What does it mean to be an effective teacher?

Topics: Education, Educational psychology, Teacher Pages: 9 (3185 words) Published: December 4, 2013
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. 79). An effective teacher will employ processes, procedure 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 teacher 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. 39) 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 issues 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 today’s 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 principles and effectively relay this information onto learners, they must understand 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 through 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...
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