English Teaching Knowledge

There are a good many ideas out there about what it takes to be a good English teacher and I’d like to share some of them here.
How can anyone just point out the important factors in teaching English in just a few hundred words?
I’m not sure if this can be done as I intended it to be but I will try.
Student-centered learning is key. Many T’s are all about the TTT (teacher talking time) which should be reduced. Aim for 20%.
I+1  is also an incredibly important factor. We need to make sure all our lessons are pitched at this level.
Students work better when their affective filters are reduced. This is something teachers need to be concerned with.
Teachers also need to be sure they are empowering students. Students work better and learn more when they are empowered.
Of course, just doing the above is not enough. Lessons need to be planned appropriately. Proper scaffolding at each stage!
The stages of the lesson need to follow the correct frameworks and have the interaction appropriately planned for each section.
All the above is important but doesn’t really mean anything if we are not eliciting creativity from students, which we should do.
Let’s be clear, in the 21st century it is the responsibility of teachers of all subjects to foster creativity in all students.
But we need to be sure to consider students’ different learning styles and multiple intelligences or it will all be for naught.
Unless we create lessons that match the unique needs of all our learners we will be wasting our time and theirs.
Learners are all different. Our lessons need to match their styles and intelligences plus wants and needs and moods and more.
Learner’s needs must be considered and we must also ensure that we are developing their critical thinking skills. This is a must.
Students need to be given tools to succeed in the modern era. We should remember most of our students are digital natives.
However we do it, as teachers we need to be sure that we do and remember everything listed above and make them a priority.
I hope and believe I have offered some useful ideas and starting points here. 
hough, if all the above fails you can just flip the classroom or employ gamification.


  1. Wilma Luth

    Cooperative learning is really where it’s at.
    Orderly classroom procedures are over-rated.
    On the other hand, routines are necessary.
    Learners have to take responsibility for their own learning.
    Positive regard is absolutely essential.
    Over-rated bandwagons are ubiquitous in ELT.
    Students, teachers, learning – what’s at the center?
    That’s what I think.

    • mikecorea

      Hey Wilma, I loved how you said something powerful and poetic and brilliant in response to what was a pretty silly post. I appreciate it. I think it is nice to say what we believe in rather than what we think is nonsense and I think this is a great example of that. Nice. Thanks!

  2. kevchanwow

    Hi Mike,

    This is a bold statement and I can tell you have put a lot of thinkingness into it. But I also wanted to tell you that your formatting is kind of strange. You have bolded the first letter of each line and it is kind of distracting. You might want to think about fixing that. Maybe you copied it from Word or something? Sometimes that program has some very strange autoformating settings.

    Also, I was so excited to see your potpourri of tags at the end. So many great ones to chose from. I clicked on many of my favourites–who doesn’t love i+1–but was disappointed to find myself right back here at English Teaching Knowledge. Schema? Back to ETK. Affective filter? ETK. So I think you should check the tags on your other posts and make sure they aren’t broken or something. Maybe instead of i+1, you accidentally typed i-1 in one of your past posts?

    Anyway, aside from the whole tags to nowhere thing and that bold formatting problem, this post was just aces.
    Thanks for sharing such awesome English Teaching Knowledge (just in case you didn’t get that little joke, I used the title of your post in a sentence as if it was just a chunk of language and didn’t have anything to do with the title of your post or anything). You are making me a better teacher all the time.
    All the time.


    • mikecorea

      Now these are some comments. Thanks very much, Kevin. I appreciate you pointing out the formatting issues here. I actually wrote the post in google docs so there might have been some issues with that. I also thank you for referencing the tags. To be honest tags are among the many things I don’t do a good job keeping track of, so I think i will need to go back to my previous posts and re-tag them.

      I am glad that this post helped make you a better teacher. I am hoping this post will one day be required reading for anyone embarking on a career in this field. I hope that English Teaching Knowledge will be widely known to all.

    • mikecorea

      The original draft of this piece mentioned learning styles like three times. I had to tone it down. 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Phil! I am hoping that this blog post will be the starting point for many future teachers in the field, what with all the wisdom here.

    • mikecorea

      What a great comment, Tyson. Thanks! I can see your confusion clearly. I guess bullshit was a bit of a strong word because there is some truth in most (all?) of it. I guess the bullshit was in the idea that just one of of those things would make a good teacher.

      To be very honest, I didn’t think I’d be able to make any sense at all with the restriction of starting with specific letters and was relatively pleased it made some degree of sense.

      I think perhaps the bullshit aspect distracted from things a bit. Thanks very much for the comments.

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