Accent's Way Magazine

#157

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What makes a good ENGLISH TEACHER

Is your English teacher good for you? Ask yourself these 5 questions and you will know what makes a good English teacher.

I took piano lessons from the age of 7 to 17.
10 years of piano lessons.

And yet, If you asked me to play something now, I wouldn’t be able to do it.
(OK, I lied. Maybe ONE Sonata by Chopin)

Why?
Because I didn’t have a good enough teacher.
She was sweet and kind, but she never gave me what I needed.
She never pushed me to do better,
she never inspired me,
she never gave me a hard time for not practicing.

She did everything a piano teacher should do,
But it just wasn’t good enough.

And looking back, I think of where I could have been today with all this time and money spent, having had the right teacher.

HOW IS THAT RELATED TO ENGLISH?

So many people settle for mediocre English teaching because it’s comfortable and they don’t believe they can find something better.
They stay because it’s close to home, it’s familiar, it’s cheap, they feel bad leaving, it doesn’t require them to do any research, or it simply allows them to stay in their comfort zone.

Have YOU ever taken English classes with a teacher but still felt STUCK?
Are you learning English and wondering how you can improve your training?
Are you an English teacher looking to take your teaching to the next level?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this episode is a must-watch for you:

TRANSCRIPT

Hey there. It’s Hadar, and this is the Accent’s Way. And this is the place for you if you are a non-native speaker of English who is looking to feel confident, clear, and proud when speaking English.

Now, have you ever taken private lessons with a tutor or an English teacher or even group classes, and you weren’t sure if this is the right teacher for you? Have you ever wondered whether or not you’re just wasting your time or actually seeing progress? So, this episode is about how to know if you are learning with the right teacher for you, and if you are getting the best out of your training. So let’s get started. The first thing you need to ask yourself, is what is the emotion that you’re experiencing once the class has ended.

Do you feel this bubbly excitement of success and improvement? Do you feel defeated and challenged, but you have clarity, you know what you need to work on? Do you feel tired, but happy?

Do you feel good about yourself? Or do you feel like a failure? Do you beat yourself up? Do you feel like you’ll never be able to get it? Do you feel self-conscious? Are you ashamed? A good teacher will never let you feel bad about yourself. Because a good teacher will always empower you, make you feel great about yourself; show your strengths, but also your weaknesses with a clear strategy on how to improve that. They will not keep you confused or stuck or feeling self-conscious, and feeling like a failure.

You know, I was once talking to a teacher that used to teach at this really big language school. And he said that the management had asked them to understand what the biggest struggles of their students are, and then to accentuate them, make them a big deal. Instead of helping them resolve it.

Why? Because it was their marketing strategy. It kept them in the school. It kept them taking more and more and more classes. But it’s a horrible strategy, if you ask me. But unfortunately, people do that. So you, as an English learner, you need to understand what it is that you’re experiencing. And if these are negative feelings, then something is wrong. Because this is not how it’s supposed to be.

Another thing you need to ask yourself is who does most of the talking. If you find yourself just sitting there and listening to the teacher talk about English and about things and about rules, and explaining all of these things to you, and you find yourself not speaking as much – it’s a problem. Because you need to do most of the speaking: with feedback, with guidance, with direction. But you need to do most of the speaking.

So if you find yourself mostly listening and reading, or writing, then you might be missing out on a better opportunity to practice. Because if you’re learning just passively, constantly, it’s just like watching a YouTube video. You want to put it to practice right away and as much as possible. So this is something, by the way, that you can tell your teacher that you want to do. You can say, “Hey, I feel like I’m not Speaking enough. Let’s try a session where we just talk about things that bother me, a few subjects. Maybe read an article and then talk about it. But I want to do most of the talking, and you just give me feedback”.

Now, of course, when you go into a lesson, it’s easier to just sit down and listen, and be less active. But you got to catch yourself because if that’s a situation you’re wasting your time and money, right? So although it’s easier and more convenient, you got to step out of your comfort zone, you got to feel uncomfortable. You got to push yourself, and you got to stand your ground and say what you need, and communicate it clearly to your teacher.

