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7 Ways To Be An Even Greater English Teacher!

What can we do each day to make us even better English teachers?

Here are our 7 recommendations...

1. Create Relevant Content
Use and develop content which interests your student. How do you know what interests your students have? Ask them! Conversation leads us to understanding, and if we start a learning journey with a new student by getting to know them first, we will be able to give them more appropriate content and be a step closer to fulfilling their learning objectives. It is good practice not to assume everyone has the same learning objectives, and the same ways of reaching them. Find out what they are before you start teaching them!

2. Prepare
Teachers infamously don't have tons of time at their disposal, and we are used to dong things on the fly, but hopefully doing them well. Prepare well when you can in areas you anticipate might be difficult for the student, such as certain grammar points, a specific English exam preparation, or the meaning of new vocabulary. It is imperative that you appear prepared. If not, you risk the student losing some faith in you, and with this decreases their capability of learning with you.

3. Include
It is 2017, not 1917. Nowadays we know from various areas of research that we learn best when we learn in a collaborative way. It would be wrong to say that 'nobody wants to sit and listen to a teacher talk for an hour', because, in fact, many students do! Whether this is the best way for them to learn is a different matter. Include your students by getting them to write, speak, and to ask and answer lots of open questions. When students are involved, they learn more, and they will have the opportunity to use the language more. By the end of the hour s/he should be more tired than you!

4. Have the Right Attitude
Following on from the previous point, we now know that people learn better when they feel comfortable with their environment. The teacher is key to creating the right environment for learning. The setting is important; if you are giving private lessons then choose appropriately. A good teacher should be, among other things: kind but firm, rigorous, approachable, patient, positive, encouraging, attentive, and a able to make students feel at ease. If you work on creating a good rapport, the hour will fly by and your student will be more open to you and to learning with you.

5. Reflect
Life is busy, as any teacher will confirm. Often, first thing to be sacrificed are the moments of peace when we can step back from what has happened in our day or during a lesson, and reflect on what went well and what didn't go so well. We are teachers but fundamental to being a teacher is continuing to learn every day. To do that we need to make the time to reflect on what we have done, and see where we can improve for next time.

6. Learn
We can learn by reflecting on our actions, and we also learn by seeing what others have done. Continue to grow as a teacher by reading everything and anything (of quality) about ELT. There are lots of great blogs, magazines (online and off), books, and conferences to attend. Teaching can be done well, or badly. If you want to keep growing then you will need to read, listen, and observe to be able to grow each day. There are also some useful and interesting qualifications out there. Consider a DELTA, an MEd, or becoming a examiner for a reputable English exam organisation, like the British council. These will give you a more rounded knowledge, inspire trust in your students, and enable you to be paid more for your services.

7. Enjoy it
Teaching English as a foreign language is a glorious profession. It allows you to be paid to travel the world and interact closely with the people from the countries you visit. The flip side of this is that some people who teach English are doing it for just those reasons, without any interest in developing as an English teacher. If you are going to teach, you should love teaching, otherwise it will be horrid for you and most of all for your students. Life is too short -- do what you love, and if you love teaching, let it show!

We hope this has been useful. If you have any comments, please share them below. Here is a link tosome other great recommendations on how to become a better English teacher, by blogger Lizzie Pinnar



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