TESOL Employment Ads in China and South Korea: Personal Characteristics, Knowledge, and Skills Identified in Full-Time Ads Posted for International Instructors

The purpose of this master’s project was to investigate the types of personal characteristics, knowledge, and skills TESOL employers are seeking in foreign job candidates in today’s biggest EFL job markets, specifically in China and South Korea. First, the literature review introduces the enormous development of the EFL job market in these two countries and some challenges these two countries faced in their attempt to hire foreign EFL teachers. A total of 303 job advertisements were gathered from two Internet sources (Dave’s ESL Café and TESOL.org) that met all the established criteria for choosing a reliable data source during a 12-month period and analyzed in order to determine the personal characteristics, knowledge, and skills listed by TESOL employers in these two Asian countries. The results indicate that 92% of the ads required international applicants to be native speakers of English. Key skills needed in both countries included communication skills, computer skills, a high level of English language proficiency, and writing skills. The majority of the full-time positions sought instructors with experience in materials development, curriculum development, or assessment. In terms of personal characteristics, employers want applicants to be enthusiastic, energetic, dedicated, and interested in young learners ranging in age from kindergarten to high school level. These findings have important implications for those TESOL graduates preparing themselves to obtain full-time jobs in China and South Korea.


Thesis Author: Lee. Jae-Song


Year Completed: 2014


Thesis Chair: Tanner, Mark





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