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

 

The Effective Teacher

Hello my friends!

I just finished a wonderful book: 12 characteristics of an effective teacher by Robert J. Walker. Inspirational Stories of Teachers Who inspired Others to Become Teachers. I would like to share with you an amazing story which made me cry!

I love you by Angela Rembert.

“The teacher who had the most profound positive effect on my life was my sixth grade teacher, Mrs Beatrice Marsh at North Birmingham Elementary School. She possessed several characteristics that made her the epitome of an effective classroom teacher. Each morning she would begin her class with a personal experience about her education. She had the ability to create an atmosphere in her classroom that made her students eager to learn.

I often reflect on the words Mrs Marsh would say to us at the end of each school day, ” If nobody has told you I love you today…I do!” Those words made the difference in my attitude and my determination to make the teacher I idolized proud”.

What a wonderful story!

Love always,

Vassiliki  xxxx

A simple proven way to overcome stress

Hello my friends!

Psychologist Guy Winch notes that it is both possible and hugely beneficial to stop negative thoughts. “Studies tell us that even a two-minute distraction is sufficient to break the urge to ruminate in that moment,” he says. In this context, Winch uses the term “rumination” to describe the act of dwelling on negative experiences, circumstances, or worries. Though it’s easy to slip into rumination, you can just as easily change the channel in your mind. Every time you catch yourself beginning to worry, stop and intentionally think about something else. The mental distraction might be something completely unrelated, such as noticing the beauty around you or remembering someone’s act of kindness. You can take this technique a step further by using mental distraction to solve or cope with the issue that’s worrying you. Reframing the way you feel about the source of worry may allow you to see an opportunity to resolve the issue.

It’s particularly easy to give in to self-criticism when dealing with challenges. But Carol Dweck, Stanford professor, researcher, and author of the book Mindset, says that one or two simple words can help your mind refocus on potential rather than failure or frustration. “Just the words ‘yet’ or ‘not yet,’ we’re finding, give kids greater confidence and a path into the future that creates greater persistence.” Yet. Not yet. “How you interpret challenges, setbacks, and criticism is your choice,” Dweck notes. “You can interpret them in a fixed mindset as signs that your talents or abilities are lacking. Or you can interpret them in a growth mindset as signs that you need to ramp up your strategies and effort, stretch yourself, and expand your abilities. It’s up to you.” Rather than berating yourself for failing to achieve a goal, remind yourself that you just haven’t accomplished it yet. The power of yet is that it allows you to believe in your potential for success. It’s a tiny word that could make a huge impact on your mind-set.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx