Saturday, March 9, 2013

"What makes a good teacher?" - More on a very important topic

What makes a good teacher?
I believe a great teacher is one who creates a classroom environment that makes their students 1.) 'curious', 2.) want to 'explore' ('investigate') and 3.) allows them to 'discover'. I think instilling and encouraging these three elements in students makes a great teacher.
Is 'curiosity' valued in your classroom? A great teacher creates a classroom environment that makes the students 'wonder' about the things they're teaching? You can tell if they are asking questions. Or are they just 'consuming' information?
Do the students want to explore and investigate the topics being taught? A great teacher creates an atmosphere and motivates their students to want to explore and investigate, for example, through experimentation.
A great teacher encourages and guides their students to 'discover' answers, information, solutions. 'Discovery' makes students happy.
Happy students think they have a great teacher. And they learn better and retain more when they 'discover' by their own efforts, rather than just being 'given' information.
And yes, teachers can learn to make their students 'wonder', want to 'explore', and 'discover', and thus be 'great' teachers.
Scott Gannon, Bangkok, Thailand

1. Total commitment
2. Love for her job
3. Respect for her students
4. Full of energy and life to transmit
5. Willing to accept new things, ideas to improve herself and her teaching.
Carolina Ruiz

Sense of humour, organization, professional knowledge, local language knowledge and versatility.
Robin, Israel
I think that flexibility is often forgotten + empathising
Nic Van Grootel

A teacher needs to have an attitude of "withitness". This is a skill that a teacher develops through experience and is having social emotional competence. Basically knowing the students characters, interests and how to engage them in learning the topic and with each other so that the teacher knows what is happening at all times in the classroom with the students.
A teacher with self-efficacy confidence is able to promote student's learning and achieve instructional goals which involves the teacher's expert power in the curriculum. The student's are less able to become bored when they can see a difference in their learning.
Classroom management skills are imperative in order to keep the students engaged and on task through the CALM model.
The art of teaching can be both creative and scientific that entails good organizational and instructional skills for delivering the the intended learning outcomes.
Donna Webster

My five suggestions for how to be a good teacher are:
1. PATIENCE - sometimes the student is not receptive or tired or not catching on quickly, hard to be patient, so have to dig deep and find the patience somewhere to get his/her attention back and go more slowly.
2. CREATIVITY - I am not one to follow a schedule strictly. Sometimes, during the lesson, I think of something from the work we are doing and create an exercise to get that point across. I also make my own worksheets with the help of the Internet and my own creative ideas. I find it easier if I can use my brain to make different worksheets and the students pick up on your initiative.
3. GET SOME REST BEFORE A LESSON - I find if I am tired at the start of a lesson, it becomes a very difficult time and I lose patience and just want it to end! It is difficult to dig deep especially in one -one -one sessions if you are tired. I have to concentrate so much harder and put in so much more effort if I am feeling tired and lazy. Sometimes I don't feel like going to a lesson, but I drink some cold water and once I am there, I am fine.
4. KEEP THE LESSON INTERESTING AND TRY TO USE THE STUDENT'S HOBBIES ETC. IN THE LESSON - I find if I can relate the lesson to something the student understands and is excited about, he/she is more receptive and stays focused. The worst thing is when you feel that the student is losing interest and getting bored. So keep the lessons exciting, bring in an activity when you see the student fading and give homework, e.g. Comprehension relating to something the student is doing in his/her life. (Of course this is for one on one or small classes). I once taught 3 Indian Computer Programmers English - I was so educated by the end of the course in Programming, I could have written my own programme! I used computer stories, jokes, examples etc. so that they could relate to the content.
5. REWARD AND PRAISE - with younger students, rewarding is important. If they feel that they are getting somewhere and that you are happy with their progress, they will be much more keen on keeping their attention on the lesson. Use starcharts, Snakes and Ladders for points (let them read flashcards and have a turn at the Snakes and Ladders if they get the word right), Scrabble, stickers etc. For adults, just praise when they do a good job of an exercise, even adults like praise! Never get cross when they do something wrong, just point out and guide, but when they do an excellent piece of work, praise and encourage.
Janine Goodson - South Africa

To be a great teacher you need:
1. patience
2. a loud voice
3. commitment
4. understanding
5. knowledge of your subject
Kerry Lambourne

