Characteristics of highly effective teachers of English

Recently I was invited to give a guest lecture on the topic “Characteristics of highly effective teachers of English’. To prepare myself for the lecture I asked my students and fellow teachers to list the qualities of a good teacher of English. Those who were involved in the informal brainstorming sessions listed a number of characteristics an English language teacher should have. My experience as an English language teacher and teacher trainer also helps me define an effective teacher of English as someone who possesses 5 I’s:

  1. Imagination
  2. Innovativeness
  3. Interaction
  4. Independent thinking
  5. Interdependence 


A teacher who is imaginative can do wonders in the English class. Their new ideas break monotony and make students take lively participation in the class. Albert Einstein says that imagination is more important than knowledge.

“Human progress is possible only through education. Without imagination, education becomes a kind of intellectual recycling of the same knowledge passed from teacher to student and back to teacher on the test. Education should do more than simply transmit information; it should develop skills such as imagination that evolve our knowledge and move us forward as a species.”

Teachers who are imaginative can teach any language skill interestingly and effectively. They can develop students’ creative self-expression. Teachers who are imaginative explore and create new things. Students enjoy being guided by imaginative teachers.


An innovative teacher dares to go off the track in order to be on the track. Students like teachers who are innovative. Innovativeness means:

  • Introducing changes and new ideas
  • Daring to be different and being unique
  • Going off the track in order to be on the track
  • Experimenting new things
  • Being fresh always


A teacher who promotes interaction in the English class does justice to their profession by empowering learners and helping them develop their communication skills. They motivate their students, create opportunities for them to interact with one another through commutainment (communication through entertainment) activities such as roleplays, group discussions, mock interviews, etc.


is the process of being able to think on your own, without someone else guiding you. «In a world where knowledge is doubling every few years and what once was a fact can become out of date so quickly, equipping young people with the mental tools to succeed in such a world is vital.» Teachers can help their students develop their independent thinking only if they are independent. Independent thinking implies:

  • Thinking on your own
  • Being critical of what you see and hear
  • Questioning information and irrational assumptions

An independent thinker helps students develop the desire and ability to think on their own. An independent thinker contributes a lot to the team. Language learning tasks should aim at developing students’ thinking skills.


is essential for a successful person. Taking students from dependent stage to independent stage and then to interdependent stage is very important. Man is a social animal and interpersonal relationships is the key to success in today’s competitive world. The one who knows how to relate with others can climb up the ladder of success. Those who are interdependent use positive language and win people over. They are polite, pleasant, practical, persuasive and powerful.

A teacher of English who is imaginative, innovative, interactive, independent and interdependent can be successful in the field and can lead the students from dependent stage to independent stage and then to interdependent stage.

Albert P’Rayan


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