The third thing you need to ask yourself is, are you both aligned with what is the best way for you to learn? What is the best content to discuss, what is the best way for you to get feedback? Some people prefer to get feedback right away, every time they mistake on every single thing. Others prefer to get feedback only on the important things. And some may prefer to get feedback only at the end, so they don’t lose their train of thought as they’re trying to speak.

You need to understand what works best for you, and you need to communicate that to your teacher. Because some teachers are sometimes teaching because that’s what they think is best. And if someone tells you, “No-no, I know what’s best for you, you listen to me”, and that person is not empathetic or is sensitive to your needs.

Same thing with content. If your teacher teaches you things that are not interesting to you, or you feel you’ll never use, then you need to say, “Hey. This doesn’t work for me. Let’s try something else. I want to talk about this, and I need to talk about that. And this is my world of content. This is where I come from. I want to discuss technology, and negotiations, and practice small talk. And I don’t want so much to talk about hypothetical situations of Martha and Arthur at the zoo.”

Understand that even if you are with the same teacher, there isn’t just one method of teaching English. And you need to see if something’s working for you. Is it getting your results? Do you understand it? Do you pick it up quickly? If not, there is a problem with a method, not with you. Okay? It’s not you that is the problem. Maybe it’s the method, maybe it’s the energy, maybe it’s how you feel.

Because when you feel self-conscious the brain shuts down and you don’t learn anything new. But when you feel empowered and open and challenged in a good way, then you are open to change. In order for you to learn something deeply, in order for it to stick, you need to associate good emotion as you’re learning. And if the feeling is of frustration and fear, then it’s not gonna stick. Okay? So you need to be aware of that and change whatever needs to change in order for you to create the best circumstances for yourself.

The fourth thing is, do you know your 20% percent? According to the Pareto principle, 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. So, if we look at the business world, for example, then we can say that 20% of the products lead to the 80% of the revenue. Or 20% of the clients are responsible for 80% of the income.

So in English, it’s very much the same thing. If you work on the areas where you struggle with, okay, whether it’s specific grammar rules or specific sounds, or an element of fluency. If you work on that and just on that, it will get you 80% of the results of where you want to be. So, you need to know what are the things that will get you the best results. And your teacher needs to recognize those things and tell you, communicate to you what they are.

So, whether or not you need to work on your present tense, because everything else is great, but you always get stuck when you try to speak in the present tense. And what do you need to do in order to improve that? Or let’s say that in terms of clarity, you have all these things in your speech, but you don’t need to work on all the sounds. It’s enough that you work on the R and on your rhythm, and it will give you a huge boost to your clarity.

So your job is to know what your 20% is. What are the things that you still struggle with? But if you resolve them, it will kind of like open up the gates to fluency, and you will feel a lot more fluent, you’ll get stuck less, and you’ll be a lot clearer, and focus just on that. And you two need to do that together.

So, if that hasn’t been communicated to you just yet, then you need to ask your teacher to tell you what those things are. And ask your teacher to focus on those things, as you’re learning. But if they don’t know, and they start giving you all of these things; and every time they give you feedback, they give you a lot of notes about everything and you feel overwhelmed and confused, then there’s a problem. Even when you get feedback, the feedback should be the 20% the things that will get you the best results. Because you don’t need to start correcting every single thing. It will be super inhibiting and almost impossible to grow from there.

The last thing is, do you feel intellectually challenged? Do you feel that your teacher sees you as a peer, as a person who can conduct a conversation, an intelligent conversation with this language barrier? Yes, with less vocabulary, but still, the content is engaging and interesting. If you feel that they’re speaking to you like a little kid, it will make you feel like a little kid.

So you need to feel that your intelligence is not compromised. You need to be able to talk about deep things. Even if it’s not perfect, even if you make mistakes, and even if you’re lacking the vocabulary. Your teacher is there to help you. Right? But you don’t need to feel like you are only talking about stupid things just because it’s an English class. No, that’s the wrong direction. And of course you can tell your teacher that, and change that. Take charge of your training. Okay?

