Are Teachers Responsible for Enrollment Numbers?

Today’s competitive English Teaching market has demanded a new responsibility from teachers:  supporting their institution’s marketing strategies.   Although teacher education programs for EFL practitioners do not include marketing or promotion strategies, many language teachers are held accountable for students who choose to drop out, for those who choose to continue studying, and for supporting the reach out to prospective students. However, to what extent are teachers really responsible for enrollment numbers?

First of all, students’ choice of enrolling in a program (and staying until graduation) is a consequence of several aspects. Some of these aspects pertain to students’ individual needs and characteristics over which teachers have no control, such as professional demands, intrinsic motivation, and financial capacity, to name a few. Other aspects are closely related to students’ satisfaction with the educational service provided – including classroom instruction. In other words, teachers do play a role in students’ decision to enroll or to continue studying.

However, as we walk in this discussion, several questions may arise: how can teachers guarantee students’ satisfaction? Can teachers anticipate student drop out? Should teachers develop classroom marketing strategies? Would these marketing strategies hinder learning-focused lessons? How much should teachers get involved in institutional sales initiatives? What is the relation between pedagogical decisions and marketing decisions in the classroom?

On one hand, teachers claim to have too much classroom work already; they cannot bother with marketing and sales strategies. On the other hand, administrators realize that teachers’ role goes beyond instructional decisions; it includes promoting student loyalty and supporting the company’s strategic goals.

What we know for a fact is that teachers’ are increasingly expected to become more involved the achievement/maintenance of enrollment numbers. Within the classroom, teachers are expected to develop marketing strategies while delivering the course students have “paid for”. Outside the classroom, teachers are expected to support and understand the institution’s business goals and strategies at least to some extent.

In upcoming posts, I will try to deepen this discussion considering different aspects of such. The aim of this first article is to state the issue and hopefully receive input from readers. Please feel free to comment on this and voice your opinion.

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Anderson Maia

Anderson Maia is currently the dean of a campus at Universidade Federal do Pará and a PhD in TESOL candidate at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. He was the academic manager at Centro Cultural Brasil Estados Unidos for 6 years, an adjunct TESOL professor at private colleges for several years, and has been an English language educator for 15 years in both Brazil and North Carolina, USA. He holds a degree in English and an MA in TESOL from Greensboro College, USA.

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