What is an Effective Teacher?
For many there are two types of teachers, the good, and the bad. However, labeling a teacher as bad is oversimplisitic as there is so much more to the story than this. Many times the success of a “good” teacher and the disappointment of a “bad” teacher have more to do with differences in the effectiveness of their teaching.
A good teacher is good because they are more effective at what they do and vice versa. A struggling teacher can become much more successful through understanding how to be more efficient at what they do. Even with limited “natural” talent, a teacher who is trained to be efficient can have success in the classroom.
So what is effective teaching? An effective teacher is most often a role model and they serve as an example of what students should strive to become. Unfortunately, ineffective teaching also provides a poor example that some students influenced by. Amazingly, such traits as aptitude, personality, attitude, and even experience are not strong indicators of effective teaching. In this post, along with several more in the future, we will look at best practice for efficient. For now we will look at one critical indicator of teaching effectiveness which is the ability to develop clear lessons.
Clear teaching is the ability of a teacher to share content in a comprehensible way. In order to have clear instruction consider the following do’s of lesson clarity
- Clear lessons allow students to following along in a systematic manner. This means that a teacher should be familiar with various forms of instructional design which takes into account how people process information. In many ways, the teacher is taking the students on a journey with him/her. The students know what they are doing, where they are going, how they are getting there, and when they will get there. Without direction, the students are lost and quickly frustrated.
- Clear lesson actual involves direct oral delivery. Direct instruction has been receiving a bad rap over the last few years as there has been more and more push towards active learning and getting away from teacher-centered instruction. However, an effective teacher connects with his audience while speaking. They are aware of student’s understanding and communicate directly without mysterious unclear language. Sparingly used, direct communication plays a critical role in the 21st century classroom.
- Clear lesson include an advance organizer. Advance organizers are pictorial representations of the content of the lesson. The purpose of organizers is to introduce a lesson, guide students through a lesson, and conclude a lesson.They provide a context in which the relationships of various ideas are seen in how they are connected.
- Clear lessons include assessing prior knowledge. Keeping with the tenets of instructional design, an effective teacher begins with a review of knowledge students should already have in order to determine where to begin the lesson of the day. In addition, information processing theories indicate that constant reviewing deepens the understanding of the students and can contribute to elaboration and higher levels of thinking.
- Clear lessons provide an application. This is an aspect of humanistic teaching, which emphasis relevancy. In a post-modern world, students need to know how they can implement the information they are learning in school. Application provides the setting in which students can connect what they learned to their own life. This experience is at the heart of constructionism. The inclusion of context helps in not only information processing but in understanding as relevance has been created for the student.
Lesson clarity is in many ways an indication of a teacher’s organizational skills. In addition, the clarity of the teacher plays a role in the academic performance of students. This is a teachable skill. Many are clearer than others but all can improve their ability to develop clear lessons. The trick is to know how well you do this and to develop steps to improve.