Communities of Participation in TESOL
ESOL as Business: Time for the Market-Oriented Teacher?
Version of Record online: 26 FEB 2014
© 2014 TESOL International Association
Volume 5, Issue 1, pages 159–171, March 2014
How to Cite
Walker, J. (2014), ESOL as Business: Time for the Market-Oriented Teacher?. TESOL Journal, 5: 159–171. doi: 10.1002/tesj.130
- Issue online: 26 FEB 2014
- Version of Record online: 26 FEB 2014
Private-sector institutions offering English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) in postcompulsory contexts are distinctive in terms of their dual nature: As businesses, their principal raison d'etre is to turn a profit for their owners and shareholders, but at the same time they are educational institutions that are expected, at least in regulated environments, to adhere to established professional and ethical standards. ESOL teachers are professional educators trained in a humanistic academic tradition. When employed in private-sector English language centres, how do such professionals come to terms with the challenges of practising in a manifestly commercial environment? This article employs a services perspective to explore tensions between commercial and educational or professional imperatives in ESOL. It considers the challenges facing ESOL teachers in functioning as so-called market-oriented teachers (Fredriksson, 2009), able both to uphold the tenets of their profession and to support the business strategy and commercial practices of their employer. Although it is unlikely that strains in the ESOL business–education relationship can be entirely dispelled, examples of good practice suggest that a mutually beneficial alliance of the commercial and the educational is possible, resulting in profitable, professional, and ethical private-sector ESOL organisations.