Toward Increased Professionalism in Teaching English as a Second or Other Language through Pre-service Trainee Teacher Mentoring in the United Arab Emirates
For a variety of reasons, both historical and sociological, the feasibility – as well as the very desirability – of mainstream teaching securing the status of a profession (in the sense of established professions such as law, medicine, architecture, and engineering) has long been questioned (e.g., Burbules and Densmore, 1991). If this is the case as regard regular, mainstream education, what then is the situation in relation to the subfield of teaching that is teaching English as a second or other language (TESOL)? Sadly, few if any would likely doubt that the field has so far failed to achieve the status of a recognized profession. There are numerous causes of this failure, though some especially salient reasons – less than stellar public perceptions of the fields of English as a second language/English as a foreign language, employment standards of the private sector, that is, the (in) famous English language teaching industry, the initial training and qualifications of those in the field, and discriminatory practices – will be highlighted in the following discussion. In addition, the second half of this paper draws and reflects on a trainee teacher mentoring scheme at a federally-sponsored institution of higher education in the United Arab Emirates – now sadly discontinued – which the author participated in for 3 years between 2011 and 2015, and which, it is argued, exemplified programs which can go some not inconsiderable way toward combatting a number of the obstacles currently preventing the field of TESOL achieving the status of a legitimate profession.
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