What Makes a Good English Teacher?

Here at Select English, we like to think we know a thing or two about what makes a good English teacher! All of our teachers are highly qualified (holding a CELTA or Trinity Certificate as a minimum requirement, while many of our core teaching team also hold the DELTA). But qualifications are not the only markers of a great teacher. We asked our Assistant Director of Studies, Jo, for her opinion on how to be a good English teacher.

Select English's ADOS gives advice on how to be a good teacher

Select English Assistant Director of Studies, Jo

Maintaining student engagement

A good English teacher knows that students who are engaged and ready to learn are those who will improve the most. So how do we keep our students interested in their lessons?

  • Making sure the lessons are learner-centred and students are active in lessons, to keep them engaged and also because people learn better by doing things.
  • Helping students set goals and explaining why particular class activities are useful, so that students understand how the lesson content relates to their goals. They will be more enthusiastic if they understand how the lessons are helping them.
  • Using a variety of materials and activities to personalise lessons; teachers should get to know the interests, needs and goals of the students and plan lessons that relate to those.
  • Teachers should listen to what the students want, but also make sure students are aware of what their own needs and goals are and how to achieve them. For example, most of our students want to get a high IELTS score, but aren’t always aware of how to do so, or that General English classes are important as well as IELTS classes. We help them to understand that improving their General English knowledge will lead to a better IELTS score, while also teaching them the specific skills required for the exam.

Equipping students with study skills

Teaching vocabulary and grammar are important, but to be a truly good English teacher, you must also instruct your students in how to learn. We do this in the following ways:

  • Helping students to become independent learners, by giving them the necessary study skills to be able to use and practice their English independently.
  • Focusing on all skill areas (reading, writing, speaking, listening) as well grammar and vocabulary, so students develop across the board.
  • In exam focused classes, making sure students are aware of the content of the exam and different task types and ensuring that students have practice in all of these.

Giving and receiving feedback

We can only improve if we understand the areas in which we perform well and those in which we’re struggling – and this applies to teachers as well as students!

  • A good English teacher gives their students constructive feedback and helps them to learn from it.
  • Getting regular feedback from students is also important, so teachers are aware of how students perceive lessons and to make sure they are happy. We do this with structured weekly tutorials and through informal conversations with students.

Continuing professional development

Many of the teachers at Select English are highly experienced and have taught English in a variety of different countries and contexts. However, we understand that it is essential for our staff to continue learning and improving every day, so we have an excellent Continuing Professional Development programme for teachers.

  • The best teachers are those who are focussed on their development, so we encourage our teachers to attend workshops and training days alongside the training we provide in-house.
  • Our teachers enjoy working in a strong team, supporting each other and sharing ideas.

What do you think makes a good English teacher? Let us know in the comments.

If you would like to be taught by our brilliant teachers, click here to enrol!