How to teach English abroad and not be a neocolonialist
YOU JUST GOT your TEFL certificate. You’re feeling confident because you’ve received dozens of emails from recruiters who want you to come to their country and teach English to masses of impressionable children who will hang on your every word.
Congratulations, you now have to make a decision.
One option is to become what is essentially a neocolonialist missionary. You will reify English, and consequently Western culture, as superior. Another is to acknowledge your privilege and use a decolonizing pedagogical approach in your classroom.
Don’t worry — you don’t have to go with the first one because I’m going to give you some advice.
1. Acknowledge your power and privilege.
English fluency is social and economic capital. You’ve proven this simply through your ability to travel the world and probably get paid more than a local teacher for doing the same job unqualified.
You didn’t earn this privilege; you simply hit the linguistic lottery.