What does it mean to be an effective teacher?

A person who has enough knowledge about a particular topic may teach; however the question remains, does this make them an effective teacher? Even though there are many contributing factors that can affect a student’s performance such as physical, psychological, sociological, and economical, it should be noted that no student enters school as a “failure”. It comes down to the processes and procedures that the teacher employs, which are the main cause of student’s success or failure (Lembo, as cited in Westwood, 2004, p. 9). An effective teacher will employ processes, rocedure and attitudes that maximises understanding and enables a student to easily process and apply that learning to their daily lives. Furthermore, an effective teacher is a person who is able to encourage and motivate a student to promote a positive learning environment. Before discussing the aspects of effective teaching, it would be fitting to firstly discuss what teaching is. A teacher can be seen as a person who provides opportunities for students to learn.

The teacher’s main goal is to relay information and to impart knowledge to the learner; however becoming an effective eacher is more than Just a process of transmitting information onto students. It is about the ability to take “raw’ content and transform that information into understandable and meaningful knowledge. By doing this, the student will be able to easily absorb this information and access deep knowledge. The process of accessing deep knowledge involves key steps which Killen (2005, p. 9) suggests are, identifying the important concepts and principles that students need to learn, organizing those concepts and principles into a coherent structure, devising effective ways of explaining the key ideas and their relationships, identifying themes and ssues that will help students integrate their knowledge, and developing learning experiences that will lead students to deep understanding. Killen’s approach displays how students can be lead to deep understanding when a teacher identifies concepts, principles, themes and issues and explains this is in a structured manner.

By doing this, a student can develop their learning and integrate their knowledge into another context. However before a teacher can lead a learner to deep understanding effectively, they must first have sound pedagogical knowledge. There are three aspects to Pedagogical knowledge. The first aspect of Pedagogical knowledge is knowledge of the content. In todays teaching context, teachers need to have a deep understanding of subject matter, how one idea relates to another and to everyday life. This will help assist students in creating useful cognitive maps and address misconceptions.

By having a great understanding of content, teachers will have a great base to make ideas accessible for others. The second aspect of Pedagogical knowledge is knowledge of teaching. Knowledge of teaching is about understanding the best ways to relay information onto their students. Teachers are required to access their deep knowledge and come up with the best ways to relay the concepts and principles in a way for students to easily understand and apply. The third aspect is knowledge of learning. Before a teacher can structure concepts, ideas and how learners absorb information.

As no student are the same, a teacher must understand that there are many different learning styles and each lesson needs to be designed to cater for each student’s learning needs (Killen, 2005). The importance of pedagogy contributes to ensuring a teacher is effective. It once again displays that hrough a strong understanding of content, teaching and learning knowledge, a teacher can promote intellectual quality, a positive learning environment and meaningful learning for all students regardless of their level of achievement or ability. In the Schools. tv video – “Maths – A Lesson on Shapes”, Ms.

Poole displays how the use of Pedagogical Knowledge is important to being an effective teacher. She uses her knowledge of subject matter to create a lesson that allows her to relate the information on to her students in such a way that enables them to relate it to the real orld, for example finding right angles on a variety of different objects. She uses her teaching knowledge by creating a lesson that uses constructivism and scaffolding, which can be seen through group work. This promotes student interaction so students can bounce ideas off one another and challenge their thinking.

Finally, by using different types of aids and constructing group activities for three different abilities, Ms. Poole has used her knowledge of learners to cater for different learner types and abilities (Davies, 2008). Effective teachers are those whom are prepared by aving a well planned lesson plan as this determines the success or failure of the lesson. The follow up lesson plan – “Mass – Comparing masses of objects using balance scales. “(Refer to Appendix 1), has been formulated to contain all aspects of Pedagogical knowledge to ensure the success of the lesson.

