Some clips of Flight of the Conchords. "Business Time" and "Jenny" are partcularly great. Two very talented and funny Kiwis!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Guardian Languages - Languages Out There

The Guardian Sweat Shop

Well I think we can all guess what you are up to Jason. Your business "Languages Out There" is a veritable TEFL sweat shop.

My son Hamish McHammered is arriving at the airport later on today so just a brief note on Jason West and his antics.

Young Hamish McHammered

Unfortunately dear Jason a full blacklisting is now in order for you ma lad!

If the Guardian wants to descend to the TEFl sewer through some kind of licensing/franchise (we've been here before with
International House methinks
) then don't expect your noble sleuth to respect this kind of pricing structure which does the world of TEFL and teacher's pay generally no favours at all. Oh and if you want to get in touch with Alex Case, who does sterling work on Tefltastic, contact him directly, don't bother posting messages ostensibly for him, but in reality for a wider audience, on the TEFL Blacklist. They will simply get binned and you are now blacklisted after ignoring my last warning about sneaky behaviour.

To quote.........

" Teachers’ lesson plans come with a site licence. This allows the lessons to be used with all pupils at one language school location. Schools with more than one location should contact us to find out about our generous offers for multiple site licences.

Learners can buy self-study packs, and schools can also buy them for individual pupils. Don't forget Engage, our VoIP client – it's free to download! Learners only pay for the time they spend practising with fluent or native English speakers. The rate is £6.95 per hour (which is less than £0.12 per minute!) They can also use Engage free of charge to practice with other learners.

£6.95 an hour!. Once again thanks to the EL Gazette for exposing this shyster. And shame on the Guardian for not choosing their partners more wisely.


Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Guardian Newspaper - Yet Again!

Your intrepid sleuth received this posting from the Guardian. He appears to have ruffled their feathers of late.

"Can you contact me at so that I can send you some information about Guardian Languages that you might like to read, check for yourself on our website and then publish?



Well Jason if you think the Inspector's brains have been so addled by fermented yak's milk that he is going to send you his IP address (for the uninitiated each email carries an IP address which is like giving someone your phone number) you are an optimistic idiot.

To send dear old Jason an email, the Inspector might as well give just him the phone number of his hotel in Pamplona.

Why don't you give me your home address, Jason, and I'll send Lady Florence McHammered around for a quick chat ;)

Dream on Jason.

By all means post a reply but try that sneaky dodge once more and your right of reply will vanish forever.

What has happened to the Guardian lately. It used to be a respected newspaper. I suspect they are a bit short of cash.


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Monday, January 28, 2008

The Korea Times

It seems to be contagious. First the posting where "i-to-i TEFL - Up to their Old Tricks" tells us all that we are not meeting the high standards of TEFL in China (LOL) and NOW Korea has a pot at us The Koreans seem to suffer from Xenophobia . The irony is that Korea is an absolute hell hole most of the time for TEFL (check out the Korean section of the TEFL Blacklist). Read on dear readers what the Korea Times has the cheek to write about us. The land of the hot dog (yes they eat the woof woof kind and adore putrid cabbage) should be avoided. Barge poles out and give the place a very wide berth.

53% of Foreign Tutors Lack Teaching Degrees
By Kang Shin-who
Staff Reporter

More than half of foreign teachers at elementary and secondary schools have no English teaching certificates. Of 3,808 native English-speaking teachers, 2,002, or 53 percent, didn't have teaching certificates such as TESOL and TEFL as of September 2007, according to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, Sunday.

TESOL is short for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and TEFL means Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Among 1,806 foreign nationals who hold English teaching certificates, 532 teachers had teaching licenses from their countries, 1,134 had TESOL or TEFL and 140 had both.

``Native English speakers holding English teaching certificates are most preferred and applicants need to have an education major or teaching experience of more than one year if they want to work with us,'' said Kelly H. Ye, coordinator in recruiting native English speaking teachers at Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE).

However, schools, in practice, have difficulty hiring certificate-holding teachers. Currently, Korean elementary and secondary schools are hiring foreigners as teachers aides, as this is legal, for English conversation classes. Native English-speaking nationals with a bachelor's degree or above can apply for English teaching or E-2 visa.

By region, South Gyeongsang Province had the highest ratio of ``licensed teachers,'' with 60 percent. The province had 163 foreign nationals with teaching certificates out of 270. Following South Gyeongsang were Gwangju and South Jolla Province with 57 percent.

In Seoul, 54 percent had certificates while the ratio fell to 47 percent in Gyeonggi Province.

Ulsan City had the lowest ratio of licensed native English teachers with 23 percent and Daejeon City also showed a low ratio with 26 percent.

