Here is a selection of top tips to help teachers of English develop their professional competence. They cover issues of professional conduct, strategies for dealing with students and their language production, the importance of meaningful communication and the example the teacher sets. This is the second of two such articles.

Professional competence 2 - methodology article


  • Professional conduct
  • Classroom management
  • Teacher's approach
  • Language production
  • Ideas from other teachers


Professional conduct

  • Do not lose your temper. To be patient and tolerant means you are able to solve your problems.
  • Visit the classes of your colleagues and respond to your inspectors' guidance and advice for developing your professional competence.


Classroom management

  • Concentrate on the low achievers in your classroom. They are always in need of your help and encouragement.
  • Be an observer, a guide and a participant when students practise group activities. Do not be indifferent as this makes the class noisy and spoils the aim of the activity.
  • When students practise activities, appoint group leaders to keep order and direct the work.

Teacher's approach

  • Tests reveal certain points of weakness. Therefore, it is your duty to analyze the test findings in order to prepare the required remedial work and exercises for uprooting such weakness.
  • Move from the known to unknown gradually and logically, because such a procedure is important from a psychological point of view.
  • Begin the lesson by warming the class up for a short time. Some revision questions or warm up activities create a positive atmosphere for tackling the new lesson.
  • Transfer the process of learning from being 'Skill-getting' to 'Skill-using' in order to achieve the desired goals.
  • Avoid errors in pronunciation. If you feel any doubt, consult a good pronunciation dictionary. If students repeat a mispronounced word, it will be fixed in their minds. Moreover, it will be difficult to correct in the future.

Language production

  • Written work is considered an active production of the language. Therefore, it should be an application of what you have already dealt with orally in the classroom. Always present the new material in meaningful situations with skills integration. Linguistics considers the exchange to be the unit of speech.
  • Train your students to speak the language with reasonable fluency. Frequent exposure to authentic recorded materials improves their oral performance.
  • Give the right intonation due attention. The students must know the proper fall and rise in speech because the wrong intonation may change the function of the utterance.
  • An increased number of assignments is highly desirable and the more the better. Remember to check the assignments regularly and give the necessary appreciative comments. The homework assignments should be as short as possible without anything tricky or puzzling.
  • When you communicate with your students, do not insist on getting full answers. Short answers are accepted in natural communication.
  • Let your students have various realizations of each function because this helps them to express themselves in different ways. Moreover, this develops their communicative competence and their self-confidence.
  • Do not interrupt your student to correct mistakes while she/he is speaking because it perplexes her/him and makes her/him withdraw from the scene. Remember that fluency comes before accuracy.

Ideas from other teachers

Susan Manser, U.K.
I have two small suggestions to add to the Professional Competence article.

  • Should the occasion arise when you don't know or are not certain of the answer to a question or grammar point, admit that you don't know, but will find out or check the answer. Don't forget!
  • Show respect for your students by dressing in a clean, tidy manner.

Saleh M. Abdo, English Language Unit, National College of Science & Technology Salalah, Sultanate of Oman

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