It contains content knowledge, which is broken down and easy to read. This will ensure the teacher can effectively relay information onto students, which is easily understood. The lesson plan contains teacher knowledge through the connection to the curriculum and syllabus, timing and pace. By allowing for adequate timing and pace, a student can think through their knowledge and apply this to another context. Moreover, the lesson plan contains leaner knowledge as it adopts approaches such as group discussions, group work and scaffolding techniques to cater for the different learner types and abilities.

To broaden the aspect of teacher and learner knowledge, there are many strategies such as group work, role-play or discussion that could be used to strengthen the understanding and deep knowledge in students (Barry and King, 2004). There are many factors when choosing the most appropriate strategy such as ubject matter, age, ability and learner types however it is most important to choose a strategy based on what the teacher want students to achieve at the end of the lesson.

For example, a teacher wanting to show a student how to throw a ball will use a demonstration as their teaching approach compared to a teacher wanting a student to explore a topic and analyse may use discovery learning. These two approaches use two different types of cognitive thinking (Barry and King, 2004). An effective teacher would choose strategies that enable students to think, reason and ebate their understanding as this allows them to process content in their own way. Spady suggested (as cited in Killen, 2005, p. 6) that “all students can learn and succeed, but not in the same day or in the same way’. This means that each student has their own way to absorb information. It is important to remember that learning is opportunities to interact and discuss with each other will cater for different learner needs and allows students to absorb information in their preferred way and at their own pace (Killen, 2007, p. 73). There are two types of teaching strategies, which include teacher-centred and learner-centred.

There are a number of differences between the two strategies such as how the lesson is organised, how interactive lessons are, what the teacher does and how learning is approached by the learners themselves. The teacher-centred approach is focused on the teacher being a transmitter of information and is a more direct approach where students have less control of what they are learning and how they learn it. Whereas Student-centred approaches are more focused on what students do to achieve the required outcome, not what the teachers do.

It allows students more control in their role as a learner and how they learn the specified content. Some teacher-centred approaches include lectures, observations, direct instruction or expository teaching. Some student- centred approaches include constructivism, group work and discovery learning (Killen, 2007, p. 73). If a teacher only uses one approach, they will not allow for equal learning opportunities. Alexander has suggested (as cited in Weston, 2004, p. 87) that an effective teacher should have a combination of three approaches. The first approach is direct teaching.

This will allow the teacher to instruct learners exactly what to do and how to do it. The second approach is enquiry. This enables students o get their ideas across, solve problems, challenges their thinking and assists students in reflecting on their learning. The third approach is scaffolding, which assists students in their learning and allows them to progress from one level to the next. By having a combination of teaching strategies a teacher will be able to cater for all learning needs. In the Schools. tv video, Ms. Poole uses a combination of strategies; however it is evident that the lesson is very student-centred.

She starts the lesson with direct teaching. This allows her to instruct the class of what to do and how to do it. She uses enquiry and scaffolding throughout the lesson as seen in her group discussions and group work. The group discussions allow students to interact socially so they can exchange ideas and through group work, students are able to solve problems and challenge their own thinking. Moreover, by scaffolding her students, Ms. Poole ensures that her students can progress from one level of understanding to the next (Davies, 2008). By having a combination of teaching strategies, Ms.

Poole can effectively cater for all learning needs. The follow up lesson plan (Refer to Appendix 1), takes on a mainly a student-centred approach; however ike the previous lesson, it has a combination of teaching strategies to cater for all learners. The lesson beings with a direct teaching approach in order for the teacher to access prior knowledge and link this lesson to the previous. Throughout the lesson, enquiry is used through questioning and group work. This again allows students to interact socially and get their ideas across so they can challenge their thinking with other students.

Finally, by having a mixed ability activity in this lesson, not only does the teach scaffold students, but the more able can scaffold the less able students. To gain reiterate a point, by having a combination of teaching approaches and strategies a teacher will be able to cater for all students learning types, which will allow for more effective teaching. It is important to also note that an effective teacher the type of person they are. A teacher who may have all the knowledge in the world about teaching, but are really negative, arrogant or boring as a person may not get the respect or care of their students.

