years teaching experience after obtaining his masters. TEFL or TESOL certificate is an edge although some public education institutions strictly require the said certificate regardless of a candidate’s master’s degree. For a doctorate in English, it follows the requirements in the master’s degree and the candidate should have a minimum of (2) two to –(3) three years teaching experience after obtaining a doctorate degree where TEFL or TESOL is an edge from other applicants. However, some universities necessarily require the said additional English language credential.The candidates’ field of specializations from bachelors to doctorate should be aligned.
Why is there a need for these extra certificates in English? It is due to the fact that TESOL or TEFL programs signify a highly practical method to English language teaching. The curriculum of this certificate reflects careful study of current theory and its practical application in teaching methodology. It has been designed to provide teachers with the firm background in teaching students who speak different languages other than English to be able to exhibit their skill to apply what they have learned to real teaching contexts as conceptualized primarily from western education system as adapted by overseas curriculum designers.
To prepare for these qualifications overseas, it is recommended that CHED (Commission on Higher Education) recognized institutions should revolutionize the curriculum of graduates to ensure global competitiveness in directing them in search of livelihood when teaching job opportunities in the Philippines deteriorates. It is essential that universities and colleges in the Philippines should establish an affiliation from other recognized colleges, universities and other legitimate educational institutions that offer TEFL or TESOL like Canada, USA, Ireland, UK, South Africa and Australia whose people are recognize as native speakers of the English language to offer these certificates in consortium which shall pave the way of establishing Filipino graduates’ credential credibility to teach. Other than establishing the said affiliations abroad, the British Council based in our country could provide support towards the achievements of teaching credentials since they are agents of empowering the English language as an international medium of communication especially to aspiring English teachers around the world through the English certificate awards like TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) which is an examination that documents your English teaching ability through the awarded certificate if you passed. For the English courses that they offer, these are the CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching for Adults) and the DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching for Adults) especially to non-English specialization graduates. The world-wide recognized English certificate awards and the courses are designed and bestowed by the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom to deserving individuals. The British Council is a non-profit but charitable organization that disseminates the role of the English language towards international opportunities. Their main function is merely on educational extensions and supports for the public and private organizations as well as private individuals who are interested in their services. In our country, the British council’s office is in Ortigas, Manila. With this kind of career paths’ preparation, it would ensure qualified graduates to land a teaching job and to intensify the credible image of Filipinos towards worldwide professional interfaces in language teaching.
It is also significant that Philippine colleges and universities impose admission policies of teachers majoring in the English language in the graduate schools to follow the same alignment of specializations when taking masters and doctorate degrees. Repetitious engagement of expertise gives effective outputs because the field is reinforced and further conditioned. One drawback that finds Filipino’s failures during interview is the fact that their baccalaureate courses have more of literature subjects than language studies thereby grammatical structures are neglected that should have been fundamental to language teaching. This has been wearyingly manifested among other applicants’ interviews from overseas public educational institutions that employ native speakers as interviewers when they come to the Philippines. Native speakers as interviewers meticulously deal with the candidates on the level of how they speak their native language by asking questions which are very theoretical that might haven’t been elaborated in the Philippines’ college English language programs causing prospectively active applicants to fail during the manpower selection process. Expository writing, phonological and morphological structures of the English language, English for specific purposes, technical writing, and communication research rudiments are some of the course contents being profusely asked to applicants overshadowing the latter’s other linguistic competencies.
Meanwhile, the Philippine curriculum developers in public schools have responsibilities in scrutinizing the English curriculum of the elementary and secondary education despite its transformation to K-12. It is crucial that grammar studies should have the greatest bulk of coverage over literary studies. Nor should the literary studies outwit the numbers of grammar courses, then literature should serve as springboards of language learning and teaching. If we are to figure out deeply into the contents of the English program offered in the public schools, there are evident changes of the learning contents which were signs of educators’ attempts to replace traditional learning to contemporary instructions but as they do academic adjustments, some components of the grammar are neglected which include: perfect tenses, subject- verb agreement ,continuous tenses, intensive studies of the parts of the sentences, clause and phrase construction rules among others which should be incorporated in the learning systems. If they are stipulated in the curricular blue prints, departmental heads and supervisors should have close monitoring for these components’ execution by classroom teachers and if these components are missing in the language program, they must be incorporated for these are the foundations which students may carry-out and manipulate to absorb higher education.
Failures to academically condition majority of these students in their foundation levels don’t rest the flaws against higher education educators but rebound to the secondary and elementary authorities who should have been responsible enough in the inculcation of students’ language basic education that are expected to be refined or applied while they acquire knowledge in the tertiary levels which will soon elevate their language proficiency when enhanced to be at par with candidates in the international labor markets.