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Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Three Pillars of Being a Great Teacher

Arrogant as this may sound, I believe I have identified the three fundamental characteristics, the Three Pillars, if you will, necessary to be a great English teacher. And this after many years of reflection and meditation!

Yes, in retrospect that really does sound a bit over the top. But I still believe it! And it's all based on L-O-V-E folks!

So, let's see what you think, as the Beatles play cheerfully in the background ('All you need is love, love... (English teachers)... love is all you need... love is all you need...')


A LOVE OF LANGUAGEThat surge of deeply-seated geeky-intellectual joy and squirmy satisfaction that comes from discovering a clever new blend like 'guesstimate' or the sudden, searingly understanding that 'smartbook' is not really a new IT milestone but just the latest in a long line of dreamt-up fancy antecedents including smartphones, netbooks, notebooks, mini-notebooks, subnotebooks and laptops (let's not forget the good old laptop!) trying to dupe us into thinking something pretty wicked this way comes...

(you've got to Love Language to be a Great English Teacher)


A LOVE OF TEACHINGA lot of people seem to forget that teaching - the act of helping learners to understand new ideas - is a skill and an art and a passion unto itself, irrespective of the subject being taught. The satisfaction that comes from this interchange, yes, this two-way exchange of ideas and learning, is one of the most wonderful aspects of this noble activity.

(you've got to Love Teaching to be a Great English Teacher)


A LOVE OF PEOPLEIn the end this may be the most important of all the three pillars. In the final analysis, it's all about the atmosphere in the classroom, that tangible static of thoughts and revelations, struggles and enlightenment, buzzing through the air. It's about the very human pleasure to be had from that special, that unique and privileged place where people feel safe and confident enough to try things out, to make mistakes in a positive atmosphere and know their efforts will be recognised and encouraged. It's about human beings interacting together, sharing experiences and supporting each other in their attempts to improve themselves.

(you've got to Love People to be a Great English Teacher)

The LTP Approach

LANGUAGE TEACHING PEOPLEBecause we are People who Teach Language.
Because we are People being Taught through Language.
Because Language Teaches People things.
Because we are Teaching real People through Language.
Because Language is a lubricant.
Because Teaching is a gift.
Because People are precious.

What do you think?
Sab Will is Course Director at TEFL Paris, a TEFL Certificate Teacher Training Centre


Recce 233 Savoie said...

You certainly got something. Teaching/Learning can be digitalized to a certain extent only.

Love is (should remain) human. And so is (should remain as well) teaching. I've often tried to imagine what my trainees could feel during training periods. No machine could do that!

I've already told them - many times - that an instance of teaching/learning has been repeated for hundreds of centuries: babies in mothers'arms have always learnt (unhappily almost always) their native language through their mothers's mouths, through their own ears, and through... mothers' LOVE!

Even if that oral tradition has been repeated many times in an obvious way for centuries, this process was apparently neglected in language-teaching methods for languages were learned through reading and writing only - like latin language.

Because of motherhood/childhood in this process, I think that people are more receptive to oral learning - though visual stimuli are part of it - and I believe that human brains must have been "pre-formatted" to learn this way through "love" if I may put it this way, and speaking/listening.

That's why I do believe you got something there, and language teaching, and above all language learning should undoubtedly remain a human process (that's why I'm olweyz meiking so many mistakes, sorry...)

Happy new year,

and you're right, love is all you/they need!

Have a good day,

Nat said...

Yes indeed, teaching is a question of love, without a minimum of love, you can't interact together, you can't share information in a positive atmosphere, you can't take pleasure in transmitting "your humble knowledge" - you always keep on learning, anyway -, you can't support, help and motivate people.

When teaching my motto is "love, pleasure and humility".

Have a nice day ;-)

Sab Will said...

Thanks Recce, I like your reminder that we all learn our first (and best) language on our mother's knee.

Nat, I also like the importance you place on humbleness - we forget that sometimes.


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