Qualities of Effective EFL Teachers in the 21st Century: A Reflection From Ecuador


  • Edgar E. Heredia-Arboleda Universidad Nacional de Chimborazo
  • Mónica J. Torres-Cajas Universidad Nacional de Chimborazo
  • Danilo R. Yépez Oviedo Universidad Nacional de Chimborazo
  • Adriana C. Lara-Velarde Universidad Nacional de Chimborazo




Qualities of Personal Traits, Qualities of Instructional Skills, ELTs (English Language Teachers)


English Language Teachers (ELTs), to be effective in the teaching and learning process in contemporary society, need to be not only competent with qualities of instructional skills but also with qualities of personal traits. This paper aims to offer ELTs reflection around the most vital qualities of personal traits, which are required to contribute to the design of more effective EFL teaching and learning milieus. To that end, and supported by a pilot study carried out to construct a master´s degree program in Teaching Local and Foreign Languages in an Ecuadorian Public University, we gathered, in four major categories, the scattered and unclassified qualities of personal traits which are available in the related literature. In this framework, the qualities of personal traits that ELTs must possess are bound with virtues such as perpetual learning, humanism, instructional-personal communication, and cross-culturalism. In general, this article may be helpful for ELTs to visualize the qualities of personal traits, which are needed to face the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) education of the 21st century.

Author Biographies

Edgar E. Heredia-Arboleda, Universidad Nacional de Chimborazo

Faculty of Education

Mónica J. Torres-Cajas, Universidad Nacional de Chimborazo

Faculty of Education

Danilo R. Yépez Oviedo, Universidad Nacional de Chimborazo

Faculty of Education

Adriana C. Lara-Velarde, Universidad Nacional de Chimborazo

Faculty of Education


Abu-Rahmah, M. I. (2008). Qualities of the good language teacher as perceived by prospective teachers of English in the Arab world. Journal of Educational and Psychological Studies, 2(1), 98–144. https://doi.org/10.24200/jeps.vol2iss1pp98-144

Al-Mahrooqi, R., Denman, C., Al-Siyabi, J., & Al-Maamari, F. (2015). Characteristics of a Good EFL Teacher: Omani EFL Teacher and Student Perspectives. SAGE Open, 5(2), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015584782

Al-Maqtri, M. & Thabet, A. (2013). The qualities of the good English teacher as perceived by Saudi and Yemeni college students of English. Greener Journal of Educational Research, 3(2), 072-079. https://doi.org/10.15580/gjer.2013.2.022313491

Alrefaee, Y. Al-Ghamdi, N. (2019). Refusals among Yemeni EFL Learners: A Study of Negative Pragmatic Transfer and Its Relation to Proficiency. Asian EFL Journal. 25, 5-1, 191-214. https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v9n6p172

Al-Seghayer, K. (2017). The central characteristics of successful ESL/EFL teachers. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 8(5), 881–890. https://doi.org/10.17507/jltr.0805.06

Alzeebaree, Y., & Hasan, I. A. (2020). What makes an effective EFL teacher: High School Students' Perceptions. Asian ESP Journal, 16(2), 169-183. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/42778270/What_makes_an_effective_EFL_teacher_High_School_Students_Perception(accessed 02/07/2021).

Alzobiani, I. (2020). The Qualities of Effective Teachers as Perceived by Saudi EFL Students and Teachers. English Language Teaching, 13(2), 32-47. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v13n2p32

Baytur, B., & Razi, S. (2015). Characteristics of effective EFL teachers from the perspective of Turkish EFL learners. The International Journal of Human and Behavioral Science, 1(2), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.19148/ijhbs.105745

Borg, S. (2006). The distinctive characteristics of foreign language teachers. Language Teaching Research, 10(1), 3–31. https://doi.org/10.1191/1362168806lr182oa

Carrasquillo, A. L., & Rodríguez, V. (2002). Language minority students in the mainstream classroom. NY: Multilingual Matters.

Chen, J. & Lin, C. (2009). Exploring characteristics for effective EFL teachers from the perceptions of junior high school students in Tainan. STUT Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2, 219- 249. Retrieved from https://society.stust.edu.tw/Sysid/society_en/files/Vol.%202/7.%20Exploring%20Characteristics%20for%20Effective%20EFL%20Teachers%20From%20the%20Perceptions%20of%20Junior%20High%20School%20Students%20in%20Tainan.pdf (accessed 04/07/2021).

