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What Makes A Good Language Teacher Essay

Recently I was invited to give a guest lecture on the topic “Characteristics of highly effective teachers of English’.To prepare myself for the lecture I asked my students and fellow teachers to list the qualities of a good teacher of English.Those who were involved in the informal brainstorming sessions had listed a number of characteristics an English language teacher should have.My experience as an English language teacher and teacher trainer also helps me define an effective teacher of English as someone who possesses 5 I’s:<

  1. Imagination
  2. Innovativeness
  3. Interaction
  4. Independent thinking
  5. Interdependence Imagination

A teacher who is imaginative can do wonders in the English class. Their new ideas break monontony and make students take lively participation in the class. Albert Einstein says thatt imagination is more important than knowledge.

“Human progress is possible only through education. Without imagination, education becomes a kind of intellectual recycling of the same knowledge passed from teacher to student and back to teacher on the test. Education should do more than simply transmit information; it should develop skills such as imagination that evolve our knowledge and move us forward as a species.”

Teachers who are imaginative can teach any language skill interestingly and effectively. They can develop students' creative self-expression. Teachers who are imaginative explore and create new things.

Students enjoy being guided by imaginative teachers.

Innovativeness
An innovative teacher dares to go off the track in order to be on the track. Students like teacher who are innovative. Innovativeness means

  • Introducing changes and new ideas
  • Daring to be different and being unique
  • Going off the track in order to be on the track
  • Experimenting new things
  • Being fresh always

Interaction

A teacher who promotes interaction in the English class does justice to their profession by empowering learners and helping them develop their communication skills. They motivate their students, create opportunities for them to interact with one another through commutainment (communication through entertainment) activities such as roleplays, groups discussions, mock interviews, etc.

Independent thinking

Independent thinking is the process of being able to think on your own, without someone else guiding you. "In a world where knowledge is doubling every few years and what once was a fact can become out of date so quickly equipping young people with the mental tools to succeed in such a world is vital." Teachers can help their students develop their independent thinking only if they are independent. Independent thinking implies

  • Thinking on your own
  • Being critical of what you see and hear
  • Questioning information and irrational assumptions

An independent thinker helps students develop the desire and ability to think on their own. An independent thinker contributes a lot to the team. Language learning tasks should aim at developing students’ thinking skills.

Interdependence
Interdependence is essential for a successful person. Taking students from dependent stage to independent stage and then to interdependent stage is very important. Man is a social animal and interpersonal relationship is the key to success in today's competitive world. The one who knows how to relate with others can climb up the ladder of success. Those who are interdependent use positive language and win people. They are polite, pleasant, practical, persuasive and powerful.

A teacher of English who is imaginative, innovative, interactive, independent and interdependent can be successful in the field and can lead the students from dependent stage to independent stage and then to interdependent stage.

Dear teachers, please let me know your comments.

Albert P'Rayan

But what makes a “good” English teacher? Can teachers with a competent level of English skills be considered good English teachers? A list of attributes of a good teacher of English as a second language (ESL) would be very subjective. With that in mind, I would like to discuss the characteristics of a good English teacher based on my own research and experience. There are two common misconceptions about English teaching. First, a professor with a doctorate is not necessarily a good English teacher. Second, a native speaker of English is not automatically an effective teacher. If fluency were the most important variable in language instruction, a native-speaker — especially one with a doctorate — would undoubtedly be superior to those who are not native-speakers. I have found this logic questionable. I have been taught English by native as well as non-native speakers, with doctorates in literature, linguistics or ESL, who were disappointingly ineffective and unprofessional.

On the other hand, I have been taught in a private language school by an English teacher who comes from Bangladesh, only has a bachelor’s degree and speaks with a heavy foreign accent. Students from all walks of life are eager to study under him because they enjoy his fun, down-to-earth and interactive teaching style. I’ve noticed that even shy students are motivated to speak up in his class. Many students obviously consider this Bangladeshi teacher a “good” English teacher. Personally I think that obtaining a degree in ESL and having a good command of English are necessary and crucial qualifications for being a good English teacher. However, these qualifications are not enough.

For example, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Yuko Goto Butler, conducted research on Japanese and Korean students studying English in their native land and found that the most important traits of ESL teachers are a friendly personality, English fluency, cultural knowledge in the English-speaking world, a good command of students’ native language and the ability use technological aids to teach. Another study showed that students in Taiwan expect their English teachers to be welcoming, professional, humanistic and enthusiastic — characteristics unrelated to nationality and English proficiency. Douglas Brown, a distinguished ESL expert, provided a fairly comprehensive list of characteristics of good English teachers, which can be classified into four categories: technical knowledge, pedagogical skills, interpersonal skills and personal qualities.

Good technical knowledge means understanding the mechanics of the language, such as phonology and grammar. Pedagogical skills include a contextualized approach to language instruction, the ability to stimulate interaction, presentation skills and so on. To be an effective English teacher requires interpersonal skills to engage students through enthusiasm and humor, valuing the opinions and abilities of students, and seeking opportunities to share ideas with students and colleagues. As for personal qualities, good English teachers are flexible when classroom activities go wrong, maintain an inquisitive mind in trying new teaching methods and have goals for professional development. Language teaching is a very complicated art.