How to Be a Good Language Teacher: Tips on Teachers' Day

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela

Teaching is arguably one of the most important careers in our society. In fact, so many other professions wouldn’t exist without teachers - because we all have to learn from someone, right?

At Lingopie, we are so grateful for language teachers - they help to connect people from all over the world, they break down language barriers across different countries and they just make the world a much better place with their kindness, patience and passion.

We are always spreading our love for languages with our one-to-one LingoLessons, as well as our open language zoom webinars where we come together to discuss some of our best Lingopie movies and TV shows.

Since this is a very special date - Teachers’ Day, we have put together a list of how you can be a good language teacher to your students.

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Because the truth is, even if you’re fluent in a language, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an effective teacher. Good teachers have very specific qualities.
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The Qualities of a Good Language Teacher

These are the points we will cover in detail later on in this post:

  • You connect with your students.
  • You show passion for what you are teaching.
  • You encourage your students to participate and make mistakes.
  • You are patient.
  • You don’t just rely on textbooks - you use a variety of resources.
  • Resources for students

The History of National Teachers’ Day in a Nutshell

But first, are you wondering when and how National Teachers’ Day came about? It was actually the one and only Eleanor Roosevelt who stood up to Congress in 1953.

She wanted to convince them that teachers deserved their own special day to be recognized for their amazing work. However, it only actually became a National Day in the USA in 1980.

Thank you, Eleanor. We appreciate you!

What Actually Makes a Good Language Teacher?

So, back to the main topic: what actually makes a good language teacher? Here are some of our top tips for you to shine, no matter what language you’re teaching:

1. You connect with your students

We all have that one teacher from our school days that we will never forget, no matter how long ago that was. And it’s probably because that teacher had a very important quality- she or he knew how to connect with their students.

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What exactly does this mean? It literally means you should aim to build a type of connection with the student. 

For example, you should show interest in what they’re saying in class, and try to find out some of their interests. This might help you to work out how to teach them best (remember we all have different learning styles).

Be approachable and remember that it’s not always just about helping them to get the grades! They’re still human beings.

When students feel like their teacher cares about them, they are less likely to give up and they persist through challenges. It also just creates a warmer learning environment in general.

A mug stating 'Keep Calm and Carry on Teaching' in front of a diary and glasses
Photo by Seema Miah / Unsplash

2. You show passion for what you are teaching

Did you ever fall asleep in a lesson whilst at school? If you did, the teacher probably wasn’t inspiring you very much! And you definitely don’t want to be that teacher.

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If you’re a language teacher, you hopefully love languages. Passionate teachers are happy teachers. They create a positive learning environment where students want to learn and share their knowledge. 

You want to inspire your students to stay focused during sessions, so keep them entertaining, proactive and fun when you can. Include different activities and switch things up a bit every lesson.

The energy you put out is what fuels your students’ desire to learn. For example, if you’re teaching French, why not have a fun lesson where you sing along to French songs and then decipher the lyrics?

Remember: passionate teachers create passionate students.

3. You encourage your students to participate and make mistakes

We all make mistakes when we’re learning a new language - the shy ones, the confident ones and even the ones that claim they never make mistakes (hey - sorry, nobody is perfect).

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Often mistakes are actually our best teachers, so encourage your students to make them. Offer them kind words of reassurance when they do make mistakes.

Do also encourage your students to participate in lessons and be as proactive as possible.

You can’t learn a new language without speaking it so the more conversation you can get going, the better. Try to create role-play activities or interesting debates.

It may take longer for shy people to come out of their shells and that’s perfectly fine. What matters is that you offer them words of support and encouragement during each and every step.

4. You are patient

Being patient is key. I cannot emphasize this enough.

Every person learns languages at different paces so you will have to be patient with every individual’s journey. You might have to explain things differently to different learners - and some students will understand things a lot more quickly than others.

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At times your patience will be tested but seeing your students getting the results they want is worth it all. Plus you will have a beautiful feeling of accomplishment in the end!

5. You don’t just rely on textbooks - you use a variety of resources

There are so many aspects to language learning - you have the reading and writing aspects and then the listening and speaking aspects. Therefore, you will find that you need to employ a variety of resources when teaching.

Why not recommend some podcasts to your students as well as some YouTube channels in the target language? These are fabulous ways of improving listening skills. You can also recommend some interactive Lingopie movie binge watching.

We have plenty of fun series, movies, documentaries and more for learners to practice both their listening and speaking skills. Our Say-It! option allows you to repeat and pronounce sentences from the movies you’re watching. You will then receive an accuracy score based on how alike your pronunciation is to the original speech - remember practice makes perfect.

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Good teachers are also always learning - learning how to become better teachers. So why not have a read through some of our blog posts? You will pick up many good tips and can recommend some ideas to some of your own students.

Resources for students:

Booking a private lesson

For students wanting one-to-one support, you can thankfully practice your language skills with one of our private teachers. It doesn’t matter what level you are at: beginner, intermediate or advanced, we have teachers for everybody.

All of our teachers have been personally verified by Lingopie and they will help you feel comfortable if you are a bit timid speaking the language. During your lessons you will be discussing some of your favorite Lingopie shows in your target language - this is one of the best ways to practice your language skills.

For just $60 dollars you will have four 45 minute lessons with a private teacher (and you can schedule and cancel these whenever you need to)

Worth it? We think so!

Sign up for a free trial of Lingopie today.

Join one of our open language webinars

Another option is to join one of our open webinars. These are available to our Lingopie users.

They are held over zoom and you will be in a group setting rather than one-to-one. They are offered in either French, German or Spanish.

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Each open class is hosted by language experts and they are the perfect opportunity for you to practice your language skills with other learners.

Each open class is themed on a Lingopie series or movie, and the lesson will be focused on the grammar and vocabulary used in the movie/series. There are games and exercises to keep you more than entertained for the hour and a half.

At the end of the session, there is time for questions and answers, where you can ask our language experts any queries you may have. We highly encourage you to assist these zoom calls, as they will help you to build on your confidence and even build some new connections.

Summing up: How to Be the Best Language Teacher Ever!

So… a good language teacher is patient, passionate and builds a connection with their students.

They also encourage mistakes as these are often some of the best teachers, and create a proactive learning environment where students contribute.

A good teacher uses a variety of resources to teach - not just textbooks, but audiobooks, movies and interactive learning tools.

For students who want to begin or continue their language journeys, Lingopie offers one-to-one lessons and open zoom webinars for you to make use of.

To all the teachers out there, Happy National Teachers’ Day - you are truly special and we appreciate you so much!

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