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Thread: IELTS level needed for non-native English speakers to teach English in Japan

  1. #1
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    Default IELTS level needed for non-native English speakers to teach English in Japan

    Is there a set minimum IELTS level needed by non-native English speakers to teach English in Japan? (not on JET, obviously)
    Or is it more a case-by-case basis? (i.e. nail the interview and you're in... whereas other places a non-native might need to show their IELTS certificate at a certain level to be offered the job)

    Are there any non-native English teachers out there who could confirm what IELTS level they were at when they were first accepted by a school/dispatch company?

    I appreciate the level of English needed practically will very wildly between kindergarten and a business setting, so let's just make this question about teaching in elementary or JHS.

    FYI, from my understanding the definitions are broadly thus:
    IELTS 9.0 = Fluent
    IELTS 8.0 & 8.5 = Handle complex argumentation well, with very occasional mistakes
    IELTS 7.0 & 7.5 = Handle complex language well, with occasional mistakes and misunderstandings
    IELTS 6.0 & 6.5 = Effective command of English, with some mistakes and misunderstandings
    IELTS 5.0 & 5.5 = Partial command of English, with many mistakes
    IELTS 4.0 & 4.5 = Basic competence, with frequent problems in understanding and expression
    IELTS 3.0 & 3.5 = Can only convey general meaning in familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication.
    IELTS 2.0 & 2.5 = Great difficulty in understanding English
    IELTS 1.0 & 1.5 = No ability in English beyond a few simple words.

  2. #2

    Default Re: IELTS level needed for non-native English speakers to teach English in Japan

    Are you a non-native speaker? From what I'm aware not many NNSs come on here as it's primarily a JET programme, so maybe other forums are better (?).

    However, I'd say it would probably depend on an individual basis, i.e. the school in question and of course your accent/nationality.

    One thing I'm not so sure about is the work visa though. I heard it could potentially be rejected in Japan on the basis that the person is not a native English speaker. So, you could get the job but not the visa. However, like I say maybe a different forum will give you better answers. Good luck!
    Last edited by elmaldito; August 24th, 2016 at 04:35.

  3. #3

    Default Re: IELTS level needed for non-native English speakers to teach English in Japan

    Non-native speakers get accepted into the JET program pretty often, but they're usually extremely fluent, or the system failed and they leaked through as a non-native speaker from a "native speaking" country. The examples I know of are French-speaking English second language Québécois (as in didn't learn English until young adulthood.) In those examples, the ALT in question was still quite fluent, although with a heavy Québécois/French accent. Although I also know an English ALT that taught French lessons in their city as a "French-kaiwa" activity.

    Neither situation really answers your question though.

  4. #4
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: IELTS level needed for non-native English speakers to teach English in Japan

    I've met a rouges gallery of non native ALTs working in Japan and 90% of them couldn't string a coherent sentence together if their life depended on it. Most of them were from South East Asia or Africa - the only people apart from massive weeaboos who are happy with the borderlink/heart/joytalk salary. Saying that they were all here on spouse visas, I'm not 100% but I believe you need to have been educated in the language you intend to teach for 12 years in order to get an instructor visa. You might be able to get a specialist in humanities visa which is less strict on that sort of thing but you would have to teach eikaiwa rather than work in a school as an ALT.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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