What are the characteristics of excellent or unsuccessful L2 (second language) teachers?


I guess this one could get personal because you are probably a teacher of language learners or work with teachers of language learners.  But, the question is a good one.  I'd like to know if I may have some of the characteristics of an excellent language educator and, although it might be painful, I'd like to know if I have some of the traits that may be hindering my student's learning.  So, here we go...

Dixon et al. (March 2012) report that the following teacher characteristics may help you be more successful in affecting student outcomes:

  • an adequate proficiency in the target language, including higher-level vocabulary (e.g. English if you are teaching English; Spanish if you are teaching Spanish, etc.);
  • greater metalinguistic knowledge in the target language (e.g. In English, their and there sound the same but mean different things);
  • the desire to teach well (e.g. believing that you are capable of teaching well, being intellectually excited about the teaching task, and reflecting on your teaching to improve it);
  • instruction is organized and your students know what is expected of them;
  • having at least some proficiency in your student's native language and using it thoughtfully.

 Now, time to reflect and improve - just as we always tell our students to do!

Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen
Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen


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