This in effect may mean that a school experience for a student can be negative and student learning will diminish. A question put forward by Killen (as cited in Faull n. ) was, “What type of person does a teacher need to be in order to implement each of the elements of Quality Teaching Effectively? ” The question asked by Killen is of great importance as it suggests effective teaching should include the emotional and mental outlook of the teacher as an individual. So what are the characteristics that separate good teachers from exceptional teachers?

Killen (2005, p. 33) described exceptional teachers as knowledgeable, enthusiastic, confident, effective communicators, committed, compassionate, patient and persistent. Furthermore, they are resourceful, inventive, well organized, optimistic and ethical. Similarly, Batten, Marland, Kham’s, Morgan and Morris (as cited in Westwood, 2004) has described a student’s view of a good teacher is a person who explains content well, makes lessons enjoyable, has a sense of humour, cares about students, is ready to listen and is understanding.

Through extensive research, it is evident that effective teaching goes beyond pedagogical practices. An effective teacher has a particular set of characteristics, which allows them to motivate, encourage, understand and inspire students. In effect this contributes toa positive learning environment and effective learning. In the Schools. tv video, Ms. Poole has the characteristics of an effective teacher. Her statements are always positive and it is evident that she cares for her students, which can be seen through her reward system of “Star of the day’. Ms.

Poole is helpful throughout her lesson and assists her students through scaffolding techniques. She encourages the class to help each other and makes the lesson a very interactive one (Davies, 2008). Through her characteristics as a person, Ms. Poole makes her lesson a positive learning environment, which motivates students and promotes learning. The follow up lesson plan (Please refer to Appendix 1) has been ormulated to bring out characteristics of an effective teacher. Throughout the lesson, the teacher is required to be attentive, motivating and encourage all students.

The teacher is to provide constructive feedback and scaffolding where necessary. By having group work and group discussion, it will promote social interaction so that the teacher can gage the level of understanding of all students. By being motivating, encouraging and providing constructive feedback, the teacher will be able to make the lesson fun, which will bring about a positive learning environment and promote learning. In conclusion, an effective teacher is a person who adopts processes, procedure and attitudes, which maximises student understanding.

This can be done by having sound Pedagogical knowledge and using this knowledge to come up with appropriate strategies that enable students to effectively relay information onto students that is meaningful, easy for them to absorb and apply. Furthermore, by being caring understanding, encouraging and motivating a teacher can get the respect and care of their students, which will promote a positive learning environment. Barry, K. , King, L. (2004). Beginning Teaching and Beyond. South Melbourne: Social Science Press. Davies, P. (2008, August 22). Maths – a Lesson on Shapes [Video file].

Retrieved from http://www. schoolsworld. tv/node/2066? terms=644 Faull, A. (n. d). Research and Scholarship. Highly effective teachers, 3, 32-39. Retrieved from http://www. ministryofteaching. edu. au/Journal/pdfs/volume_3/v013_n02b- teach_Journal_09. pdf Killen, R. (2005). Programming and assessment for quality teaching and learning. Quality teaching and learning, 1, 33-44. Retrieved from http:// edocs. library. curtin. edu. au/eres_display. cgi? url=dc60263620. pdf=1 Killen, R. (2007). Effective teaching strategies: lessons from research and practice.

