Flexibility, Communication, Connection, and Organization: Qualities of an English Teacher
Teaching English requires a great deal of technical knowledge and ability. After all, language is composed of vocabulary, grammar, and learning a language requires engaging in the productive skills of speaking and writing, and the receptive skills of listening and reading. The journey for a student learning English is a long and challenging one, and much of the success of the student depends on the attitude and approach of their instructor. As such, some qualities constitute effective English teachers. While part of teaching does involve mastery and understanding of the technical aspects of language, the personal qualities of an English teacher will also affect the learning of students and the success of a classroom. There is a lot of personal qualities that are important for English teachers, but today I will be focusing on the skills of flexibility, communication, connection, and organization.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Mavis C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
It requires a teacher to be in touch with the changing needs of their students and entails an ability to overcome adversity in the classroom. Each class, students are coming in with different needs, wants, and expectations for what the class will be like. They are coming in with a range of different emotions and challenges from their personal lives and might be feeling anxious, excited, or indifferent to their language learning on any particular day. A teacher needs to be able to adapt to the energy of a classroom and help shape a lesson and group dynamic that is conducive to learning. An important part of this is also making the topic of the lesson interesting and engaging to students.
Further, it is a constant reality that a lesson or activity is not going to be as effective or have the intended impact that the teacher thinks it will, and the teacher needs to be able to adapt in these situations by altering the activity or instructions or moving on to a different activity.
Also Read: Can Americans teach English in Europe?
Communication and connection
They go hand in hand and are extremely important qualities for an English teacher. On the most basic level, clear speaking and writing are necessary when giving instructions, describing activities, or providing feedback to students. As their presence in an English class implies, students are still in the process of learning English, thus clear diction and handwriting will have a large impact on their ability to understand the teacher. Effective communication by an English teacher also entails sensitivity to the needs of students and the ability to connect.
Building rapport in a classroom from the very first class can be important in making students feel motivated to learn, and comfortable enough to experiment and make mistakes, an inevitable part of learning. Connection and communication also imply cultural awareness, essential to an English language classroom as students might come from a cultural background different from the teacher, or even from other students. Lastly, communication and connection are essential in shaping a curriculum that takes into consideration the interests, strengths, and struggles of students.
It is an important quality for English teachers, in large part because of the technical and material demands of teaching. Effective lessons utilize various materials including worksheets and cue cards, realia, whiteboards, and videos, to name a few. Teachers must also plan ahead of time for their classes, to anticipate necessary materials they must bring, the timing for activities, etc. The organization enables the teacher to be in touch with the aforementioned qualities, as the organization enables flexibility, communication, and connection while staying on course to achieving learning goals.
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In sum, English teachers need flexibility, communication, connection, and organization to cultivate a learning environment that is productive and conducive to growth. This sets the groundwork for students to be able to learn language skills and ultimately gain fluency in English.
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