Guidance on professional communications
We are down-to-earth about communication styles. However, an important part of our role is to give our participants real-life work experience and to help them get to their next opportunity.
This may be the first work-experiences our participants have had and people aren't always told what is expected by employers in terms of written communication style, tone and content.
So, we have put together this guidance to help keep people adhering to good basic standards. We won't assess candidates on the bases below, but the majority of employers will do so - we are sending you this FAQ if we think you should read it.
A good rule of thumb is that you can parrot whatever tone has been set. If you receive something in a formal or courteous tone, then it's probably best to mirror this in your reply. If someone sends you an email without any typos, please don't be sloppy by reply. If someone says thank you, it's a good idea to thank them back.
*2.Standards of language and written communications*
We run a TEFL training programme. Understandably, any student that aspires to teach English should demonstrate relatively good standards of English language ability. The organisations that accredit or standardise our training also expect that we do language ability checks on any incoming learner. This means that it is very important you display good grammar and spelling in all communications.
If you have any special educational needs related to language and written communications, please communicate this to us so we are aware and can support you as appropriate.
Many of our work placement partners run real-world educational institutions, so they will expect that you communicate with them in a professional manner. If a school invites you to join them as a trainee English teacher, you will be expected to uphold reasonably high standards of English language competency too.
Accordingly, we recommend that you aim to write in a relatively formal register when communicating, particularly when emailing. This usually means:
- When you write an email, address someone in the appropriate tone. E.g Dear Name, don't just write Hi. End emails with a thank you or other appropriate sign-off, avoid cheers.
- Please maintain normal and formal written standards. Please email us as you would email any other employer, so please don't contract words and use slang, use "and" and not "n", "because" and not "becoz" or "cos", "you" and not "u"...etc.
- Be courteous in your communications, never forget your Ps & Qs.
- If an email is much in excess of a quarter of an A4 page, then you have probably written too much. Once you enter the world of work, brevity in communications is cherished!
- Always check your spelling. If you want to be a teacher, please strive to avoid sloppy spelling. It isn't a great impression to make with organisations that are letting you teach their learners. If you have difficulties with spelling, you can always use an AI, or perhaps Grammarly to check things over!
*3.Please be kind, polite and reasonable*
Courtesy is key, always check your emails for tone before sending them. Never use CAPS LOCK, don't use repetition of !! or ?? or anything else that is shouty. Don't forget to sign your name at the end of the email and open and end with a courtesy, otherwise the tone will come across as rude.
It's never cool to be rude. If you are stressed out, then don't write an email, if you are angry, don't write an email. If you are angry or stressed, just wait until you feel more collected and send a polite email explaining your situation. Never indicate that you are in an angry emotional state. So, avoid using CAPS LOCK, and remain courteous.
Don't forget, when you use the internet, always assume that someone will one day see what you've written! For posterity, don't embarrass yourself by losing your cool. You never know who is reading.
*4. First impressions matter...*
When you join us overseas, you will likely join group chats with others on platforms such as WhatsApp. This is usually informal and fun, but we still recommend you communicate as you'd expect professionals to communicate. Respect for everyone, and adhering to an appropriate tone are important.
Always remember that this is first and foremost a professional development programme and remember to maintain professional communications at all times.