Planning for quality teaching and learning, 3, 66-87. Retrieved from http:// edocs. library. curtin. edu. au/eres_display. cgi? url=dc60266893. pdf=1 New South Wales Department of Education and Training. (2003). Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate. Quality teaching in NSW public schools. Retrieved from https://www. det. nsw. edu. au/proflearn/docs/pdf/qt_EPSColor. pdf Westwood, W. (2004). Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities. Reducing Educational Failure, 3, 79-89. Retrieved from http://www. hrass. com. au/research/EffectiveTeaching. df LESSON PLAN Learning Area Year Time Date Maths – Measurement 2 9:30 – 10:30arn Tuesday May 5 Topic/ Lesson Title Mass – Comparing masses of objects using balance scales. PREPARATION Follow up lesson for Maths – A Lesson on Shapes http://www. schoolsworld. tv/node/2066? terms=644 Rationale / Goal The purpose of this lesson is to familiarise students with masses between different objects whether they are more, less or about the same size and to target literacy, numeracy and creative thinking skills. Learning area links as per curriculum/ syllabus

Overarching Learning Outcomes 5 – Students describe and reason about patterns, structures and relationships in order to understand, interpret, Justify and make predictions. Learning Area Outcomes (ACMMG038) – Compare masses of objects using balance scales (http://www. australiancurriculum. edu. auNear2) Children’s prior knowledge/experience The previous lesson is linked with LAO: (ACMMG042) Describe and draw two-dimensional shapes, with and without digital technologies (ACMMG043) Describe the features of three-dimensional objects All students are able to sort, make and describing shapes.

All students are able to recreate nets into 3D shapes All students can identify right angles on both 2D and 3D shapes. Objectives At the end of the lesson the children will be able to identify if the mass of different objects are more, less or about the same by using balance scales. Preparation / Resources Balance scales & objects of various shapes, sizes and weights. PROCEDURE Introduction/Motivation Minutes: 5 Show the class a pebble and a grape. Ask students – “Which do you think is heavier, the pebble or the grape? ” Get some responses and ask students to Justify their answer – “Why do you think that is heavier?

Main Body of the lesson Minutes: 40 Class discussion (1 5 minutes) Provide a connection to last the lesson – “Last week we learnt about sorting, making and describing 2D and 3D shapes. Today we will learn about the mass of different types of shapes and objects. ” Ask students – “Does anyone know what mass means? Have a think about it, discuss it with your partner what they think mass means. ” Provide wait time and get student responses – Respond to student responses Explain the meaning of mass and the difference between mass and weight.

After explanation, connect back to students previous responses – Ask students “Now who till thinks the grape is heavier? ” Show class a demonstration (ensure there is adequate explanation during the demonstration – Get the pebble and grape and weigh each object so students can clearly see that even though the 2 objects are the same mass (shape/size), they weigh differently. Check understanding with students – “Who can tell me why one the pebble was heavier than the grape? Group activity (25 minutes) Students are formed into groups – Ensure groups are mixed ability groups so the more able students can scaffold less able students.

Each group are provided with 6 bjects, all of varying sizes, shapes and weights. Students are to discuss with each other and make a prediction on which items they think are in the light category, heavy category or about the same. Predictions are recorded in their notebooks via drawing/labelling. As a group, students are to weigh objects to determine if they are in the light category, heavy category or about the same and compare them with their previous predictions. Closure/ Student reflection Minutes: 15 Ask students to finish up, collect all workbooks and start packing up. Students are to sit back on the mat.

Allow students to self assess their progress by asking how each group they feel they went with the task, what they found easy/hard and if many made their predictions correctly. Check for understanding by showing the class some images e. g. elephant, mouse, house, cup, pen etc. After each image shown, ask students – “Who can tell me if this object is supposed to be in the light or heavy category? ” Assessment Walk around each group and observe their predictions and accuracy of results after they measure each object. Ask – “Is anyone having difficulty? “, “Does anyone need help?

If assistance is required, ensure assistance is given by scaffolding. Listen to student’s discussions and language used. Mark student’s workbooks. Make notes on who struggled with the task and who found it easy. Review and reflect on the effectiveness of your teaching Were adequate questioning and scaffolding techniques used to access deep knowledge? Did the group structure work? How well did the group work together? Were the more able students able to scaffold the less able? Was there enough encouragement, motivation and constructive feedback? Was there enough wait time allowed for students to think, reason and debate?

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