What does it mean to be an effective teacher?
There are many factors that contribute to what it means to be an effective teacher. They could be someone who has a deep understanding of what they are teaching and skills to create an ideal environment to encourage positive learning outcomes for students regardless of their background or ability (Victorian Department of Education & Training, 2005). They will have the ability to develop a variety of strategies and practices to support student’s learning through planning, implementing and evaluating their lessons and a positive philosophy on pedagogy. Some other factors that form a successful and effective teacher could include having a professional attitude, a variety of knowledge from a range of areas and exceptional planning and organisational skills. An effective teacher will have the means to successfully manage a classroom, an ongoing commitment to professional development and of course, an ability to relate to children. A philosophy, such as constructivism, reflecting the teacher’s ideals and morals and teaching abilities will also provide structure to an effective teacher.
A professional teacher encompasses a range of standards such as academic, ethical, legal, personal and cultural (professional standards, is discussed in depth further on) (Whitton, Barker, Nosworthy, Sinclair & Nanlohy, 2010). Academic standards involve attaining formal teaching qualifications and complying with the relevant state teaching authority’s requirements on supplementing qualifications with teaching certifications (Whitton et al, 2010). An effective teacher will have attained the relevant qualifications and looked into their governing body’s standards and requirements to be able to teach. Ethical standards encompass undertaking the right conduct and practice in incorporation with the schools policies and procedures and the teachers own moral ideals and being sensitive to private information and transparent in behaviour (Whitton et al, 2010).
Legal standards involve complying with child protection laws and providing relevant documentation clearing the teacher to work with children (Whitton et al, 2010). An effective teacher will provide this documentation upon application in any teaching role. Legally, teachers are also providing a duty of care to students, protecting them from any reasonable foreseeable harm whenever they are involved in a school based activity (Whitton et al, 2010).
Personal standards refer to performing the duties of the role employed for in an honest and integral manner (Whitton et al, 2010). An effective teacher will need to appropriately “dress, act, speak and behave” (Whitton et al, 2010, p. 60). Arriving to school activities in a timely manner will also show a professional attitude (Whitton et al, 2010). Finally, cultural standards refer to respecting and showing tolerance towards students, parents and fellow staff from different race and religion (Whitton et al, 2010). An effective teacher will encourage community cohesion, recognise and value other cultures and promote tolerance (NSW Department of Education & Training, 2005). A teacher with professional standards and ideals will be effective as an educator, co-worker and community leader.
An effective teacher will have developed a philosophy of teaching that fits within their ideals and provides a positive learning outcome for students. A teacher will need to decide what type of teaching approach they want to use such as an authoritarian approach which demands student compliance; a permissive approach where the teacher is more of a friend than an authority figure or; an authoritative approach where expectations are explained and self-direction is encouraged (Whitton et al, 2010). Setting goals and objectives in line with what type of teacher they intend to be, interpreting the curriculum and understanding students learning needs and abilities will help...
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