Who makes a good English teacher?

Photo from Creative Commons user: United Nations Photo

Photo from Creative Commons user: United Nations Photo

This is part of a series of short posts framing adult English language learning experiences for volunteers at a local English class in my city. 

Knowing that English is a global language impacts who counts as a good English teacher. In 2014 the president of the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) international association said that there is now more understanding that a good English teacher is someone who is good at teaching, understands language and has good cross-cultural skills “regardless of their first language background.” Other researchers have noted that knowing more than one language can actually make you more aware of language learning processes, which can help your teaching rather than hurting it, and that being an insider of a community of English language learners can make you more aware of their particular challenges and aspirations – also adding to your ability to teach. This doesn't mean that if you are a native speaker of English that you are not a good teacher – but what it does mean is that we should feel happy to know that regardless of our cultural and linguistic backgrounds we can all bring something important to the table in interacting with our students and teaching English.

To read more check out these: Canagarajah, A. S. (1999). Interrogating the “native speaker fallacy”: Non-linguistic roots, non-pedagogical results. Non-native educators in English language teaching7792.

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