Korea has seen a growing number of foreign English teachers and accordingly the number of foreigners forging their degrees to get E-2 visas is also increasing, according to the Korea Immigration Service. A total of 692 foreigners with fabricated degrees were caught as of August 2007.

Meanwhile, top educators in 15 cities and provinces requested President-elect Lee Myung-bak to ease English teaching visa regulations that restricts foreign English teachers by national in a meeting with Lee at the Lotte Hotel in central Seoul, last Friday.

Regarding this, an SMOE official said they can secure more qualified teachers by expanding English teaching visas to more countries. ``If Asian teachers are allowed at schools, we can also place those teachers in math and science classes for English immersion programs planned by the incoming government,'' said Choi Chun-ok, the supervisor in charge of recruiting foreign teachers at SMOE.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

i-to-i TEFL - Up to their Old Tricks

Come Into My Parlour Said the Spider to the Fly......

This outfit are cowboys and dangerous to boot. Check out the tales of woe from the Chinese section on the TEFL Blacklist and compare it to the absolute idiocy they claim below. As with Cactus Tefl it's all about selling courses, in the case of i-to-i of less value than parrot droppings. Do NOT be conned by the bullsh*t below. The TEFL schools in China are in dire need of some form of accreditation not the teachers.

You may get lucky and find a decent school. But google the hell out of it first or you could have a very very nasty experience.

Why is it that such outfits as i-to-i who know that TEFL in China can be very dodgy print such rubbish just to make a cheap buck.

Shame on you i-to-i.

EFL teachers avoid them and their rubbish curses (what a freudian slip! I should of course have written courses but curses is more appropriate) like the plague. If you seriously think a weekend course will teach you how to become good teacher then dream on because they are taking you for mugs and making megabucks. They are a total disgrace.

As for the four week tefl course. These cowboys sell loads of weekend courses. Here's what they have to say....

Become a fully qualified TEFL teacher in just 2 days

We've been running Weekend TEFL courses for more than a decade and in the last year alone we have trained more than 4,000 new TEFL teachers. Our courses are accredited by two leading independent organisations and our TEFL certificates are recognised by thousands of language schools worldwide. You can do a Weekend TEFL Course in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Ireland and Greece.

Spotlight Asia
Seeing as its Spotlight Asia month we thought we'd give our monthly update a bit of an oriental theme, so you'll find it's packed full of information about one of the world's most popular TEFL destinations - China!
If you're looking for the complete cross-cultural experience then you need to consider China. This incredible country boasts a unique and intriguing cultural heritage. It flows through every strand of modern Chinese society, from architecture and fashion to crafts and lifestyle. TEFL teachers will find themselves on a journey of discovery, as they live in the local community and work with the local people.
A few words from China…
I've always wanted to go to China so after spending three years studying history at Hull I decided to reward myself with a well-deserved holiday. I went away for two weeks and I loved every moment of it. When I got back I tried to settle back into life in England but all I could think about was going back - so here I am, three months later, teaching in X'ian!
The city is great, it's so filled with history that I never get bored. I've been to the Terracotta Warriors museum which was great and I even met some of the i-to-i volunteers there! I've done a bit of travelling on weekends too but I'm just as happy to go out walking in the hills. It's really beautiful here - nothing like living in Hull - and I can't get over how green everything is. I'm finally starting to get to grips with the language but I can't say I'm very good. It's given me a lot more respect for my students and I'm a lot more sympathetic now, but I don't think I'll ever be fluent!
The teaching is going really well too. It was a bit scary at first but I soon settled in. It doesn't feel like a job, more like an extended game, which is just what I wanted.
Dawn, 23, Cambridge, UK
Jobs in China
Immerse yourself in one of the world's most fascinating cultures by choosing a teaching opportunity in China! With such a rich cultural history, China offers one of the most incredible travel experiences available and teaching English will give you a unique perspective as you explore the land and work with its people.
Our Paid Teaching Placements have been specially designed to make finding work abroad as stress-free as possible. We'll train you, find you a job and even pick you up from the airport so you remember your first hours in China for all the right reasons. Click here to find out more.
TEFL Abroad courses in Beijing
China's sprawling capital, Beijing is everything you could expect from the world's fastest growing economy; a center of commerce, culture and community which throws up surprises at every street corner. In this incredible setting you could find yourself learning all the skills you need to teach English as a foreign language.

What you'll get:

4-week intensive 120 hour TEFL/TESOL course.
An internationally recognized certification.
At least 8 hours of practical teaching experience in a real TEFL classroom.
And much, much more…
Click here to find out more about our TEFL Abroad courses.

Increasing demand for TEFL certification in China

Demand for TEFL teachers in China is extremely high but with no laws covering the qualifications required to teach English problems have inevitably arisen. Prospective teachers without TEFL qualifications or a thorough grasp of the English language have invaded the market, lowering the standard of teaching and creating a bad reputation for foreign teachers. Demand remains high but employers are becoming increasingly suspicious and it is now vitally important that TEFL teachers searching for jobs in this area of the world make every effort to impress their prospective employers.

Taking a TEFL course with a respected TEFL provider is the first step toward proving your commitment to quality teaching but if you want to avoid the problems entirely you might want to consider one of our Paid Teaching Placements. We work hard to build strong relationships with language schools around the world, so that you can secure a TEFL position with as little stress as possible.

We've developed a four step guide "Your International Career in Four Easy Steps" to show you exactly how to do it. Click here to take a look.


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The British Council Gets the Boot (Russian)

That last bastion of the empire the British council is beating a hasty retreat from Russia.

This what the EL Gazette has to say about the sorry sage. Full marks to the EL Gazette which is now recommended by the TEFL Blacklist. I may be wrong but they seem to have developed a real cutting edge of late and are reporting stuff that normally just gets ignored. Obligatory reading for anyone interested in the seamy side of TEFL.

You can find the EL Gazette by clicking here.

THE BRITISH Council is to hand over its nine regional centres across Russia to local partners, typically state-run institutes of higher education, by the end of this year. This reduces the Council’s presence to Moscow and St Petersburg, but with direct teaching operations there suspended.

Martin Davidson, CEO of the British Council, insisted in a press statement that it is still very much committed to improving Russian access to British culture and education. The Council points out that centres will effectively be under new ownership but will continue to run a similar range of services, for example teaching-resource libraries, with support from London.

The move is hardly surprising, considering the Council’s increasingly beleaguered position in Russia. In December 2006 the teaching centre in Moscow was forced to close its doors after a long-running dispute over its legal status; in March 2007 a senior manager from the Council was one of four diplomats recalled from Russia amid wellpublicised tit-for-tat expulsions of embassy staff. Strained Anglo-Russian relations have implications well beyond the work of the Council in the Russian regions. UK language teachers entering Russia have faced a more complex and time-consuming visa process, a development condemned by Amy Cartwright from the Association of European Businesses.

The closures are consistent with the British Council’s latest European strategy, unveiled in March 2007, which aims ‘to free up resources currently tied up in physical premises and give millions more people around the world access to educational opportunities … through partner organisations and increasingly through our own online sources’. In addition to existing web-based products such as Learn English (, the Council aims to introduce new internet services in early 2008, revealed Paul Webb, senior English language consultant in Moscow.


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The Guardian Guards Its Profits!

Thanks for the EL Gazette for the next couple of stories. The first is about the Guardian which it is now alleged is breaking the law!

BRITAIN’S LEADING left of centre newspaper company is paying freelance native speakers of English the UK minimum wage to conduct conversation classes online. Guardianlanguages. com, a website belonging to the Guardian News and Media Group, is offering £5.52 an hour to native speakers.

Paying minimum wage is not illegal; advertising for native speakers is more contentious. To 'justify discrimination' Guardian News and Media believe they have to show that it is a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’, according to Jason West, whose company, languagesoutthere, developed the programme. Legal advice given to the Gazette states that courts require hard evidence in order to justify discrimination. We asked the Guardian for their evidence but none has been provided.

Only native English speaker ‘partners’ qualify for payment but no educational requirements are specified. Qualified EFL teachers with nothing better to do will also initially be paid minimum wage rate. West is confident that over time qualified teflers will earn more as users are asked to rate the lessons they receive and ‘partners’ receiving consistently good ratings can ask for an increase on £5.52.

Qualified teachers in London earn about £20 an hour for private conversation classes. Those who do sign up in the hope of earning more than £5.52 an hour can opt to download one-hour lesson plans costing £20. In the UK 120 hours of course material retails at around £25. The same amount of material would be £2,700 from guardianlanguages. Asked to justify the cost difference West said he was confident about both quality and price of the materials. 'Self-study students can purchase packs for just £1 each,' he pointed out.


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The Tefl Blacklist Oscars 2008

The Inspector has been guilty of gross neglect of The TEFL BLACKLIST over the festive season. He is however pleased to announce that nominations for the TEFL BLACKLIST Oscars have now officially opened.
So feel free to let rip with your tales of woe, shoddy school management, non-payment of wages, exploitation etc.etc.. You know the ropes I'm sure.


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