WHAT MAKES GREAT TEACHING?

Hello my friends!

Teacher quality is what teachers know and bring to the classroom. Teaching quality is what teachers do with what they know once they get inside the classroom. It includes the strategies and techniques teachers use to get students to learn. These strategies include understanding and applying the evidence on how students learn, using instructional best practices, enhancing strategies for instructional observation and evaluation, providing effective and ongoing professional development and establishing a common vision for philosophical beliefs about students and teaching (Kaplan & Owings, 2002).

There are many variables that affect instruction including the subject, grade level, learners’ needs and desired outcomes. Effective instruction promotes excellence and student learning outcomes through best-practices and teaching practices based on high standards of instruction and student engagement.  It includes elements such as effective questioning and use of assessment by teachers. Students’ perceptions of their learning environment influence their approaches to learning (Ramsden, 2003). For instance, they are more likely to demonstrate deep approaches to learning when they perceive that teaching is high quality, they have some voice in what is to be learned, and they are aware of the goals and standards required in the unit. Specific practices, like reviewing previous learning, providing model responses for students, giving adequate time for practice to embed skills securely and progressively introducing new learning (scaffolding) are also elements of high quality instruction.
Effective teaching practices need to occur in physically and psychologically safe climates. A safe learning environment is the keystone for learning. Effective teachers create physically and emotionally safe learning environments in which students can take academic risks, make mistakes, obtain feedback and revise their initial ideas and understandings (Kaplan & Owings, 2002).

The positive effects of high quality teaching are especially significant for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Evidence suggests that when taught by very effective teachers, students can gain an extra year’s worth of learning (Hanushek, 1992, Sutton trust, 2011). Research evidence from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development affirms that “teacher quality” is the most important school variable influencing student achievement (2005).

According to Christopher Day and Qing Gu in their book Resilient Teachers, Resilient Schools, Building and Sustaining Quality in Testing Times, the definition of quality in teachers should be understood in the broadest possible sense. It goes beyond the technocratic concerns for performativity and test results. The continuing aspiration for quality is driven by teachers’ sense of vocation and care about and for their pupils. It is about the extra mile that the best teachers willingly travel to motivate each one of their pupils to learn and to bring about the best possible achievement in them. It is related to their passion, commitment and continuing enthusiasm for their own learning and development which is importantly supported by their school and which results in an abiding sense of efficacy, hope and belief that they can and do continue to make a difference in the classroom.

Thank you very much for reading!

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

GREAT TEACHING AND THE POWER OF WORDS

 

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Throughout human history, our greatest leaders and thinkers have used the power of words to transform our emotions, to enlist us in their causes, and to shape the course of destiny. Words can not only create emotions, they create actions. And from our actions flow the results of our lives.

Anthony Robbins

Hello my friends!

Words can hurt and shock, or they can heal and lift spirits. Words can change lives, for better or for worse. Words are not only powerful, but they can have a last impact.

Be aware of students’ feelings when receiving assessed work back because they can be particularly sensitive to any comments you have written on their work. Giving students face-to-face feedback can be very powerful and productive. Good feedback promotes involvement and shows that the teacher is taking an active interest in the learner. The Great teacher speaks genuinely and listen openly. Spending time with a student means a great deal. Whenever it is feasible turn to them for help. Say thanks. Be on the lookout for even little things the student does that are meaningful to you. Be specific as to what you appreciate. Ask a question. The Great teacher is open to their suggestions. When the student does something positive, acknowledge it. Recognize the positive result.

Bob Greene writes: “A few words though they mean little at the time to the people who say them, can have enormous power. We need to be more aware of the effect that our words might have on someone else. We also need to understand that words we often utter carelessly or while in an emotional state can have a lasting impact. Greene points out that positive words can also have a major influence and can last a lifetime. His story is about a professional writer who was shy and lacked confidence in his childhood. But something happened in his high school English class that changed his life. It was a routine occurrence-his teacher returned a writing assignment to him. He doesn’t even remember what the grade on that paper was, but he does remember the four words she had written on it: “This is good writing.” This was a young man who liked to write and often dreamed of composing short stories, but he lacked the confidence until that day. His teacher’s little note got him to think differently about his abilities, and it was the beginning of  a successful career in writing. To this day he believes that it would never have happened without those four words written in the margin of his paper. Greene concluded his article this way: “So few words. They can change everything.”

Great teachers use words of encouragement. And words of encouragement create an atmosphere in which students can thrive!

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx