What makes a good ESL teacher?

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What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby Kaibigan » 17 Apr 2012, 19:32

Student or teacher, what do you think the competencies of a GOOD ESL teacher are? What qualities makes this person the right person to teach ESL in Taiwan? I am curious to find out how you feel about this.
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby jimipresley » 17 Apr 2012, 19:41

There's very little ESL taught in Taiwan. It's almost exclusively EFL.
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Re: What makes a good ESL/EFL teacher?

Postby Kaibigan » 17 Apr 2012, 19:52

You are right. Let's put it broader: What makes a foreign teacher a good teacher in Taiwan?
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby ironlady » 17 Apr 2012, 20:42

You mean "good" from the perspective of succeeding within the existing framework of Engrish instruction in Taiwan, or "good" in the sense of taking people who have little English and making them fluent and literate?
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby Kaibigan » 17 Apr 2012, 21:01

I mean 'good' in the meaning of
taking people who have little English and making them fluent and literate
. Do you feel the first group are indeed good teachers?
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby creztor » 17 Apr 2012, 22:04

One that keeps students/parents enrolled and paying fees and does what the boss says. This is by far the best teacher of any kind.
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby TheGingerMan » 17 Apr 2012, 22:49

A good teacher is one that maintains (by any means necessary) the attention and interest of the students upon the subject at hand, no matter how degrading the system or dull the curriculum.
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby cfimages » 17 Apr 2012, 23:08

One who's good with a sticky ball. :D
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby ironlady » 18 Apr 2012, 05:20

TheGingerMan wrote:A good teacher is one that maintains (by any means necessary) the attention and interest of the students upon the subject at hand, no matter how degrading the system or dull the curriculum.


Assuming there are results. Just keeping students sitting in rapt attention in a classroom, but with them getting nothing out of it in the way of lasting or usable skills, does not count IMO.*

*in the real world, I mean. In Taiwan, YMMV.
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby housecat » 18 Apr 2012, 07:19

By your preferred definition, there may be very few "good" foreign teachers in Taiwan. Ask your boss what a good teacher is to him/her. Really.

People want different things in difference circumstances. It's relatively easy to know if you're a good plumber. Basically, people want water to flow into and out of their homes in a clean and sanitary way. If you've fixed their broken pipes, or fixed their flooded toilet, and especially if you've done so in a charming manner that puts people at ease, and without showing too much crack, you're a good plumber.

It's never that way with teaching. Here, some actually want to learn. Some bosses actually care how, what, and if, you teach. They care about your own sense of efficacy. But they're RARE as hen's teeth. Mostly, they want someone, as stated earlier, who is a good enough entertainer that kids/adults will want to keep paying for spending class time with you.

Even public schools here are the same. I worked for one which was, by all accounts, a very good one, and who's interview process was very tedious. But what they wanted was that each kid (about 40 usually) in a forty minutes class should speak English as much as possible. THEY DID NOT EXPECT THEM TO GAIN ANY KNOWLEDGE WHATSOEVER ABOUT ENGLISH OR ANYTHING ELSE. Really. Just make every kid say as much as possible in English. We know they won't learn anything. :s

Back "home," it's the same. The story is still that effective teachers are wanted and needed, but the definition of "effective" has changed. It used to be that teachers in the States were supposed to teach you how to read, how to learn, how to think for yourself so that you could figure out your curriculum and make better life choices when you left school.

Now, we're supposed to produce results on a standardized test. This is where the money is, and this is all that matters. The kids don't. It does NOT matter that the people taking the test may have no personal stake in the outcome, may have been up all night, may be hungry, may be stressed out, may just have transferred into the district, may have an IQ of less than 80, may not speak the language of the test, almost positively don't give toss, are bored by the entire process, are thinking of what's for lunch---whatever! Many districts, even entire states, are publishing a teacher's class average test results in newspapers and on the nightly news.

Parents can ask to have a child moved to a different teacher's class, in some districts, if the average isn't high enough. Raises can be withheld from low scoring teachers, schools and districts that don't perform lose money, and can be taken over completely by outside managers. Teachers lose jobs, are publicly humiliated, and scapegoated for the entire fiasco. So . . . guess how much quality instruction usually goes on in a typical classroom? So what is a good teacher?

That's right. And my own, personal, problem is that I just care too much. But what are you gonna do?
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