So, to conclude, you have to be responsible for the time that you’re investing. Don’t leave all responsibility to the teacher. Sometimes they don’t know what they’re doing. Sometimes they think that they’re doing the best thing for you, when in fact it’s not. And it’s like in a relationship, right? If you’re not gonna speak up, nothing will change. And then at the end you will quit and everyone loses, okay? You lose time and money, and they lose an opportunity to really help someone. Okay?

So communicate your needs, understand your needs. Understand what is not working for you, and then change. it. So to conclude, I want you to take action and answer these two questions in the comments below. The first thing is, tell us about one really good experience with a teacher, and one not so good experience with a teacher; and why that happened, and what did you do about it?

The second thing is, what to your opinion makes a good teacher, right? What are you looking for in a good teacher? So, I named my five things. I’m really curious to hear what are the things that you are looking for in a good teacher. So just so you know, you don’t really have to take private lessons or group classes in order to improve your English. You can do that on your own.

And if you want to do it watching YouTube videos and using online resources, I’d be happy to help you. So don’t forget to subscribe and hit the bell to get notifications. And you can also visit my website to get a lot of free stuff, free courses, and really feel the improvement, improve significantly.

Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.

After watching the video, join the discussion below the video and answer these two questions:
Share one good and/or bad experience you’ve had with a teacher
What, in your opinion, makes a good teacher?

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17 Responses

  1. I have a lot of good different experience with the Academic Teachers back then in Kinder to College.
    I could say that in life, Experience is my best Teacher. Also, people around me is to be considered
    as a Teacher, because the only thing I know is that I can learn from them.

    In my opinion a good teacher is being a good role model, not selfish and I think not choosy or having
    a favoritism. I always look for a simple, funny energetic, down to earth and approachable Teacher,
    who will also remember his or her student. Pretty sure It is never way too easy to be a Teacher however
    that Interactions is pretty more important.

  2. All my experience of learning English was good. That’s because I had only one school teacher that was the best for me!
    A good teacher is an inspiring and motivating teacher. He’s a good listener and always ahead of the curve in terms of teaching!

  3. Hello Hadar 😉

    I always see to my teachers like a profesional people, and they give everything for us (sometimes :P), so some aspects that I think they would always have to be a good teacher some:
    1. They should be a joy to teach us
    2. To be professional in the way of teach
    3. Don’t be cruel or bad whit the students
    4. To create many ways of teaching (visual, games, computer, etc.)

    I’ve had a bad experience in the Highschool with a teacher, well almost, because I remember that she always came to the classroom and just asked us to open our books an read a lesson and then we have to answer in another book, but never we had a strong communication with the teacher, how was the lesson or if we understood, nope, nothing, but thanks to that I joined a club of English, out of the school, because I really wanted to understand English. I know it that have a long road still but I never give up.

    Thank You Hadar

  4. Dear Hadar !
    Thank you again so much for accepting me as a visitor. Having my health handicaps, that is the only possibility for me to participate in your group.

    Over my 84 years I have had several foreign language teachers (in German, in French and first of all in English). I think they were mostly quite good. The best ones of them, I think had a teaching style very similar to the yours one (I guess I can judge it from the many of yours videos I have seen). I try to list of the character and style marks just as come to my mind without a deep study:

    1. To be professional.
    2. To support the student’s self-confidence.
    3. To show that the foreign language is beautiful (as any languages people use) and it’s an entertainment to study it not a boring obligation. (Including to study the accent.)
    4. to be a “partner” in this “entertainment”, not a peevish, rigorous “teacher”.
    5. to make the teaching-learning relationship to be a kind of human one (a kind of friendship ?). -particularly when the student has developed to the level of expressing own ideas.
    My recent “English teacher” here in Hungary e.g. (a UK citizen from London with master degree in English teaching) is a good friend of mine. I’m sure our discussions (twice per week) are useful particularly because of that.

