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Volume 2 Number 2, Summer 2005, Pages 1-151   

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Professional Standards in TEFL: A Challenge for Asia

    Stephen Andrews

The paper examines the meaning of professionalism in TEFL, with specific reference to non-native speaker teachers working in the public sector, and discusses the Hong Kong Government's recent attempts to set professional standards for EFL teachers. The first part of the paper explores some of the wider issues, in particular the nature of the distinctive knowledge base that would justify considering TEFL as a profession. The paper argues that professionalism in TEFL involves the possession of adequate knowledge of the language, adequate knowledge about the language, and adequate Teacher Language Awareness (TLA) in pedagogical practice. The second part of the paper focuses on initiatives in Hong Kong to set professional standards in the first two of these areas. It begins by discussing attempts to set standards in relation to knowledge of the language through the introduction of the Language Proficiency Requirement (LPR). The paper then considers the recent specifications regarding subject matter knowledge, that EFL teachers should possess relevant degree qualifications (as evidence of adequate knowledge about the language). It concludes by reporting the results of a small-scale study of the validity of the 'relevant degree' as a criterion in setting standards for the subject matter knowledge of EFL teachers