Of course, an English teacher must speak English fluently and have a deep understanding of the language. Something else? With perfect teaching techniques alone you will not be able to engage and inspire your students. Learn five qualities every exceptional ESL teacher must have.
It is true that the ESL (English as a second language) teachers not only teach the students about this language but awake a desire to continue the learning process. While the percentage of ESL learners are increasing rapidly, the number of qualified ESL teachers isn’t able to meet that demand.
The main aim of an ESL teacher is to help non-native English students to become proficient speakers, readers, and writers of the language. In spite of having an ESL specific training including formal qualifications, what qualities and skills are necessary to make a difference for these students?
Here are five must-have qualities of an exceptional ESL teacher:
1. Cultural knowledge
Having a thorough understanding of the student’s native culture is vital for every ESL teacher, especially when you teach English in China or in another culture which is quite different from yours. Not only it helps him to exercise empathy and connect with his students, but it also helps the teacher to become an effective instructor. An ESL teacher who accepts the cultural differences and open-heartedly welcomes the students can help with an easier acceptance by the institutes/schools environments.
2. Altruism and fun
In the sense of being genuinely concerned about the well being of students, and not in the sense of purchasing gifts or any charity. The stars of the classroom should be the students, and you as a Special English Tutor should take the back seat so that they get the practice they need. Also, pairwork, mingles, including the group work are best for achieving this and can be done with any age group.
Apart from that, when you are working with younger kids, showing a lighter side holds great importance. It sure means making jokes, praising, and doesn’t mean being a clown. Trying to get to know the students is usually the first step and at times personalizing the materials to them can make the most tedious grammar come to life. It is also important to know when to draw a line.
Highly experienced ESL teachers have a good basis in the ESL teaching methodology. They fully understand that the language learning occurs when the students engage in the relevant experiential activities. The cooperative learning strategies are used more often than the worksheets. A highly skillful teacher has a handful of accent reduction techniques in order to help students speak fluent English.
The first step towards greatness is writing a lesson plan, although it doesn’t guarantee a good class. Each and every class you teach should be planned, which means knowing what you know and the students are going to do every ten minutes. Ask yourself these questions for each activity such as: What activity are you going to do and how long will it take? What skills are the students going to be practising and where they going to be – on the floor, in their chairs, or moving around? These varieties will help the students get more from the class.
5. Training in second language education approaches and techniques
The professional training opportunities should be available to help those who teach both linguistically and culturally diverse students. Whether it is the one-time in-services, short workshops, to online classes, the instructions need to be ongoing and also offered in a whole array of learning formats. These educational opportunities should be available at lower costs with added incentives to the teacher. It is vital that they be available in the most convenient settings and can accommodate the teacher who has already stretched beyond what most careers expect.
It is true that there is no recipe to become a perfect ESL teacher and nor is being perfect even realistic. As you read the qualities mentioned above, you will surely be encouraged to reflect on what you feel effectiveness with your students including your educational context.