  5. Hi Hadar,
    I often watch your videos and learn they have helped me a lot. In my country I only studied English in Junior High School. I had this class only once a week and the class was basic and superficial. I Always wanted to speak English, but I didn’t have this opportunity before. Well, today I need to speak English in my life. I’m going to English classes twice a week, my teacher is amazing, she tries to make the best for each student, but it is hard, because in my class we have different levels of students and people constantly talking when teacher is talking. For me a good teacher is one who gives support, positive, creative, encourage and push us for not to give up. I understand my clients well and I speak with them, but I don’t speak fluently, but I believe everything is possible when you believe.
    Thank you.

    1. Hey Jane! Thank you for your comment. Fluency is something that comes with time and practice. The more (longer period) you practice the better you become)

  6. Hello everyone! Great video!
    From my experience, when I was first beginning this journey of learning my second language (English ) I was so scared and nervous, this was a whole new world that I was beginning to explore now, looking back to those first days and first teachers, I can say that I was blessed to have lovely and encouraging ladies that pushed me to speak up and do better. In my opinion, what makes a good teacher; is a teacher that pushes you to do better and to discover what your strengths and abilities are. Also, that can make you feel good no matter at what level you may be starting. The sky is the limit! Those were the words I heard from my first English teachers.

  7. I am writing this from the perspective of a volunteer helping in English classes and as a mature adult (in my 60s) learning Spanish. When I help in English classes or take language classes, I’ve noticed that some teachers do not vary their teaching methods even when the students are struggling. I also helped at a school that was funded by grants and the grants required regular testing and progress on the tests. So sometimes the teachers focused on what would help the students pass the test rather than what the students wanted to learn. Frustrating for everyone.

    The teachers that I enjoy bring in culture and interesting topics. Even in very beginning classes for refugees they find ways for their students to tell them about their lives. I attend a group that is reading a Mexican novel and translating as we go. Very challenging but so much more interesting than watered down reading for beginners. Some days we only get through 4 pages in the hour but we get practice at pronounciation, we help each other with difficult passages and talk about the Mexican history and culture of the novel’s setting as well as the style of the writer.

    Thanks for your insights on English language learning. I hope that it can help me be a better tutor.

    1. Hey Christine, thank you for sharing your experience! Yes, you know, I think that test’s system really encourage students not to learn but learn how to pass the test which is sad ((

  8. Dear Hadar,
    Appreciated the way you explain the lessons. Since your page is accent’s way and my surname is aksan (accent) it sounds good 🙂 I will start to check more your web page starting next week.
    See you. Bye.

    1. Hey Yuksel, thank you for your comment! Such a pleasure to know that you find Hadar’s lessons helpful. Welcome to our global community of English learners))

  9. Good evening everyone,
    And thanks to Hadar another fantastic video of her.
    I started my English “journey” on last December from zero and I have to take some basic lesson.
    Since January to March I have employed 30% of my time on lessons and the rest with self taught. However, fifteen basic classes with an ancient, old way to teach English didn’t do much for me. “Cold” grammar rules a lot (I know perfectly the importance of grammar but if those keep without practical meaning they become a big problem); I saw big difficulties for improving: no conversation (obviously, because I was absolute beginner), bad listening capacity…in other words I was support on my will only.
    From March I noticed that existed different and much modern way to learn a new language (Accent’s Way is a very good tool for that!).
    I think the meaning Hadar’s way is to try a sort of reasoned full immersion, although “remotely”.
    Anyway I need guidance for this immersion, for good practicing, for, finally, improve all necessary skills.
    I believe this is a great journey but as with every big journey we need huge, amazing driving and accomplice too.
    Thanks to Hadar.

    1. Hey Giovanni, wow! Thank you so much for telling us about your English journey with us! Speaking is an important part of language fluency. In other words, the more you speak the better you become. We’re happy enough to have a wonderful online community founded by Hadar. Have a look at this video https://youtu.be/B6FWkGpPUQw and then decide if you want to join us)

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