Taiwan: What is a good English teacher?

Francis Hult francis.hult at UTSA.EDU
Wed Oct 17 01:55:55 UTC 2007

Taipei Times


What is a good English teacher? 


Several readers have written the Taipei Times to say that one of the ubiquitous problems in the nation's education system is incompetent English teachers (Letters, Aug. 16, page 8). 


But what makes a "good" English teacher? Can teachers with a competent level of English skills be considered good English teachers? 


A list of attributes of a good teacher of English as a second language (ESL) would be very subjective. With that in mind, I would like to discuss the characteristics of a good English teacher based on my own research and experience. 


There are two common misconceptions about English teaching. First, a professor with a doctorate is not necessarily a good English teacher. 

Second, a native speaker of English is not automatically an effective teacher. If fluency were the most important variable in language instruction, a native-speaker -- especially one with a doctorate -- would undoubtedly be superior to those who are not native-speakers. 


I have found this logic questionable. I have been taught English by native as well as non-native speakers, with doctorates in literature, linguistics or ESL, who were disappointingly ineffective and unprofessional. 


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