What decides the quality of a good English Teacher?

A 20 years experience, a higher qualification, Nationality or Sound Exposure to the language?
Edited by Safar Khan, Co-authored by: Sheila Craddock, Luca Merlini, Patricia Rose Love, Enrico contrasti lavezzini, Evan Frendo, Vivian napp, Maura Breen, Pamela Arraras, M.A., Misti Schroeter (Holland), Marines Lorenzo, Margaret Borge, Alan B. Cranford, Charles Bodenham, Carol Kubota, Nicole Tomassi, Jeff Burnham, Kelvin Bond

I personally want to thank Luca, Patricia and Alan for sharing such nice comments and experiences with us. Without your contributions this work would not have been possible. Thanks a lot! There are various theories presented and revolving around the topic what makes a good teacher or what are the qualities of a good teacher. Teachers from different countries and versatile experiences in ELT have shared some of their beautiful thoughts which I have merged together to make this article. This is a joint effort and the credit for the same is shared between all the co-authors.

Qualities of a good English Language Teacher: Rapport with students and humor I think that what really qualifies a good teacher of English is his/her rapport with students and commitment to his/her job. Humor is a very important quality to have as an instructor. The ability to laugh at oneself and with the students creates an environment for students to feel at ease with each other. You can't replace 'attitude,' 'humor,' and 'life experience.' Attitude and passion towards teaching The attitude of the teacher, communication and dedication, are most important. There's no substitute for it. Student-centered and innovative strategies Teachers who understand and apply community-based, autonomous, student-centered strategies in the classroom, The most important points in being a good teacher are to be able to communicate with your students and be passionate about what you do. A teacher must always keep innovating and creating new ways of teaching to keep the students motivated! Learning should be fun for the students, when a student is happy, his curiosity is aroused and thus is motivated. A quality teacher cares! I remember teachers whom I had as a student that rose above the pack. I remember one... long since dead... who had the disposition of a pit bull... but brought such knowledge of her subject (and love) to her class that you just HAD to learn! She also did something I have tried to copy... she MADE her student learn to think for themselves! Education is NOT enough to make a QUALITY TEACHER. One of the teachers who worked for me had a much better education as an English teacher than I, much more experience... but the students hated his classes (so did I -

BORING!) It took me a bit to figure out what was the problem.... he had taught so long, the same subject, to the same type of students that his "fire" had gone out! In my opinion, in a QUALITY TEACHER there is this unquenchable fire . Sort of a righteous fire than burns on self conviction that what they are doing is both important and fun. (A nice experience shared by Alan B. Cranford) Sometimes this makes them a bit hard to work with as they KNOW how they will teach the class . Regardless what the school wants. They often find themselves in trouble (perhaps that is a bit to strong) as they live their job, often exceeding their responsibility by helping a student with any of a student s problems, scholastic or personal, comes naturally to them. Why? Because they CARE! Some do believe that this CARING is what makes a QUALITY TEACHER. A great teacher is a passionate professional who cares!!! Professional development: A 120 hour TEFL course is sometimes not enough to become a good English teacher. Certainly, it is just a starting point for being a teacher. If you do not continuously update yourself with the new methodologies, and you repeatedly use the same material all the time, you can just be a mediocre teacher. As in life, you always have to grow, and you never stop to learn something new or more appealing. When institutions or individuals review a CV or interview a teacher, they are always happy with people who have done their initial training (Eg. 120 TEFL course) and are striving for more. The reason to stop and ask questions is that when they meet teachers who have been in the profession for several years and have never moved on beyond that initial certificate. Don't you think we should always be looking for professional development opportunities? While the ESL/TEFL profession continues to allow English teachers to walk off 4 week CELTA courses and into the classroom or obtain teaching certificates online without ever having set foot in a classroom and does not require that those teachers follow a recognized professional development plan then things will probably never improve. If the profession demands of the teachers the teachers will respond or disappear either way, better than what we have at the moment. It would be interesting to see how many TEFLers would go through a four year university/college degree program to join a profession which includes backpacking around the world teaching English as a potential career path.

Start the change at the source and it will flow right through the entire system The teacher who wants to learn is a gem. A super teacher is going to continue learning without end. A quality teacher never ebbs the tide of improvement. S/He is a perpetual student, and always thrives on learning every day. And some sign of professional development is a heads up for me. I like to see and talk to people who keep abreast with IT, and know how to use it in the classroom. I completely agree that teaching is a learning process. You can't be a good teacher, if you forget the golden rule. And I believe, in fact I want to be a teacher with more than 20 years of experience some day, and not a teacher with one year of experience repeated 20 times. That's a learning process! Needs-based teaching and getting the job done Being able to understand the students and their needs and REALLY listen to them is a very big key element to being a successful teacher. You can ramble on with all the corrections in grammar all you like but some students it isn't important and you need to be in tune to those students and find what does motivate them to learn a new language. In my opinion, in order to be a good teacher you have to be willing to relinquish all claims of being a good teacher and grasp the motivator title instead. What works with one won't work for another. There are some students who learn English simply by watching CNN or other news channels at their leisure times. What teaching is involved with that? None... but their English improved drastically because of it. Find what makes them tick, what would they like to listen to or read...the language acquisition comes easy then. Design or choose the materials as per the needs of the students to make learning successful. A good English teacher should be the one who gets the job done successfully - just like in any other profession. Define the success criteria for the students; a certain level of conversational ability in English or a certain score in an English exam the teachers who then get them to achieve this is successful and would normally be considered good at their job. Change the success criteria or the learning environment and the same teacher may no longer be successful. There is a short experience shared by Vivian Napp which I believe is worth mentioning under this head.

