The 6 Qualities of Effective Teachers
by Lisa Frase
What is an effective teacher?
An effective teacher is someone who creates a learning environment where students feel safe and challenged to take chances and grow in their learning. In an effective teacher’s classroom, students are self-motivated to reach personal learning goals. Effective teachers begin where students are at and help them to continually grown in their knowledge and understanding.
There are six qualities that effective teachers must endeavor to cultivate.
Know Your Stuff
Effective teachers have a deep understanding of their subject matter, curriculum objectives, and how to teach the content to their students. In other words, they know their stuff.
Developing knowledge in your content area takes time. You may be a total science geek, but you still have to understand your teaching objectives, and know how to break them down and use effective teaching methods so that your students will “get it”.
Know Your Kids
In other words, you need to take the time to get to know your kids.
Effective teachers build personal relationships with their students. This means that they get to know their students as a person. They take interest in their students’ interests.
You can begin getting to know your students through surveys, sponge activities, and conversations. If you know that Jamal is fascinated with spiders, then you have a source of information for reaching, teaching, and motivating him by giving him the opportunity to explore his interests.
Organize & Plan
Effective teachers are organized, and take the time up front to plan out units of study thoughtfully.
Sit down and take the time to identify and prioritize learning objectives for an upcoming unit of study. Look at your calendar and timeline for teaching the unit, so that you use your time wisely. Gather materials, organize the objectives and content, and then plan your lessons thoughtfully.
Detailed planning is essential, but staying flexible in executing your plans is critical. Your goal isn’t to “get it all in”. Your goal is for your students to successfully internalize and develop the knowledge and understanding they need of the most important concepts and skills.
Collect & Analyze
Effective teachers collects data through observations and assessments, then analyzes the data to drive instruction.
Data collection is an essential part of the teaching process, but never forget that your students are not numbers. They are young human beings with emotions, dreams, ideas, and questions.
Collecting and analyzing data helps you to determine areas of strengths and weakness. This allows you to individualize instruction, create intervention strategies, and prioritize learning goals.
Reflect & Grow
Effective teachers reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their lessons and teaching methods, then consider changes that they need to make in order to improve their students’ learning outcomes.
Reflection is truly about thinking. Take the time to journal your lesson reflections daily. Search for and try out new strategies until you find the method that works. Every student is different. Every class is different. Continue to grow your thinking and build a repertoire of teaching tools.
Effective teachers do not rely on school and district staff development alone. Effective teachers develop a personal learning plan, self-educate on best teaching practices, read and apply current theory and research, and participate in learning communities with other educators.
In other words, effective teachers are always learning.
Self-education is key to growing as an instructor. Effective teachers read the latest books and professional articles, attend additional self-selected training (workshops, conferences); as well as participate in local, state, and national content related organizations.
Self-educators also participate in online learning communities with other like minded educators. They are in touch with the newest thinking and teaching methods. They discuss, ask questions, and help other teachers grow in their thinking.
Effective teachers know their subject matter and curriculum objectives, and the best methods for teaching their students. They take the time to know their students and build relationships. Effective teachers organize, plan, collect and analyze data, use the data to drive instruction, reflect on their teaching methods, make the necessary changes to improve the quality of their teaching, and continually self-educate in order to grow as a teacher.