What Does ELA Mean in TEFL Context?

English Language Assistants (ELAs) offer an intriguing service, bridging the gap between attaining a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, teacher assistant certification, and becoming full-fledged teachers. As ELAs play an invaluable role in language learning environments and are vital supporters for teachers and students alike, this comprehensive guide intends to shed light on their roles, responsibilities, limitations as well as programs globally providing ELA services, including those that offer teacher assistant certification. Additionally, it will explore the potential advantages or disadvantages of becoming an ELA.


What Does ELA Mean (English Language Assistant)?


An English Language Assistant, more commonly known by its abbreviation "ELA", is usually a native or near-native English speaker who assists teachers in teaching the English language abroad. They do not act as primary instructors but act as supportive figures during English lessons and enhance language skills of students while deepening their understanding of its culture and practices.


ELAs can often be found working at primary, secondary, or language schools as a supporting role to the teacher in creating an immersive English language environment for their students. By helping facilitate conversations, correct pronunciation errors, and providing insight into native cultures they help improve English proficiency among students.


What are the Responsibilities of an Educational Leader (ELA)?


An ELA's duties may differ depending on their school and country of overseas employment corporation; however, in general they assist teachers with planning and delivering lessons, leading small group activities, and helping students develop conversational skills.


ELAs often prepare teaching materials and activities that are engaging and interactive, making the English learning experience enjoyable for their students. ELAs may also take part in cultural activities or school events to further foster cultural exchange and understanding between cultures.


What are the limitations of an ELA's role?


While ELAs play an invaluable role in any classroom, it is essential to remember their responsibilities are more limited than those of a full-fledged teacher. Most often they won't be responsible for grading papers independently or managing classroom management - their job is simply to support teachers instead of taking over from them.


ELAs often work fewer hours each week, giving them plenty of time to explore their host country, learn the language, and immerse themselves in its culture. This aspect makes ELA jobs a popular option among those looking for ways to combine work with travel or cultural immersion.


What are some popular ELA programs?


There are various ELA programs globally, each providing different opportunities. Some of the more popular options include:


- Meddeas program in Spain: This initiative places ELAs in private and state-funded schools throughout Spain, giving them an unforgettable opportunity to experience Spanish culture and language firsthand.


- Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme: This competitive program places ELAs in schools throughout Japan for an immersive cultural and language experience.


- The English Program in Korea (EPIK): EPIK places English Language Assistants (ELAs) in public schools across South Korea, providing an invaluable experience of Korean culture and language.


- Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF): This program places ELAs in French public schools, providing an unparalleled opportunity to immerse oneself in French culture and language.


- The British Council's International ELA Program: This program offers placements in numerous countries around the world to provide diverse cultural and language learning experiences.


These programs not only give aspiring educators an invaluable chance to hone their craft, but also allow participants to immerse themselves in another culture.


What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming an ELA?


Beginning a journey as an ELA can bring many advantages. First and foremost, teaching experience gained as an ELA can be invaluable when considering a career in TEFL. Furthermore, it offers an incredible opportunity to travel, learn a new language, and immerse oneself in another culture - plus being an ELA will add networking potential within the TEFL world!


However, ELA work comes with its own set of drawbacks that must be considered. Being an ELA does not equal full-fledged teaching work and typically pays less than qualified teaching positions. Furthermore, there may be additional costs related to visa acquisition, travel insurance and living expenses; additionally the role can be quite demanding - including managing cultural activities and lesson planning duties.


Becoming an ELA can be an enriching and fulfilling experience, opening the door to a career in TEFL. Before diving in though, it is crucial that all involved consider their responsibilities, limitations and potential costs before embarking on such an adventure.


As with any major decision, proper research and consideration are key in making an informed decision and embarking on an exciting adventure in TEFL. By understanding the role, responsibilities, and limitations of an ELA you can make an informed choice and embark on an exhilarating TEFL journey!

View More