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Saturday, January 30, 2010

On Good English Teachers

What makes a good English teacher be a good English teacher? That blond, blue-eyed New-Zealander with a two-day stubble? No, of course not. Far from the truth.

What makes a good English teacher a good teacher is his or her ability to establish a rapport with his or her students and elicit in them the will to learn, progress and make headway.

What’s most important in all teaching situations is that the learning has to be accomplished in an atmosphere of peace and calm and, when necessary, call to action is appropriate as well. You have to make clear to your students that it is no use your bending over backwards to prepare good lessons or spend hours explaining a grammar point if your students will not devote time to their studies. I call it Distance Learning Tasks (DLTs)- you may want to link this to what is known in academia as students' autonomy.

Yes, our students have to understand that there is a whole world of Englishes out there and we cannot lump them all on a few pages in our textbooks. Students have to demonstrate autonomy from the get-go. Once that is attained or established, then we’ll be off to the races, or rather, our mission will have been accomplished.


  1. How true. But those qualities are not only required for good English teachers. They really are standards of good practice for good teaching period! Building a relationship based on mutual trust and respect is the cornerstone of being able to teach and learn.
    Nice thought. Well put.

  2. ..i had a so good English teacher. She was from England, living here, a very sweet and strong person. She taught me almost everything, first during the classes, and then with individual classes after we built a good relationship.
    I guess teaching is a calling.

    ...if she were he, wth blue-eyed and maybe dark hair...ehm..

  3. i resent the fact that many brazilians insist on "native" english speakers for teachers, when they have no idea of the inherent problems of such a idea, such as issues of regional pronunciation, slang, idiomatic usage, the list is long and those who suffer are the ones who need the lessons the most but unfortunately knowing the least...they'll thrust their money into the hands of an born speaker thinking it's a good idea...good grief! i'm venting...

  4. It's okay to vent, Flavio.. That is why we use blogs...

    Thanks for your insight.