Factors Contributing to TESOL Employment: A Graduate Perspective
Keywords:TESOL, Career Development, Career Trajectories, Employment, Teacher Education
The profession of teaching English to speakers of other language (TESOL) has experienced significant changes in the past decades, and career development in the contemporary era is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. This study aimed at finding the patterns and attractors that contribute to successful careers in TESOL from the perspectives of graduates. Data were collected through a comprehensive survey of international and Canadian TESOL certificate graduates at a mid-size university in British Columbia and through interviews with several of the graduates. The results were analysed through the lens of the forms of capital (Bourdieu, 1986) and chaos (Bright & Pryor, 2005) theories. The results indicated a significant diversity of TESOL employment and the varied effectiveness of factors in career development amongst participants. Graduates experienced challenges in terms of their TESOL skills and their job search skills, with both being impacted by the forms of capital they held in the TESOL profession. While TESOL students and early career TESOL professionals need to be more prepared for the complexity and unpredictability of TESOL careers by continuously improving their forms of capital, TESOL teacher educators, TESOL program administrators, and TESOL professional organizations should take the diverse needs of students with different backgrounds into consideration and provide long-term career support to build a robust TESOL community.
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