By Dr Norman
No matter which English course or tutoring service you choose, you need to make sure that you get the best English teacher you can. The best English teachers make a real difference to your learning. They are the ones who will help you to reach your goals faster.
Many researchers have looked at the best teachers to find out what makes them so good. Let’s look at 8 top findings.
One important characteristic of the best English teachers is that they have a deep understanding of English. More than that, they know how to use English well. They write well and speak well. This makes them good models for using English. They also know how to teach English. The best English teachers aren’t just good at each one of these: they put them all together.
The best teachers care about your learning, and believe in your abilities. These types of teachers set high standards for you to reach. This has a strong impact on how much you learn. This belief, along with a love of teaching and a caring attitude, results in these teachers organising their lessons, their learning activities and their course in a way that helps you reach these high goals.
The best teachers have well organised courses, and run well organised lessons. They know what you need to learn to become a competent user of English, and they teach you in a clear step by step way. Each part of the lesson is carefully designed to gradually increase your competence and confidence over time, so that you can understand, speak, write and evaluate your own English well.
Every minute in a lesson spent learning is another minute towards reaching your goals. The best teachers know this, and do not waste valuable time. They ensure that each minute of the lesson is spent “on task”, getting lots of learning into each lesson.
The best English teachers know how to teach complex ideas about grammar and vocabulary simply and clearly. Their explanations give you a clear understanding of what to do, how to do it, and why you need to do it this way. Their explanations help you to be able to better understand and construct English on your own.
Whenever you learn a language, you need to see all the different ways in which the same words and grammar are used. This occurs over time with exposure to real English. The best English teachers know this and keep providing you will models or examples of what good extended English looks and sounds like. So they give you opportunities to see, understand and analyse English in extended pieces such as stories, articles and lectures.
The best teachers do more than explain well and show you what to do. They give you lots of opportunities to practise as often as you need. Further, this practise is carefully designed so that you start by practising underlying skills, such as tuning your ear to sounds or using particular vocabulary or grammar, before you use these same skills for extended listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Finally, the best teachers give you useful feedback. Useful feedback helps you to improve and to evaluate your own learning. It gives you the tools to become a successful English user on your own.
So how will you know if you found the best teacher? There are a number of things you can do. First, look at your teacher’s background. Do they have expertise? Have they successfully helped others reach their goals?
Next, do a few sessions with the teacher to see if they do what the best teachers do. This also gives you an opportunity to see if the teacher’s methods and approaches to English suit your style of learning.
When you find a teacher who uses the most effective methods in ways that suit your style of learning, you will be able to trust them and their judgement. They will become the ‘best teacher’ for you. See my blog article on how to choose the right advanced English course for you.
12th February 2016