Question about Professional Skills for missionaries:
"To teach English overseas should I get a master’s degree or a certificate?"
One good thing about teaching in a university, at least here, is that you may have a teaching load of only twenty hours per week and be teaching during the day. If you don't have an M.A., you might be teaching thirty hours per week and most of them in the evenings. As a church-planting tentmaker, you'll have more time to spend with friends and students (outside the classroom) if you are teaching in a university.
When I began as a tentmaker missionary in the mid-1980s, I found that much of the world was open to anyone who was a native English speaker and had a bachelor's degree in any subject. Some places want a certificate or degree TESL. Generally speaking, to teach in a language school, the CELTA certificate is the way to go. If you want to teach in a university, a master's degree in TESL or linguistics may be best.
A lot of people teach languages with methods that are ineffective or even worse. Generally this is because either these methods SEEM reasonable or because it's the way they have seen others teach. Even if you have observed effective methods, you may not have been aware of important factors that are less obvious.
Credentials also provide some reassurance to those you will work with. If you are "on your own," they make it easier to attract students. For many, a certificate from a respected program (and the knowledge it represents) is sufficient. If you expect to live on the pay for teaching, then I would recommend the Master's.
For anyone teaching a language, I recommend the book "Working with Teaching Methods: What's at Stake?" by Earl W. Stevick. At first glance, the book appears to present three very unconventional teaching methods. But its greatest value in my mind is in getting readers to think about what kinds of interpersonal relationships are involved in these and other methods. Stevick was a Christian whose grace and competence made him highly respected by colleagues who were not.
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