March 2nd, 2010

Characteristics of Good Teachers


Occasionally we need a reminder like this: based on a thorough literature review, Paul Ramsden, a noted researcher on teaching and learning, along with several co-authors offered this description of good teachers.

· Good teachers are also good learners; for example, they learn through their own reading, by participating in a variety of professional-development activities, by listening to their students, by sharing ideas with their colleagues, and by reflecting on classroom interactions and students’ achievements. Good teaching is therefore dynamic, reflective, and constantly evolving.

· Good teachers display enthusiasm for their subject and a desire to share it with their students.

· Good teachers know how to modify their teaching strategies according to the particular students, subject matter, and learning environment.

· Good teachers encourage learning for understanding and are concerned with developing their students’ critical-thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and problem-approach behaviors.

· Good teachers demonstrate an ability to transform and extend knowledge, rather than merely transmitting it; they draw on their knowledge of their subject, their knowledge of their learners, and their general pedagogical knowledge to transform the concepts of the discipline into terms that are understandable to their students.

· Good teachers set clear goals, use valid and appropriate assessment methods, and provide high-quality feedback to their students.

· Good teachers show respect for their students; they are interested in both their professional and their personal growth, encourage their independence, and sustain high expectations of them.

The description sets the bar high. But it so ably captures the essence of what we should aspire to be and do for our students.

Reference, Ramsden, P. D., Margetson, E. M. and Clarke, S. Recognizing and Rewarding Good Teaching. Canberra: Australian Government Printing Services, 1995.