COMERCIO. (2020, June 11). ‘Los chicos van a recordar que la docente Carolina llegó a la puerta de su casa en plena pandemia’ [Students will remember that teacher Carolina arrived to the door of their house in full pandemic]. COMERCIO, pp. 1-2.

Febriyanti, E. R. (2018). Investigating English department students’ perceptions about a good English language teacher. International Journal of Language Education, 2(2), 83–95. https://doi.org/10.26858/ijole.v2i2.6378

Gabrielatos, C. (2002, March 23–27). The shape of the language teacher [Paper presentation]. 36th Annual International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language Conference, York, England.

Gao, M. & Liu, Q. (2013). Personality traits of effective teachers represented in the narratives of American and Chinese pre-service teachers: A cross-cultural comparison. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3(2). 84-95. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/4857091/Personality_Traits_of_Effective_Teachers_Represented_in_the_Narratives_of_American_and_Chinese_Preservice_Teachers_A_Cross-Cultural_Comparison (accessed 04/07/2021).

Immordino‐Yang, M. H., & Damasio, A. (2007). We feel, therefore we learn: The relevance of affective and social neuroscience to education. Mind, brain, and education, 1(1), 3-10. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-228x.2007.00004.x

Khodabakhshzadeh, H. & Shirvan, M. (2011). Discovering Iranian EFL teachers' personality traits through their conceptions of effective teaching. Canadian Social Science, 7(4), 21-33. http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/j.css.l923669720110704.051

Kuhl, P. K., Tsao, F. M., & Liu, H. M. (2003). Foreign-language experience in infancy: Effects of short-term exposure and social interaction on phonetic learning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100(15), 9096-9101. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1532872100

Leech, J. (2015). Logic and the Laws of Thought. Philosophers Imprint, 15(12), 1-27. Retrieved from https://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/phimp/3521354.0015.012/1 (accessed 16/07/2021).

Lee, J. (2010). The uniqueness of EFL teachers: Perceptions of Japanese learners. TESOL Journal, 1(1), 23-48. https://doi.org/10.5054/tj.2010.214881

Malikow, M. (2005). Effective teacher study. National Forum of Teacher Education-journal, 16(3) 1-9. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nationalforum.com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Malikow,%20Max%20Effective%20teacher%20Study.pdf (accessed 04/07/2021).

Metruk, R. (2021). Male and female University students’ perceptions of an effective EFL teacher. International Journal of Instruction, 14(2), 703-718. https://doi.org/10.29333/iji.2021.14239a

Mohammaditabar, M., Bagheri, M. S., Yamini, M., & Rassaei, E. (2019). Iranian EFL teachers’ perspectives of qualities of a good language teacher: Does educational context make a difference? Cogent Education, 6(1), 1651442. https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186x.2019.1651442

Naranjo, N. C. P. (2019). Post modernismo cultural: un atentado contra la lógica. [Post Cultural Modernism: An Attempt Against Logic]. Revista de Filosofia, (92), 123-142. Retrieved from https://produccioncientificaluz.org/index.php/filosofia/article/view/33807/35565 (accessed 16/07/2021).

Park, P. & Lee, W. (2006). The characteristics of effective English teachers as perceived by high school teachers and students in Korea. Asia Pacific Education Review, 7(2), 236-248. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf03031547

Salahshour, N., & Hajizadeh, N. (2013). Characteristics of effective EFL instructors. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 70, 163–173. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.01.052

Slate, J. (2009). Hispanic college students' perceptions of characteristics of effective elementary school teachers: A multi-stage mixed analysis. Journal of Educational Research & Policy Studies, 9(1), 1-24. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ896276.pdf (accessed 04/07/2021).

Taqi, H. A., Al-Darwish, S. H., Akbar, R. S., & Al-Gharabali, N. A. (2015). Choosing an English teacher: The influence of gender on the students’ choice of language teachers. English Language Teaching, 8(12), 182–190. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v8n12p182

UNESCO (2003). Education in a Multilingual World. En Guidelines in Language and Education. Paris: UNESCO Education. Retrieved from www.unesco.org./education (accessed 02/07/2021).

Wang, J., Gibson, M. & Slate, R. (2007). Effective teachers as viewed by students at a two-year college: A multistage mixed analysis. Issues in Educational research, 17(2), 272-295. Retrieved from https://www.iier.org.au/iier17/wang.html (accessed 07/07/2021).

Wichadee, S. (2010). Defining the effective English language teacher: Students’ and teachers’ perspectives. In A. M. Stoke (Ed.), JALT2009 conference proceedings (pp. 27–35). JALT.