This was a question we, a group of three teachers and two administrators, discussed six years ago when I headed the department of English at an institute of technology in Rwanda.
We went through the resume of around 15 persons who had applied for the teaching position in the department of English and shortlisted five candidates based on their academic qualifications and teaching experience. During the interview only two candidates impressed us and they were selected. After a few months the students were not happy with the teachers' teaching skills and complained to the higher authority about the teachers. We were questioned why we selected those 'incompetent' teachers. We did not have any answer to the question.
Later I raised a number of questions and discussed the same with a few ELT professionals. Some of the questions are given below:
- Should we select a candidate just because their proficiency in English is good?
- How are we going to assess whether the candidate is a good teacher?
- What skill sets do we look for in prospctive teachers of English?
- Aren't creative and critical thinking skills necessary for a successful teacher?
- How are we going to find out whether a candidate is innovative?
- Isn't there a possibility that a candidate may have good speaking skills but may lack writing skills and vice versa?
- How important is test setting skills for a teacher of English?
Finally, we arrived at some criteria which I'll discuss soon.
Dear teachers, I look forward to reading your comments and experience.