Two important myths:
- Anyone who can speak English can teach English. NO!
- A native English speaker is a better teacher than a non-native speaker. NO!
Good training of a language teacher includes:
- Knowing the language. Although this is not enough, it is important! The person needs to be able to use the language for communication in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
- Understanding how the language works. It is important to have some knowledge of the grammar, morphology (the nature of words) and phonology (the nature of sounds) of the English language.
- Understand how people learn languages. This is called “Language Acquisition”. It is a fundamental and very important knowledge for any language teacher.
- Ability to use language learning methodologies. This is the most critical and neglected area. It is this ability that will determine whether students are really prepared to communicate in a new language.
What to observe in the classroom of a good teacher?
- The teacher is adjusting the language level to the proficiency level of the students:
- Students are not frustrated or disconnected because they cannot understand.
- Students are not bored because there is nothing new.
- The teacher engages the students in using the language for real communication:
- The teacher will have students working in pairs and small groups frequently.
- The teacher knows how to use many types of strategies and activities such as TPR, information gap, surveys, interviews and others.
- The teacher is not speaking all the time. Students communicate actively, having voice command most of the time.
- The teacher is developing both fluency and accuracy:
- The teacher knows how to balance these two aspects.
- The students use the language constantly, developing fluency.
- The teacher provides adequate feedback, helping students to improve their accuracy.
If students do not make progress, it is not always the teacher’s fault!
- Time for learning may be insufficient: 1-2 hours per week is too little.
- Schools may not be assessing “progress” properly. Grades may not show the language being acquired.
- Students may be in English classes that do not correspond to their level – it is not the teacher’s fault. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)