What it takes to be an effective teacher essential teaching skills
What it takes to be an effective teacher in the year 2010 and beyond.
Kylie Spencer, Jenna Wynd, Kate Williams and
Essential teaching skills required to create productive learning environments, include attitudes, organisation, communication, focus, feedback, questioning, review and closure (Eggen & Kauchak, 2009). To be an effective teacher in the year 2011 and beyond, demonstration of the essential teaching skills will be needed to capitalise student learning.
Positive attitudes in the classroom are a primary element to effective teaching. Examples of characteristics required include enthusiasm, caring modelling and high expectations. These examples all increase students motivation and increase student achievement (Eggen & Kauchak, 2009). Being approachable, knowledgeable and available to student needs will create a positive response from students.
The ability to organise and demonstrate management in the classroom directly relates to preventing management problems and enhances student learning through effective use of instructional time (Eggen & Kauchak, 2009). To be an effective teacher organisation is essential, teachers need to think clearly, make decisions and be punctual. The organisation of the class should be visually and mentally stimulating with opportunities for both group or individual work.
It has been shown that effective communication relates to student achievement and satisfaction (Eggen & Kauchakm 2009). There are four elements to effective communication as stated by Eggen & Kauchak (2009),
Precise language; teacher talk that is clear, simple with appropriate explanations and responds to student questions.
Connected discourse; instruction that is on track and leads to a point.
Transition signals; verbalisation that one idea is ending and the beginning of another.
Emphasis; cues that warn students to important information.
Throughout a lesson the use of stimuli by teachers helps maintain attention. This can be in the form of a picture, object, or model. The classroom should be visually and mentally stimulating without being distracting and losing student focus.
Is the information received by a student, to provide knowledge of the accuracy of their work. It can be through praise, where important detail should be taken to use effectively, or written feedback, that may be used in response to a formal assessment (McMillan, 2011).
The use of questioning is a applicable tool for initiating class discussion. With practice and effort effective questioning can be mastered. Characteristics of effective questioning include questioning frequency; number of questions during a lesson, prompting; additional questions to arrive at an appropriate response, equitable distribution; equal calling on students and wait-time; the silence before and after calling on a student (Eggen & Kauchak, 2009).
Review & Closure
Reviewing is the revision of what has already been learned to what is going to be learnt next. This method can activate what prior knowledge is needed to understand the current material. Closure is the reviewing that takes place at the end of a topic, this organises what students have learnt and brings different subject matter together.
Future teaching strategies
Productive classrooms of the future may involve greater use of group, class discussions to maximise learning for students through more creative means of assessment. Where class interaction will engage students and guide them to construct understanding which makes sense to them (Eggen & Kauchak, 2009) and develop lifelong learning skills. Teachers of the future will continue with the essential teaching skills needed to be effective teachers, the possibilities of outside distraction during class will grow, due to technology. Greater use of interactive online devices and motionless activity will isolate and limit face to face communication, the encouragement of group work, will both, maximise learning for students and benefit students through increased socialisation (University of Sydney, n.d.).
Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D (2009) Educational Psychology – Windows on classrooms (8th ed) – Pearson International edition, New Jersey: Pearson Education
McMillan, J.H. (2011). Classroom Assessment: Principles and Practice for Effective Standards-Based Instruction. Fifth Edition. Boston: Pearson.
University of Sydney. (n.d), Benefits of group work. Retrieved from http://sydney.edu.au/education_social_work/groupwork/docs/BenefitsOfGW.pdf