How some wise words can inspire English teachers

The following quotes are a reminder how important the role of an English teacher is. Thanks to teachers, there are millions of people around the world opening new doors in their life and experiencing new things while they learn English. We choose a Monday Motivation quote...

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The following quotes are a reminder how important the role of an English teacher is. Thanks to teachers, there are millions of people around the world opening new doors in their life and experiencing new things while they learn English.

We choose a Monday Motivation quote every week and we’ve picked out some of the most inspirational ones for teachers. We’ve also included some words of guidance from English teachers who have revealed their teaching experience to Pearson English. Here, we look at the quotes and discuss how they can guide and inspire English teachers…

Mark Van Doren2

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” – Mark Van Doren

Often, teaching can help to unlock a student’s learning. In turn, this can help them to have new experiences and discover more. There are many ways of unlocking a student’s potential, and teachers often have to adapt their methods accordingly. Today, there are many ways to connect with students, including the use of technology and collaborative learning. You can read more about teaching in a 21st-century classroom here.

Sydney Harris

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” – Sydney J. Harris

When a teacher opens a student up to a learning experience that is exciting and mysterious, it can encourage them to explore it. A teacher can do this by showing a student the window to their education. The view may differ from student to student, but the teacher’s role is to show them that there are worlds that exist beyond the classroom – and that their lives can be expanded and enriched by what they learn. By demonstrating this, teachers can instil in learners a desire to pursue their education as an essential tool for achieving their ambitions.

Kirsty Murray

“If you can stand in front of groups of restless students every day and come through it unscathed, you can do anything!” – Kirsty Murray

Kirsty taught English for a year in a French secondary school. Her pupils were of mixed ability and her classes ranged in size from 10 to 35 students. She found that having confidence and making classes relevant to the age group were the keys to her success. She says: “One of the most popular lessons I taught was on texting, as mobile phones were relatively new at the time and students were really excited to learn that “C U L8R” meant “see you later”. Some of the teachers suggested teaching weighty topics like politics, so I made it more fun by introducing debates so that the students could learn how to express themselves in English.

“Teaching English can be extremely rewarding but it is also hard work. One of the biggest lessons I learnt was confidence. If you can stand in front of groups of restless students every day and come through it unscathed, you can do anything!”

Albert Einstein2

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

Isn’t it more fun to learn while you’re having fun? By making some lessons fun and informative, students may enjoy their lessons even more and be inspired to learn more themselves. Teaching methods are always changing, and teachers could try a number of lessons, ranging from using everyday items to help teach English to encouraging students to learn using performance such as role-play, group work and social media. Sometimes, learning can be made easier by “living” and “experiencing” the topics, rather than simply reading words from a board or textbook.

Antaloe France

“Nine-tenths of education is encouragement.” – Anatole France

If a learner doesn’t see the point of learning something or working hard in a subject, they may not reach their full potential. There are many ways to encourage a student:

  • Show respect to your students by asking their opinion, then listening and engaging in conversation about it. You may be surprised about the language they use to illustrate their point about a subject they are passionate about.
  • Note your students’ success – even if progress is modest. Everyone learns in different ways and at different speeds, but encouragement is essential for all leaners.
  • Be creative and find ways to explain English in interesting and accessible ways. For example, if your student is learning English to travel, explore the countries they may go to.
  • Ask your students for feedback so you can adapt your methods to help them in the areas they would like to focus on.

Tim Marsh

“If you are asked a question that you cannot answer confidently, you shouldn’t panic but instead inform the student that you will check and give them the detailed answer at the following lesson.” – Tim Marsh

Tim has been teaching English in Majorca since 1985. He’s taught more than 3,500 students, ranging in age from six to 65. His main piece of advice is to expect the unexpected. As much as you can prepare for a lesson, you’re sure to be asked something that you may not immediately have the answer for. The secret? Don’t panic! Tim says: “There are few teachers of the English language who know everything. We should prepare lessons adequately when teaching aspects we’re not entirely confident about. If you are asked a question that you cannot answer confidently, you shouldn’t panic but instead inform the student that you will check and give them the detailed answer at the following lesson. Your students will appreciate your honesty.”

Phil Collins

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” – Phil Collins

In order for teachers to teach, they have to clarify their own understanding first. However, there are also other ways that teachers can learn – from their own students and teaching methods. All this learning helps teachers to become more experienced, which will help them to evolve to become even better. A teacher may learn something about a particular subject that they didn’t know. They might learn a new way of teaching – for example, a method using new technology – or they may even learn something about themselves. All of this learning is valuable and can only be positive to teachers.

For example, Nicola Quiggin taught English in Brno, the second-largest city in the Czech Republic after Prague. She learnt an important lesson – to let students have thinking time. She says: “Silence in the classroom shouldn’t be considered a bad thing. When you’re bombarding students with lots of information, sometimes they just need a few moments to let the cogs in their brains whirr.”

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