“The majority of parents want ‘qualified teachers’ to teach their children, but there’s more to being a good teacher than classroom skills.” B. Lenon, The Telegraph, UK
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: What really makes a good teacher? B. Lenon, Telegraph, UK
“A NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) poll last week found that the majority of parents wanted ‘qualified teachers’ to teach their children. Unsurprising really, until you consider what that word ‘qualified’ really means.
In independent schools, recognised as being among the best in the world, we are free to choose our own teachers. In 2013, pupils in independent schools achieved 32 per cent of all A* grades at A-level.Our success lies in the quality and expertise of our teachers, yet some may not have a teaching qualification.
So what makes a good teacher? They have four characteristics.
First, they love their subject and have excellent subject knowledge (the two go together). Last year Professor Rob Coe and the Sutton Trust published research into the qualities of the best teachers and this came top of the list.
Secondly, they need to have the right personality. Teaching is partly acting, and acting ability helps greatly. Above all you need to be able to control a class, because without good discipline nothing worthwhile can be achieved.
But the best teachers are not disciplinarians. They are a velvet hand in an iron glove. Pupils come to know, over time, that they are warm and generous. But they are not to be messed with. Discipline has to come first.
Thirdly, they need to have certain classroom skills. This is why all ‘unqualified’ teachers need some training, both before they start and throughout their first year of teaching.
Finally, they need to have high expectations of their pupils. This is a characteristic of all the best teachers. They are determined that every pupil will master their subject. This attitude sets the scene for everything which follows.”
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities: Predictions
Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Have students use the pre-reading organizer to assist them in finding the main ideas from the reading.
II. While Reading Tasks
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Consider what the word qualified really means.
- Pupils in independent schools achieved all A grades.
- Our success lies in the expertise of our teachers.
- They have four characteristics.
- Some schools are happy to appoint an excellent graduate.
- They are classified as unqualified without experience.
- Without good discipline nothing can be achieved.
- Pupils know the teacher will notice if they are misbehaving.
- There are other personality traits that matter too.
- Teachers need to have high expectations of their pupils.
Directions: Review the following statements from the reading. If a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they mark it F and provide the correct answer.
- According to the poll the majority of parents wanted nice teachers to teach their children.
- Independent schools cannot choose their own teachers.
- Students who attend Independent schools always succeed.
- The article lists five characteristics of a good teacher.
- Teachers should love their subject and have excellent subject knowledge.
- All teachers have teaching qualifications.
- Teachers need to have the right personality.
- The article states that teaching is partly acting.
- The best teachers can be found in the U.S.
- In addition to the ones mentioned, there are other personality traits that also matter.
Grammar Focus: Preposition Practice
Directions: The following paragraph is from the article. Choose the correct prepositions from the choices presented. Note that some prepositions listed are not in the paragraph.
Prepositions: to, in, as, at, into, with, of, during,
Last year Professor Rob Coe and the Sutton Trust published research___ the qualities___the best teachers and this came top ___the list. It is the reason that some schools are happy___appoint an excellent graduate___ a subject like physics even if they don’t have a teaching qualification. don’t have a teaching qualification. They are classified___‘unqualified’, even though they possess the most important quality of all.
III. Post Reading Tasks
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
For more advanced students:
Directions: Have students use this advanced organizer from Enchanted Learning to assist them with discussing or writing about the main points from the article.
Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.
1. The following three statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each one, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.
“Good subject knowledge matters not only because at the top of the ability range you need to be able to stretch pupils but also because teachers with good knowledge tend to make lessons for younger children more interesting. They have more substance to be interesting about.”
“Teaching is partly acting, and acting ability helps greatly. Above all you need to be able to control a class, because without good discipline nothing worthwhile can be achieved.”
“Finally, they need to have high expectations of their pupils. This is a characteristic of all the best teachers. They are determined that every pupil will master their subject. This attitude sets the scene for everything which follows. Pupils who produce unsatisfactory work must be made to redo it until they achieve a good level.”
2. Think about the teachers from your past. Did they possess any of the qualities mentioned in the article? How would you describe them?
Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about teaching from the reading, two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.