This module explores the characteristics of effective teachers. You will examine observable behaviors that indicate effectiveness as a leader of instruction in the classroom, campus, and community.
According to Harry Wong, there are three main characteristics of an effective teacher:
Since effective teachers trust that their students are capable of the tasks set before them, positive expectations are the cornerstone of their beliefs. Effective teachers know that students can achieve their goals if given proper, differentiated instruction and guidance.
Effective teachers run their classrooms efficiently. They have set procedures for handling daily tasks that could otherwise become overwhelming and consume instructional time. Effective teachers are able to identify what needs to be done and find ways to consistently achieve order. They understand that the greatest discipline/management problems stem from lack of procedures. If teachers can address potential difficulties ahead of time, these situations can easily be avoided.
Effective teachers also know the content of their subject(s) and what their students need to learn. They use this knowledge to design lessons for mastery. Effective teachers are familiar with national and state standards for the content, and are able to examine data to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their students. Effective teachers teach the student, not the subject.
In his book Qualities of Effective Teachers, James Stronge defines five specific, critical areas of teacher effectiveness:
Effective teachers possess certain personality traits.
Organizing a classroom can be a daunting task. Effective teachers approach organization with a distinct plan focusing on increased student performance. Following are some considerations that help when preparing for classroom management and organization.
The effective teacher has a plan for instruction. It is important to know the exact requirements for each grade level and subject, so start by examining national, state, and district standards. The next step is to develop a blueprint for delivering the instruction. The goals for each student must be at the heart of the planning process. Everything from the supply list to how you set up your room is dependent upon your instructional goals.
Now that you know what to teach, you face the challenge of figuring out how to teach it! Since not all methods work with all students, it is your job to continually search for the best ways to inspire each of them. This will require you to stay up-to-date in current research and best-practice instruction by reading, attending conferences, participating in workshops, and joining professional organizations. The effective teacher knows how to find effective strategies to ensure that all students are learning.
Effective teachers know how each student in the classroom is doing at all times and how to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of each. These teachers continually push the students to the next level, always keeping them in Vygotsky’s “zone of proximal development.” Effective teachers are able to manage their classrooms to meet with individual students or small groups of students to ensure maximum learning.
Effective teachers do not just “happen.” They are constantly working to improve their practices through continued learning, action research, and listening to the parents, students, and communities they serve.