If I asked a group of people what attributes an effective teacher has, I bet you there would be a myriad of different answers. Teaching is one of those professions where an ‘effective’ teacher is based on experience and perspective. Many parents might have changed their views during the lockdown period, but based on the many teacher murmurs, it seems as if coaching from parents continues.
We all have THAT one teacher that just gets it. It’s often the one that puts heart into it. My story was about Mrs. du Plessis, who kindly took me aside when I hit a blank during a Matric Biology test. Mrs. de Wet, my History teacher, took a more analytical approach to help me learn. She taught me note-taking and critical evaluation skills.
I spotted an article from Teachthought, 20 observable characteristics of Effective Teaching, and being a teacher myself, I clicked. I know what you might be thinking, well that was easy clickbait, but I wanted to see which of these characteristics applied to me. “The University of Minnesota offered some observable characteristics of effective teaching which, while focused on teacher actions rather than student learning, had some useful tips–not so much how to teach generally, but specific actions that you can use tomorrow.”
I used the measure of which ones I do regularly, which are part of my “teacherness” (my own word creation). I resonated with numbers 2,3,6,7,12,15,17 and 20. Numbers 8,9,13,14 and 18 I could do more work. Maybe I can vary my instructional strategies more and use Microsoft’s Whiteboard during an online session. It is not to say that I do not do them, but there is room for growth.
Before the comment column is swamped with “Can we consider these characteristics of effective teaching, are they not vague and general?” I would agree with the sentiment that the characteristics might be general and maybe even obvious, but it is what you take from it, that counts.
The point of these types of articles, for me, is to reflect. Some of the actions are behavioural like arriving on time, but when we look past the action and see what it means to the learners, we recognise its importance. It provides them with a routine and shows that you care about being with them. These articles remind us to action the basics. Even something as simple as a sense of humor could change the way you teach and improve your effectiveness. There’s not a thing on this list that wouldn’t inspire some form of improvement…why not give it a test run and see for yourself?
Which one will you work on tomorrow?