5 Skills a Great ESL Teacher Should Possess

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Author Bio: Raymond Bennet is a freelance content writer from Carol City, Florida. He graduated from the University of Miami and started his activity in creative writing.

With growing immigration and opening up of international borders due to globalization, ESL teachers are in high demand. In fact, over the past three decades, the ESL population has grown threefold, with approximately 10 percent of students using English as a second language. Moreover, the ESL student population is the fastest growing in the United States, growing by almost 60% in the past 10 years. While the number of ESL students, has grown considerably over the past three decades, the numbers of competent ESL teachers have not grown commensurately to meet this growing demand. In this article, we consider the key skills and ESL-specific qualifications needed to effectively instruct ESL students. Here are the main Skills you need to be considered a great ESL teacher.

An Understanding of the Cultural Background of Students

Cultural awareness is another important attribute a great ESL teacher. It is important for an ESL teacher to have an understanding of the various native cultures of the students. Not only is this critical for cultural sensitivity, which makes the teacher a more effective instructor, but it is also important to help the teacher connect with students and show empathy.

While it may not be feasible to understand all the detailed elements of all the cultures of your students, some understanding of the basic components of those cultures can help you understand the behavior of students, and to communicate better. Teachers who understand and accept the cultural differences helps students feel accepted by the school environment. Try to actively seek information about the cultures of students and be open and non-judgmental when asking about cultural issues.

Understanding the Individual Needs of Students

Understanding the individual student needs is a critical element for effective teaching in all classrooms. For ESL teachers, pay no attention to reports that erroneously portray ESL students as a new and homogenous student population. In reality, English language learners are a highly complex and heterogeneous student population, possessing diverse goals, gifts, educational needs, and languages. While some ESL students come from homes where, no English is spoken, others have been exposed to several languages.

Effective student centered learning requires the teacher to assess and understand the student’s individual language proficiency and educational history, as well as other learning needs. From such an understanding, the teacher can then design the lessons to individually focus on the functional linguistic abilities of students in such areas as reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Competent Training in Second Language Education Approaches and Techniques

Quality education and training is needed for teachers of all classrooms. However, for those teaching linguistically and culturally diverse student populations, training on second language education techniques is critical. It is important that instruction for such teachers be ongoing, and ought to be provided in different learning formats, from one-time in-service education to short workshops and online classes.

By actively pursuing ongoing training and education, ESL teachers get to learn new evidence based knowledge and approaches for teaching their students. An important area of this knowledge relates to assessment of ESL students. Sufficient assessment of ESL students will comprise multiple measures to distinguish between literacy skills, content knowledge, cultural background, and language acquisition. In summary, ESL student assessment ought to:

  • Facilitate metacognition with self-assessment

  • Offer formative assessment during the process of learning

  • Dispense summative assessment for data collection on ESL students

  • Evaluate content knowledge

Flexibility and an Engaging Personality

It is important to reiterate that teaching students with limited English proficiency, as with other forms of language learning, require intrinsic motivation on the part of the learner. A great ESL teacher understands how to keep students engaged through different learning approaches and tools. In addition, a good ESL teacher is one who enjoys interacting with students, and is enthusiastic in the classroom. The energy and enthusiasm will then be spread to the students, and will improve learning.

In terms of flexibility, teachers must understand that every class and student has a unique dynamic. While it is important for the teacher to prepare and plan for a lesson well before the class, flexibility should be applied to ensure that all students are actually learning the content, being flexible allows ESL teachers to adapt their instruction whenever things do not flow as planned.

Readiness to Connect with Communities

Competent ESL teachers ought to have the desire to and the competence for engaging with local communities. ESL students live in communities that influence their learning, and teachers must be able to connect with those communities. The implication here is that, being an ESL teacher, a time will come when you will learn about the various challenges your students go through. Being an exceptional ESL teacher must take the time to assist their students navigate the day-to-day challenges that affect their learning or refer them to people that can offer appropriate help. Good teachers are also often involved in community events of their students and the students’ families such as cultural holidays and church dinners.

With these skills, ESL teachers can competently ensure the holistic learning of their students. As previously indicated, teachers also need to continually improve their skills and knowledge. Part of this improvement may require getting expert assistance with writing proposals, coursework papers, and lesson plans. This is where assistance from coursework writing service will be handy. Most importantly, be flexible and prioritize the student.

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