From Good to Great: 15 Skills English Teachers Should Perfect

Last Updated: on April 7, 2024 by The Language House

Everyone wants to be an effective teacher, but how does one truly become great in the classroom? Watch the videos below to find out!

Hey! It’s Chris from The Language House. As a teacher trainer for 20 years, I’ve trained over 3000 new English teachers on our TEFL certification course in Prague. When most people think about improving their teaching, they usually focus on the academics: reading books, writing papers, defending a thesis, attending workshops, getting more credentialed…etc.  While these pursuits are certainly helpful (and needed), in reality, it is your teaching skills (and how you execute them) that will make you great.

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Great teachers are skilled (not just educated)

From my experience training new English teachers, I’ve seen brand new teachers absolutely crush their first lessons with performances that would make seasoned professionals envious. How is this possible? Wouldn’t someone with years of education and a decade of experience simply be ‘better’ than a teacher who was just starting? Not necessarily.

Teaching (especially teaching a language) is all about your execution. In the same day, I can teach a lesson that goes amazingly well, and I can teach one that is simply dreadful. Some of this will be determined by my students, but most of my success (or lack there of) will come from what I did in the classroom – my teaching skills.

Take a look at my video on the 15 skills all English teachers should perfect if they want to be an ace in the classroom.

Let’s take a look at some of these skills in more depth

Get the right materials (my favorite resource)

Many teachers find material and lesson plan creation the hardest part of teaching English. With many other subjects, you don’t have this problem (think teaching mathematics or literature). Language teachers have to have new content every time they enter into the classroom, making the process exhausting for most teachers. If your materials are lacking, it will show in your teaching, and that’s not what you want.

An easy fix is getting my favorite resource for English teachers, Fluentize . Fluentize is a language learning website and application that has hundreds of awesome lesson plans all built around unique videos. I like this company so much that we purchase memberships for all of our grads at The Language House TEFL. This resource will save you hundreds of hours of planning each year. Go to their site and test out some free lesson plans. We purchased so many memberships from them that if you use the code CHRIS20, you’ll receive 20% of their entire site.

If you like what you see, head over to their membership page and get a yourself a year membership.

Use my code CHRIS20 and receive 20% off the entire site.

Being engaging

You can have years of experience in the classroom, but that doesn’t mean you are engaging. In fact, I believe that the more experience a teacher has, the less engaging they become. Once a teacher gets comfortable in the classroom, it becomes easier for them to phone it in.
Having an engaging presence requires effort on the teacher’s part every time they step into the class. Teachers have to want to make their lessons/activities interesting.

Take a look at the video below on an icebreaker that I created. This is one of my favorite activities to do with a new class. Pay special attention to the details I add to the icebreaker to make it engaging for my students.


Master your teaching voice

In my 15 skills video above, I spend about 1 minute going over how important your voice in the classroom is. I can’t say this enough – the voice you use in the classroom is one of the most essential tools you have.
Watch this video to get the full picture.

Elicit (and CCQ) like a pro

A big part of language teaching is how to elicit (and then later concept check) with your students. English teaching isn’t about getting up and lecturing your way through a topic or grammar point. Instead, great teachers know how to pull that information out from students. Here’s a video that demonstrates these concepts when teaching vocabulary. If you can master this skill, you can teach any level without using translation.

Keep improving!

Posting a video for each of the 15 skills would be a really long article. The point, i hope, has been made! Improving these skills (and what you DO in the classroom) is what will make you a great teacher. All teachers (myself included) should assess themselves regularly and strive to sharpen our abilities. Our students deserve our best!

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