How To Be A Good ESL Teacher To Yourself

Last Updated on February 11, 2022 by Estrella

how to be a good ESL teacher to yourself
Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

If you want to improve your English by yourself, here are some ways on how to be a good ESL teacher to yourself.

Fine-tuning how you teach yourself

What is the teaching pattern you are accustomed to?

First, think of the teaching style you are used to. How did your teachers show new concepts to you? Correct your pronunciation or your writing? Did you like the way they taught? How did you feel learning from them? Good? Not so good? Uplifted? Criticized?

Answering these questions first will help you identify a possible pattern as you teach yourself. It’s not uncommon to follow a pattern, even if it does not feel good. Maybe it’s just a habit, or that we have not seen a different way. If you had a teacher that encouraged you, praised you, wonderful!

On the other hand, if your teachers focused on the mistakes you made, but not when you were correct, there is a chance you might do the same to yourself. This is the reason to identify the teaching style you are accustomed to.

Observe how you teach yourself

Second, after you find out yourself-teaching style, you can decide to continue or discontinue the pattern. If the pattern encourages you, and makes you feel good, keep doing it. However, if it discourages you and makes you feel bad, choose another style. Just look at children in classrooms. The ones who feel successful and praised will continue to do well in those subjects, while the ones who feel discouraged or criticized are less likely to do well in those areas. Apply this principle to yourself as a learner.

So let’s say a certain area in English is difficult for you. And when you feel frustrated, you scold yourself inwardly for not doing better, or for not knowing more about this aspect by now. Maybe you start comparing yourself to a classmate who is good in this area, and you feel worse. If you find yourself doing this, try the following instead.

Example of an encouraging teaching technique

At the moment you feel frustrated with the learning, stop for a moment. Take your attention off the problem and put it on something that feels a little better. You can distract yourself by doing something else for a little while, then come back to the subject. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Or, you can back up to the parts where you understand the concept easily. Establish a feeling of success and ease in your learning.

Also, keep in mind that the author may not be explaining it clearly. That can happen. Just because it is in a book does not mean it’s perfectly clear. If the second time you read the topic, you do not feel any clearer, go to another resource. Try YouTube, or Google the answer. Sometimes hearing an explanation a different way will clear things up. The key is to find the solution, and not get stuck in the frustration.

Now that you know the key to being a good ESL teacher to yourself, you can start choosing the area of English you want to improve. The article Teach Yourself English goes into ways to improve different areas of English by yourself.

If you find this article helpful, here is a link to articles on Ways to improve English.

Estrella Chan  coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a session with her, please email

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