Every country structures its education system in accordance with its own ideals and values. Thus, international teaching involves educating your students while respecting the cultural norms of the country in which you are teaching. All across the globe, there are thousands of techniques and strategies for teaching, and it is important to understand the preferred methods and cultural intricacies of your host country when you’re teaching abroad.
Here are some guides to teaching in a few of the most common international teaching destinations around the world. If you would like to see another country added, or have specific experience teaching abroad, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org! We'd love to hear about it.
International Teaching in China
China is currently in the process of nationalizing its Nine-Year Compulsory Education Program, which entails providing nine years of government-funded schooling to each child starting at the age of 6. Considering that the average schooling of Chinese adults currently stands at 6.4 years, this is will be a considerable improvement. Additionally, while literacy rates have increased in past years, China still ranks 92nd out of 160 countries in terms of literacy with a rate of only 86%.
While many schools in China continue to emphasize rote memorization, the Chinese Ministry of Education has begun to spread the use of group-learning teaching techniques that focus on communication and comprehension skills through the class as a whole.
International Teaching in Japan
The Japanese public school system employs over a million teachers to educate 14 million students, with an additional 6 million students and 600,000 faculty involved in education in the private sector. Teachers in Japan must undergo training at an accredited university to gain their teaching certificate, but the specific requirements necessary to work as an educator vary by program.
Japanese public school from the elementary to upper secondary level is free. Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology regularly introduces new reforms and initiatives in an effort to provide students with the best possible schooling opportunities. Currently, the ministry is developing a lifelong learning program to educate citizens of all ages.
International Teaching in Korea
After initial reforms in the 20th century, the South Korean Ministry of Education has continued to benefit from the South Korean’s government’s increased focus on education. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Korea ranks high in most measures of national education, including second in the world in mathematics and first in the world in reading.
Teachers in South Korea must be certified by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Human Resource Development. Prospective teachers may undergo training at universities or colleges of education with approved teacher education programs, and certified educators must participate teacher training and continuing education activities.
International Teaching in Germany
The current system of education in Germany spouted from the unification of the Free Republic of Germany in 1990. As part of the effort to foster unity between the formerly divided country, the government sought to create comparable education opportunities throughout the various states. The federal government helps each state undertake nationwide projects, such as the current efforts to move towards an output-oriented system of education, such as the establishment of national education standards.
Teacher training and certification varies for each state. Preparation programs are aimed at preparing educators to work with specific age groups and in specific subjects. Most states require prospective teachers to successfully complete a teacher training program at an approved institution of higher education. Learn more at the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education.
International Teaching in the UK
Over 90% of school-aged children in the UK attend public schools. These schools are governed primarily by the National Curriculum, which was introduced in 1992 and is followed in all public schools for students ages 5-16. The National Curriculum is divided into four Key Stages; the first two correspond with primary education, and the second two control the curriculum for secondary education.
The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) oversees the teacher certification process in the United Kingdom. Teachers in the United Kingdom must hold both at least a Bachelor’s degree and must have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). In order to achieve QTS, prospective teachers must complete Initial Teacher Training (ITT) specific to the age level they wish to teach. Prospective secondary school teachers must complete ITT specific to the subject they wish to teach.