5 Things That an Effective Teacher Should Know
What makes a great teacher? What makes a poor one? How much influence does a teacher really have in forming our strengths, weaknesses, and passions? Think back to your student years. Which teachers stick in your mind, and why?
A few years ago, the British government started a campaign to encourage graduates to enroll in teacher training programs. The campaign’s central concept was to eliminate the prejudice against teaching as an “easy option,” and to present it as it really is: an academic career that is important, inspiring, and should be highly respected. The slogan read, “Those who can, teach. It was simple, it was catchy, and it worked. But what does it actually mean?
The purpose of this article is to look at what that word “can” really means for a good teacher. What abilities does a teacher need to have in order to inspire and educate a classroom of young minds? What does he or she need to know? What does he or she need to be aware of? How might a teacher transmit his or her knowledge to a classroom of individuals? This article outlines the kinds of information a teacher should collect, know, and use about their students and the school system. It discusses the creation of an effective classroom environment, and looks at various methods of classroom management.
What should I know about the school environment? The school environment includes the structure, schedule, space, curriculum, coursework, and the approach to socialization. School environments are highly variable.
Most schools cluster grades into preschool, elementary, middle, and high school. The early childhood environment is holistic, and focuses on providing students with skills such as following directions and sharing. The elementary environment moves from learning the basics of math and reading to applying the lessons learned. The middle school environment involves more electives. In high school, students begin to narrow down career choices.
What types of curricula exist in schools? Curricula range widely from school to school. It is important to be aware of your school’s curriculum. Subject-centered curricula, the most common in American schools, focus on a single area, such as World War II. All students study the same thing. Student-centered curricula allow more freedom for students to explore learning. States have differing amounts of oversight regarding curricula. However, all have established standards or benchmarks that students are expected to reach.
What are the attributes of an effective teacher? Effective teachers generally have some or all of the following attributes: they are enthusiastic; have a positive attitude; are knowledgeable about the subject, curriculum, and pedagogical content; are good group leaders; and are ethical and passionate. Furthermore, teachers should take responsibility for their professional development, and should stay up to date with the latest theories and methods.
How can I create a classroom environment that is conducive to learning? In order to create an optimal classroom environment, it is important to first focus on the physical space. Ensure that desks are placed so all students can see the teacher. Put students with behavior problems or disabilities in the “action zone” (front and center). Create learning centers around the classroom. Next, establish clear ground rules and be consistent in enforcing them. Have a plan for every moment of the day, so there is no time for students to create problems. Demonstrate that you care for the students, and focus on creating a positive classroom atmosphere.
How should I approach classroom management? It is important to first diagnose the causes of misbehavior. Home environments influence students’ behavior in school. Teachers should be sensitive to the home environments students are coming from. The classroom environment can also affect student behavior. Ensure that there is good air circulation, that the temperature is ideal, and that desks and chairs fit the students. A mismatch between student ability and the material being taught can also affect behavior.
Poor teaching habits can also lead to misbehavior. Treat all students with respect. Never raise your voice or speak in a disparaging manner. Leave your personal problems at home.
Physical and psychological factors such as ADHD or substance abuse can also affect student behavior, and teachers should make an effort to be aware of these.
There are various approaches to classroom management. These include various approaches to promoting self-discipline, which focus on helping students control and modify their own behavior, and the desist approach, in which teachers use various tools, such as positive and negative reinforcement, to promote good behavior.
In order to motivate students, it is important to increase student participation, allow and encourage students to work on topics that they are interested in, and create a flexible environment in the classroom.
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