Teach English in Liangcha Zhen - Huai'an Shi

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I think we can all recall a time when we felt inspired, motivated and uplifted by a teacher. In my case, this wasn’t as a result of the teacher ‘knowing it all’, but because the teacher portrayed characteristics and qualities that made them unique and personable. In addition to teaching content, teachers have the ability to develop their students on a much more personal level. What attributes and qualities make effective English teachers? Although there are myriad personal qualities that are important for English teachers, I will focus on three particular qualities: enthusiasm, creativity and patience. A teacher who portrays enthusiasm and excitement in their role can motivate a student immensely. A study conducted by Keller, Goetz, Becker, Morger and Hensley says that ‘dispositional teacher enthusiasm’ is directly associated with the student’s interest in the subject. Over the years, research has delved into the impact of teacher enthusiasm and the impact it has on the student’s learning experiences and outcomes. Just like any teacher, an English teacher has the ability to lift the motivation of their students through their enthusiastic energy, making learning English fun and exciting. When a teacher loves their job, it’s obvious in their mannerisms and attitude and can definitely make or break the experience for their students. In a study undertaken by Johnson & LaBelle (2017), authenticity seems to matter to students, and this includes the emotional authenticity (Zembylas, 2002). Authenticity directly correlates with enthusiasm, as people can sense when someone’s verbal words do not meet their actions. A teacher who shows passion and genuine interest in their role can spark student interest and desire to learn, as they’re engaged with the content and in tune with the teacher. What is a creative teacher? ‘Creativity’ is subjective and the meaning can differ from person to person. However, creativity is an important quality for an English teacher. The question of how teaches are going to engage their students in learning remains omnipresent. When teachers are creative, they are able to develop and adjust lesson plans to meet the learning preferences of their students. Creative teachers are able to take risks, are open-minded and develop innovative teaching strategies (Cox, J), which can be helpful to reach and influence individual learners. Teachers who are creative are able to think outside of the box and are able to test ideas without being scared of failure. Coming up with unique and engaging ideas doesn’t need to derive directly from the teacher but the teacher can draw upon different resources to make the class fun, interactive, and engaging. Every student learns differently and the same teaching techniques do not work for everyone. Therefore, according to Janelle Cox, a creative teacher can help a student understand something by demonstrating the theory either visually, kinesthetically, and/or linguistically. Another important quality of an English teacher is patience. English teachers have an additional challenge when it comes to teaching as they are the teacher often doesn’t speak the same language as the students. This poses additional challenges, yet a teacher with patience shows their students that they are willing to let the students go at their own pace and are willing to support them throughout their journey. Every student learns at different pace and a patient teacher will acknowledge this and allow the student to feel comfortable with their progress. Teachers who can adopt a strength-based approach towards individual students maximises the opportunity for student growth. According to Aaron Charles, isolating the ‘good qualities in each student and recognising their strengths will further aid patience’. Patience can be difficult to practice when working with a challenging student, but being flexible and understanding is extremely important when it comes to effectively working with students. This is not to say that teachers aren’t allowed to make tough decisions or be unsatisfied with a students behaviour, but it’s about identifying where the behaviour comes from and attempting to tackle this issue with positive reinforcement and guidance. To conclude, teachers play a significant and fundamental role in the development of their students. In addition to having the ability to educate, teachers who portray qualities such as enthusiasm, creativity and patience become much more personable and relatable to students than those who don’t portray these qualities. TEFL teachers have the ability to affect and shape a person’s life beyond just teaching English, and the personal attributes of a teacher can truly make them unique. References Aaron Charles, How to be a Good Teacher, Keller, M. M., Goetz, T., Becker, E., Morger, V., & Hensley, L. (2014). Feeling and showing: a new conceptualization of dispositional teacher enthusiasm and its relation to students’ interest. Learning and Instruction, 33, 29–38. doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2014.03.001. Cox, Janelle, The Teaching Strategies of Creative Teachers,, Johnson, Z. D., LaBelle, S. (2017). An examination of teacher authenticity in the college classroom. Communication Education, 13, 1–17. doi:10.1080/03634523.2017.1324167 Zembylas, M. (2002). Constructing genealogies of teachers’ emotions in science teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(1), 79–103.