“How to Teach English”

“How to Teach English”

is a practical book which covers the aspects of being a good
teacher, dealing with problems and the unexpected in the classroom. It describes,
simplifies and gives us an introduction to language including grammar and more. It
focuses mostly on teaching adults.
In this book summary my aim was to capture the essence of Jeremy Harmer’s
“How to
teach English”
in my own words and offer a bit of commentary. The few words in quotes
were directly taken from his book.
-Ian Leahy, creator of
http://eslinsider.com
Index
Chapter 1. What’s a good teacher like?
Chapter 2. What’s a good learner like?
Chapter 3. How do I manage my classroom?
Chapter 4. How can we explain teaching and learning?
Chapter 5. How do you label language (grammar)?
Chapter 6. How do you teach language?
Chapter 7. How do you teach reading?
Chapter 8. How do you teach writing?
Chapter 9. How do you teach speaking?
Chapter 10. How do you teach listening?
Chapter 11. How do you use textbooks?
Chapter 12. How do you plan lessons?
Chapter 13. How do I deal with problems?
Chapter 14. Thoughts and recap
Review
Chapter 1. What’s a good teacher like?
Can you define a good teacher?
English teachers and students in the U.K, Spain and Finland were asked this question.
Some of their answers were as follows.
-Their lessons should be interesting, so you don’t fall asleep.
-A teacher must love her job.
-I like a teacher who lets her personality show.
-A teacher must be knowledgeable, about other topics as well.
-I like an entertaining teacher.
-They should get the quieter students to speak and keep the talkative ones quiet.
-They should know their students names.
What’s the best way for a teacher to talk to his students?
He should use “rough tuning”. This means that he should use language that will be
understood by his students. He has to tune it to fit their level of comprehension.
Teachers can also use body language to get their point across.
What’s the best way to give instructions?
They must be simple and logical. After the instructions are given, the teacher can call
on
a student to repeat them to test if they understood.
How much should I talk in class?
Generally a teacher should minimize his talk time “TTT” and maximize the students talk
time “STT”. The teacher must speak at appropriate times.
What is a good lesson like?
Those are the ones where the students aren’t bored. Be unpredictable, spontaneous and
use variety in your classes. If you usually stand up then sit down. If you usually wear a
suit then dress casual. If you usually talk loud then talk quietly.
Should I always follow my plan?
Be flexible and have some extra activities or tasks on hand for those who finish their
work early. Be prepared when things go slower or faster than expected.
Chapter 2. What’s a good learner like?
Do we all learn the same?
No.
There are many exceptions to the rule. For example, one student who practiced
basketball daily for a year became a good basketball player. Another student who
practiced basketball far less frequently became an equally good basketball player.
Should students be motivated?
Motivation is key to learning. Teachers can use their behavior, skills and attitude to
motivate their students. However, real motivation comes from within the individual.
Is the teacher responsible for the students learning?
Students should have access (in the school or center) to materials like English movies,
books, or audio. Although every school will not have these. The teacher should
essentially guide students and encourage them to be responsible for their own learning.
The use of homework does this, however it should not be too much.
What are the qualities of good learners?
1. They listen.
2. They can take risks.
3. They ask questions.
4. They ask about the best way to learn.
5. They can accept correction of their mistakes.
How is teaching adults different from children?