Every now and again I’ve contemplated whether or not language learning certificates and degrees were actually worth your time and effort to pursue them. I am someone who believes that you don’t need a certification or degree for everything we do in life. With so many scams out there, it makes me a bit suspicious of how genuine these degrees and certifications actually are. Let me preface this by saying that I don’t think everyone with a degree in languages is a scammer or disingenuous. If you are regularly making use of the language in your career then this post obviously doesn’t apply to you. Let’s discover how these can be beneficial and detrimental.
Do these really give you more credibility as a genuine language learner or is it just something you use to get a new job and think nothing of after you have gotten the job? To me, I can see how getting the experience to TEACH the language is going to be useful. But to actually learn the language I have my doubts. Especially, if it is just a four-year degree with classes only being around 1-2 hours at most. There are so many people out there with taking language classes because it is going to be “useful” and apparently further benefit one’s career or at least on paper. But that’s the issue! How is a language degree relevant to a career that doesn’t require you to use the language at all? Have you actually used the language outside of the classroom in your daily life? If the answer is no, why are you using it as a badge of honour? It sounds like a waste of time just for something you’re not going to use it.
Credit-Driven Students Exposed
Yep, I am calling out every single one of you who only took language learning classes for the credits. These culprits have been mentioned in previous blog posts and I have absolutely abhorred these people. Mostly because of all the opportunities missed in language courses I’ve wasted my money, time and energy on that could have been spent practising the languages and learning them in tandem. But no, these people only participate when the instructor demands them to participate. Even then there are still people who will refuse to do so. Unless you seek out a tutor outside of the classroom, you are not going to get the necessary speaking practice you need to strengthen your abilities in the language. These students are incredibly insufferable and demotivating you from actually taking your language learning further.
Teaching English As A Foreign Language
This is a controversial degree and certification in itself. How so? It’s unintentionally promoting Anglo-Colonisation with the intention of wiping out other languages in its way under the guise of a “living and working abroad”, which it is, don’t get me wrong but so many English as a Foreign Language Teachers overseas don’t even bother with learning the local to the point, where I have to ask: “What you are actually doing there?” You aren’t being beneficial to their society apart from your teaching English. Get out and let someone who is willing to not only teach English but also, in return learn the local language fluently. Now, I do understand that there are countries where are so many different languages spoken that knowing which one to learn can be a challenge, but even then there’s probably a common language spoken in the area you’re in. Learn that language to not only get to know the culture but also to show respect to the people whose country you are teaching English. Multilingualism trumps Anglo-Globalisation. Just because you’re a TEFL/TESOL teacher, doesn’t mean you are excused from learning the local language.
These are fun. I am not going to lie that I want to take these tests just to see how well I can pass these tests. I have yet to take one of these exams so I can necessarily say what they are like but I have looked at the study guides for ones for Japanese and German. With that being said, do you actually need to take one of these tests to prove your fluency in the language? The answer is no but there are countries such as Japan, that require you to take these exams to prove to the Japanese Government that you are proficient in Japanese and are “fluent”. However, here’s the thing: It’s a test! You can be a fantastic exam taker and pass these tests with flying colours but it doesn’t automatically make you fluent in the language after taking them. You have to put the effort into your learning and you actually have to do more than academic work in your target language. Language learning is so much more than just a subject one studies at school, especially at university. Having these certifications can be a great boost to your ego but it’s nothing more than that essentially.
Are Certifications/Degrees Necessary To Learn Languages? No, they are useless pieces of paper that offer nothing but maybe a career opportunity for your CV/Résumé. You don’t need to prove on paper that you are fluent but by actually putting your language skills into practice. Papers lie whereas your abilities don’t. If you need to get these pieces of paper for career opportunities and benefits then, by all means, get them but otherwise, don’t even bother wasting your time.
What do you think? Do you agree that certifications and degrees are just a waste of paper? Do you disagree with me wholeheartedly? I would love to hear your thoughts by sharing them in the comments below. Just be sure to keep all criticism constructive or your comment will be deleted. Hate comments are never acceptable and reflect more on you than it does on me. Remember that.