What Is an Effective Teacher?

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What is an Effective teacher?

An effective teacher is one who is able to successfully motivate students to learn and equip them with the necessary knowledge, skills and values required to participate in adult life. To achieve this, teachers must continue to develop their own knowledge, incorporate various productive pedagogies and classroom management techniques; and ensure equal learning opportunity for all students.

TEACHING AND LEARNING It is imperative that teachers recognise that they are role models to students in regards to attitudes toward learning and adult life. Effective teachers must continually develop their knowledge and skills in relation to their subject matter and more importantly, “they must be able to communicate this knowledge to the students or demonstrate how to access it in a way that shows its utility or place in the world outside school” (McInerney & McInerney, 2006, p.13).Maintaining connections with professionals that are involved in the subject area outside the school environment is a great way of ensuring this knowledge is current.

In addition to being subject matter experts, teachers must stay in tune with the ongoing developments in education policy, as reform is an essential element of effective schooling. Teaching reform ensures that students receive the best possible learning opportunities based on extensive research in a variety of fields, such as psychology and education. As a result of this ongoing change, teaching is increasingly being viewed “not as the end point of some training course but rather as a lifelong process which includes continual learning, critical reflection and growth” (McInerney & McInerney, 2006, p.27). This continual learning and growth provides an increased ability for teachers to effectively adapt their choice of pedagogy within the classroom     Page 1 

and to conform to the nation's evolving expectations of teachers.

PRODUCTIVE PEDAGOGY AND CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT “Effective teaching is a product of a very complex set of variables” (McInerney & McInerney, 2006, p.19) often referred to as 'productive pedagogies'. The effective use of these teaching techniques encourages students to maximise their learning potential through motivation, working in a positive environment, focusing on learning outcomes, and most importantly giving a sense of purpose to learning.

A large component of effective teaching involves the creation of lessons that stimulate student involvement and maintain on-task behaviour. This behaviour assists the teacher in management of the classroom and minimises the requirement of reactive disciplinary action. Edwards and Watts add that “discipline problems are rare in classrooms in which students are involved and interested and in which they are appreciated and loved” (Edwards & Watts, 2004, p.300).

An effective teacher must be able to plan and adapt their lessons to cater for the various circumstances that may arise in the classroom; to ensure that students are stimulated by the content. However, “even in the most well-managed classroom, teachers cannot foresee or plan for every contingency. Classrooms are dynamic places” (Edwards & Watts, 2004, p.300).

To achieve active student involvement in learning, effective teachers must provide students with intellectually challenging classrooms. The intellectual quality of learning material encourages a deeper knowledge and understanding of subject content, by encouraging higher-order thinking. Presenting knowledge as problematic promotes constructive learning where greater emphasis is     Page 2 

placed on students solving problems through exploration and discovery, rather than direct teaching. This method can often result in unpredictable outcomes, and it allows “multiple, contrasting and potentially conflicting forms of knowledge” to be represented, instead of subject content being represented as merely a “body of truth to be acquired by students” (Hayes, Mills, Christie &...
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