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5 Characteristics of Successful EFL / ESL Teachers

5 Characteristics of Successful EFL / ESL Teachers

Have you ever worked with an EFL / ESL teacher that made it all look so easy?


Their students were interested, eager to learn, and performed at a high level?


Successful EFL / ESL teachers have these 5 characteristics in common:


1. Excellent Interpersonal Communication Skills

A successful teacher should enjoy people, show enthusiasm and excitement in the classroom, and be positive.


If the teacher is positive, enthusiastic, and teaches with a smile, the energy will spread to the students.


This positive energy can motivate students and make the classroom environment more pleasant.


I think this is especially important when teaching in another country because the students want to get to know their foreign language teacher.



2. An Attitude of Flexibility

A successful teacher should be flexible and open to change when things go differently than planned. The teacher needs to be aware of what is happening in the classroom and make mid-lesson alterations, if necessary.


It is important to not get upset when a lesson goes awry. However, you should try to move the lesson in the direction of accomplishing the outlined goals. 



3. Appropriate Classroom Management

A successful teacher should be well-organized, dependable, and able to effectively manage the classroom. In a well-managed classroom, students know what is expected of them and respond with pre-established procedures throughout the lesson. A properly managed classroom motivates student cooperation and teamwork. 


It is important to spend time at the beginning of the course making a classroom management plan and carefully explaining it to the students in the first few lessons.



4. Meaningful Lessons

A successful teacher should develop lessons that appeal to students’ interests and goals. Students should have the opportunity to use the language in genuine tasks and gain fluency without worry of mistakes. Students are excited to be in a foreign teacher’s class and will respond more positively to meaningful tasks that allow them to “use” the language.


It is best to associate new information with something students already know, and avoid too much grammatical explanation or activities without a clear purpose.



5. Cultural Awareness

A successful EFL / ESL teacher should be sensitive of cultural differences and traditions. Teachers should learn the culture of their students to gain a deeper understanding of their way of thinking and background. It also helps if the teacher tries to learn the language of the students to better understand the culture.


The students are usually more motivated when they know their teacher is making the effort to learn their language and understand their culture. 

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Hi fellow EFL Sensei!

I'm Becki, the Co-Founder and the one who put up all these great speaking activities. We’re here to provide enjoyable lessons for teachers like you! Learn more