This topic brings to mind an experience I had in Estonia in the early 1990s when I was teaching English to a small group of executives at Estonia Energy. (My first language was Estonian but English quickly took over by the time I was 6 so I consider myself a native English speaker, raised in anglophile Canada.) I recall that I had to create my own teaching materials. There was no internet, no reliable photocopy machine, and half the class traveled to other European countries every week. Our classes started at 7am 3 x weekly until 8.45 whereupon a driver from the company would take me to the Int'l School where I also taught. The average age of the class was about 60. These students had had the unfortunate soviet "brainwashing" of not to speak unless it came perfectly out of the mouth. Most of the time, they looked down at their desks when asked to converse or contribute. My innovative teaching methodology went down like a brick wall. After the first year, I explained to them that we needed a break, to regroup. A year later, one student came to my home and said they were ready. By then I'd procured better teaching materials which included tapes and books that Eesti Energia paid for. The second year was a resounding success. We had a lot of fun and the students were applying almost immediately what they had learned to wherever they needed to use their English. I attribute this success mostly to the readiness of the students AND the teacher. But the bottom line: the teacher and class had bonded since week 1 and that was the deciding factor in all of us, including the CEO of Eesti Energia having a final celebratory graduation dinner atop the Tallinn Radio Tower.

Optional but one of the most important qualities of an English Teacher - Nationality i. Demand for Native Speakers advantages and discrimination on non-native speakers There are some major differences and mixed responses from many highly qualified teachers and professional regarding the advantages of being a native speaker. Touching on the point of being a native speaker of English! In most of the advertisements for English teachers you will come across this! There are some 'natives' who have no clue how to teach grammar and structure! Yes they are fluent in speech and conversation but when it comes to the technicality, some don't measure up! The point is not that native speakers are better or worse than no-native speakers and vice versa. However, in many parts of the world (for example, some parts of Asia and Eastern

Europe) a native speaker has an advantage over any non-native even if he/she is just a backpacker. However, it is a relative advantage, since you might find work in private language schools or similar, but in order to get a job in educational systems you generally need a B.A., even if it's not in the field of language teaching. There are some non-native speakers who have been using English for a long time. Some of them have studied in English medium schools, received their Bachelors and Masters degree in English and might have been teaching English at various levels to different ethnic groups of students for over 20 years, yet when it comes to hiring them, there are second thoughts! Many believe there is prejudice against teachers of English who are not Americans, British or Canadians! While some constantly see there is a bit of discrimination about the nationality of the teacher. Of course, native speakers have a plus because they grew up in an English speaking country. However, that does not mean that they could be good teachers or they could not be good teachers. It must also be noted that irrespective of the ethnicity and nationality some people are really good speakers. But that alone doesn t make them good teachers. Many argue about the fact that most gold medal athletes do not become coaches after they were physically able to perform their sport at world-class level. Also, being able to do X well doesn't mean you're the best one to explain it, train it, encourage, recognize specific patterns in others and adjust them, etc. Same goes for languages. When teaching advanced levels a native speaker may be able to add a little more knowledge of natural language, expressions, etc. but it's no guarantee either. ii. Benefits of native speakers in ELT

We have some really excellent and wonderful teachers who have gone an extra mile to teach English. They are many native speakers who have been well trained and are genuinely interested in students and self-learning, many who have dedicated nearly their full lifetime to a career learning how to improve student s services. People who are native speakers and trained, and educated also have enthusiasm. We must not forget how much work they've been through to be the best teachers they can be. There is also an immense amount of research done by native speakers and they have contributed to the ELT development a lot. Inferential leaps aren't well placed in rational thinking, and presuming that someone who is educated hasn't any enthusiasm doesn't care... have any connection with what is going on in

classrooms. Does it? It is also notable that what we are experiencing is exposure to different teacher-types. For instance, you may be working in a commercial language school, and in a location flooded with backpacking native speakers without training, but in the areas of corporate and university English, there are a lot of professional educators who are dedicated and constantly looking for new ways to make learning creative for their students. There are some of us who have worked hard on developing their teaching skills for many years, and expect that their own learning will continue. Teaching is a talent! Like playing a musical instrument, singing, or performing on the stage, people can be absorbed with enthusiasm, learn all they can from lessons and a sound method, but if they don't have the 'gift', then nothing comes together. Something exudes from the gifted teacher that is unique, and this spark generates the studentengine. Some simply have it, and some don't. Conclusion Teaching is a blend of all the above mentioned qualities. While the scope and ratio may vary depending on the place you go, but the core idea remains the same. Teaching is a creative art which requires constant updates, collective measures, personal development and coming up with innovative ideas every often to make learning easy and fun for the learners. Teaching is a noble profession which brings a lot of responsibility towards the learners part. At the end of the day, it is learners learning what matters the most.

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