Quality Teaching: Key 2

This 3 part series is an excerpt from the the Institute of Cross Cultural Training’s “Reach Out With English” training * and has been shared with ICCT’s permission.

When the need for ESL teachers in our communities is so great and there is pressure to begin teaching as soon as possible, it’s easy to be tempted to simply jump in and do your best while learning on the job. There are times that approach is necessary, but you need to realize that there may be a steep price to pay for your haste. If the quality of teaching in your ESL program is poor or even mediocre, it will not only affect your students’ learning of English but, in addition, you may damage your Christian witness to your students and to others in your community. Therefore, the second important key to effective ESL ministry is quality teaching.

As a Christian, you no doubt want your teaching and your relationships with your students to reflect your faith. But have you considered how the quality of your teaching can affect more than your students’ learning of English? Purgason (1998) states very clearly how the quality of your teaching affects your students’ view of you as a Christian:

The quality…is crucial. Students who experience excellent teaching, qualified teachers, effective materials, and an enjoyable class are more likely to say “yes” to further invitations. Also students who find that their teacher is knowledgeable and skilled in TESOL matters are more likely to trust what their teacher has to say about spiritual matters (p. 33).

Snow (2001) expands on this same theme in his book, Teaching English as Christian Mission:

Rather than being incidental to witness or even evangelism, the quality of a Christian English teachers teaching work is the primary vehicle through which they share the love of God with their students, and the strongest and clearest statement they make about what a Christian should be like (p. 65).

…when Christian English teachers accept jobs as English teachers, their first agenda must be the effective teaching of English. …it is often through the responsibility with which they carry out their teaching work that their most effective Christian witness is presented (p. 72).

This leads us to the question: What do you need to do to make sure you are honoring the Lord by the quality of your teaching? While there is no single answer to this question, one important step to successful teaching is getting the professional preparation you need. This is the reason our Reach Out* course goes beyond equipping you with a basic foundation for classroom teaching and tutoring to also supplying you with a great many resources for your professional growth after the course is over.

To learn more about ways your ESL teaching can reflect your Christian faith to those from other cultures, we highly recommend Snow’s book. Also, see sections 1 and 5 in Getting Started in Teaching ESL/EFL: Resources for Christian Educators (CD- ROM to be given out in our first Reach Out weekend) and “Training Volunteer Teachers and Tutors” in your Reach Out class notes.


Purgason, Kitty Barnhouse. 1998. “Teaching English to the World: Options and Opportunities.” International Journal of Frontier Missions, Vol. 15, No. 1, January- March, 1998, 33-39.

Snow, Donald. 2001. English Teaching as Christian Mission. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press.

This is part 2 in a 3 part series. Read parts 1 & 3.

This 3 part series is an excerpt from the the Institute of Cross Cultural Training’s “Reach Out With English” training * and has been shared with ICCT’s permission.

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