1. Tons of patience, perseverance, and determination
2. Loads of love
3. Knowledge of students - their learning needs, problems and preferences
4. Good sense of humour
5. Strong belief in the inherent potential of each student
Law Yekulan
Persistence to keep trying when the going gets tough
Optimism to believe that learning is happening
Reflection to consider how to teach better next time
Energy to keep giving out what students need
Good humour to keep things in perspective.
And about another zillion skills, qualities and characteristics which we strive for!!
Suzanne Weiss, New Zealand

1. sense of humour
2. knowledge of your subject
3. prepared to admit that you don't know it all
4. ability to make your students relaxed
5. empathy with your students about the challenges of learning
The Rosmans, Australia
    Manage your time wisely.
    Understand that teaching is hard work.
    Plan effective lessons. Be organized and prepared.
    Learn to recover quickly.
    Teach students at their level.
    Observe other teachers.
    Refrain from lecturing.
    Refrain from "Textbook Teaching"
    Focus on Student's Strengths.
    Allow and encourage students to work cooperatively.
    Avoid homework overload.
    Make learning fun.
    Encourage active student participation.
    Challenge students to think critically.
    Use authentic means of assessment.
    Vary your teaching strategies.
    Make decisions on what's best for students.
    Maintain a positive reputation.
    Choose your reactions.
    Be the best you can be.
    Dress like a professional.
    Be a role model for your students.
    Avoid acting when angry
    Do not allow your personal problems to spill over into the classroom.
    Celebrate the uniqueness of your students.
    Light a spark in your students.
    Give your students more credit than they deserve.
    Make every student your "favourite".
    Set the stage for success.
    Provide positive feedback.
    Have positive expectations for ALL students.
    Encourage improvement, not perfection.
    Remember that little things make a big difference.
    MA. Eshter Linares, Spain

1. wisdom
2. knowledge
3. love
4. method
5. enthusiastic about teaching
Mamie Flower, China
 Linguaenglish offers English language courses abroad all year round

  • These are from "Teachers of English as a Second Language List" (TESL-L@LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU)
In my own opinion, there is very little actual guided practice teaching going on in most teacher training programs which accounts in part for why so many teachers can’t teach. I remember a former professor I had in graduate school (after I had taught for many years) saying that any teacher trainer who did not go back into the ESL classroom to teach regularly was a fraud.
It wasn’t until I got overseas and saw the British CELTA model of teaching ESL that I saw truly good teaching, especially at beginner and intermediate levels. Student teachers are put before a class almost immediately, given interactive role plays of difficult classroom situations, and shown specific techniques which make their teaching more effective.
In contrast, many US universities concentrate on theory. Students attend many hours of lectures on various aspects of second language acquisition, but are shown few actual skills and methods for engaging and teaching students. It’s interesting that many of the professors teaching these classes have not taught ESL for years or even decades.
Yes, theory is important in understanding how to teach, but neophyte teachers need instruction in specific aspects of teaching and they get these skills best from good teachers. For example, when I was teaching English overseas, I noticed that other teachers used the blackboard in a consistently organized way rather than the haphazard ways that I had observed my teachers and other American students doing. Use of the blackboard wasn’t even addressed in any of my classes. I copied the organized method. Before class, the left third of the board was marked off for an outline of what the class would cover that day. The middle third of the board was marked off for explanations of the points covered that day. The right side of the board was marked off for a list of new vocabulary. This is a simple example of a classroom skill which can easily be taught in teacher training classes and is more valuable than theory for new teachers. It takes a teacher trainer who has a lot of hands-on experience with real (not theoretical) students to prepare a new teacher for success in a classroom.
Lesley Woodward MA, M.Ed. TESOL, Cleveland, OH

After more than forty years of working in different fields of EFL (teacher trainer, materials writer, course designer, communication consultant) I find myself back in the schools as a volunteer tutor. And I am saddened at what I see: L2 learners floundering in reams of disorganised pages or discouraged by over busy course books with half finished exercises or baffled by lists of rules incorrectly and incompletely copied from a whiteboard. Their lack of belief in their ability to succeed incapacitates them. They are afraid even to try.
And it occurred to me that while we have spent some weeks discussing the interesting topic 'What makes a good teacher?', we might more profitably be listing 'What makes a good language learner?'. I know there is research on what makes a good language learner. The question is: Do we ever share this information with the learners themselves? Can we offer them strategies which will enable them to break out of the cages they've built themselves into? Is there anything we should be telling them to ensure they never get into those cages in the first place?
Lola Katz, Israel

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