Characteristics of effective teachers

Antar Abdellah
 Whatever
do in this world,
do it as no other
one dead, or
living or yet to
be born can do it
any better.
learning environment
If you don't have a clear lesson-plan down
on paper, then make sure you have a
mental one. You should know about how
long each activity will take and have an
additional activity prepared in case you
have extra time
Different students have different needs, so do
not assume that one activity can work for all
 If you teach for a group of engineers, their
needs are quite different from those of Islamic
preachers for example.
 Cater for your students’ needs more than you do
for the contents of the book.
If the lesson you have prepared just isn't
working, don't be afraid to scrap it or
modify it. Be sensitive to the students’
needs and reactions.
This includes pronunciation, syntax, and
sociolinguistic areas. You don't have to be
a linguist to teach EFL--most of what you
need to know can be learned from reading
the students' textbooks.
 The
 You
book is just a guide.
are the master of the class,
and the book is there to serve
 Do not be a slave to the book,
rather keep being a master.
The building blocks of language are not
grammar and functions. The most
essential thing students need to learn is
vocabulary; without vocabulary you have
no words to form syntax, no words to
pronounce. Help your students to become
vocabulary hungry.
Remember: the 4 language skills are
NOT just reading, listening, speaking
and writing.
They are:
Reading Comprehension,
Writing Composition
Listening Comprehension AND
Speaking Expression
Many familiar teaching points can be
turned into games, or activities with a
competitive angle. A sure way to motivate
students and liven up your classroom.
By giving a variety of interesting topics
and activities, students will be more
motivated and interested, and they are
likely to practice more. With more on-task
time they will improve more rapidly.
Explain exactly what they are expected to
learn in a particular lesson. Make sure
that students know what they are doing
and why. The lessons should be
transparent to the students, with a clear
You don't have to be an actor or clown,
but students appreciate it when the
teacher shows genuine interest in
Make it a habit to get the students to
laugh at least once per lesson.
This is extremely hard to avoid, especially
when a student is more outgoing or
interesting than others. Nevertheless, try
to call on and attend to students as
equally as you can.
Move about the classroom. At times sit
with groups and monitor, as well as joining
in on the communication. At times walk
about, listen and observe.
Demonstrate rather than explaining
whenever possible.
If the students can't hear you, you are
wasting your breath. Not as bad, but still
annoying is the teacher who thinks s/he
must speak louder to be comprehended.
Research has already proven this to be
Depending on the subject, you should be
talking from about 5% to 30% of the
lesson. For speaking or writing, more than
10-15% would probably be too much.
Most lessons should be student-centered,
not teacher-centered.
Language learning is not about
intelligence; the important thing to stress
is that the students are improving.
If you do, you will lose hard-won respect. Even if
you have to go so far as to leave the classroom,
do it in a controlled manner, explaining to the
class or student why you are unhappy with
Teach first and then test; don't test
things that haven't been taught. Also,
remember that the main purpose of
language is communication.
Teacher correction
Errors or mistakes,
Global errors or minor ones!
Think about your own teaching. After each
lesson is over take some time to reflect. Was
the lesson effective? What were the good and
bad points? How could it be improved?
Sheen, Ron. (1994). "A Critical Analysis of the Advocacy
of the Task-Based Syllabus," TESOL Quarterly 28 (1):
Websites for learning English: