6 Tips to Hiring the Best Language Instructors

By Jennifer Robertson Montes posted 06-18-2010 11:43


Is it a challenge finding the best language instructors for your program?  Don’t rely on degrees, experience, or interviews alone!

6 Tips for Best Practices

Many language program administrators constantly struggle with getting the right teachers in the classroom.  The following is a list of six tips that will help you in this process:

  • If the hiring manager does not have a background in languages or second language acquisition, find someone who does and ask him or her to help you with the interview process.
  • Do not hire someone based on their degrees and experience alone.  It is very important that you have the applicant write a lesson plan and participate in a teaching demonstration as part of the screening process.  The only way to assess an applicant’s facilitation skills is to see him or her in action.
  • For the lesson plan component, give the applicant the language level and learning objective/s for a 30-minute mini-lesson.  Have him or her write out the activities that they would do to teach the objective/s.  This will give you an idea of the applicant’s ability to create a dynamic, student-centered, level-appropriate environment.
  • Do not allow the applicant to bring a lesson plan to the interview.  Have him or her write it on site as part of the interview process.  There are too many lesson plans that can be downloaded from the Internet.
  • Use your top instructors to act as mentors for the teaching demonstration.  The teaching demonstration should take place in a real class if possible.  If not, ask for volunteer participants that do not speak the target language.  Next, pair the applicant up with a mentor to review the lesson plan before class.  The mentor should teach for at least 30 minutes and then the applicant can take over.  During the teaching demonstration, the mentor will complete a form that outlines exactly what facilitation skills you are looking for. 
  • Do NOT hire someone out of desperation.  Too many times we've seen the wrong person put in the classroom because there just was not anyone else available.  In the end, this only hurts the students and your organization.  Set a cut-off score for hiring and stick to it!

Hiring the right instructors is critical for a successful language program, and proper screening is a critical step.  Look for more articles in the future on this topic at: