Friday, December 30, 2011

What makes an excellent teacher?

In an article in The Guardian Teacher Network called What makes a brilliant teacher, British teacher Adam Lopez gives his take on what makes a teacher excellent by first asking what is a true teacher:
Do we, as an educational community actually realize what makes a true teacher? Is it purely down to perfect pedagogy, rigorous planning and assessing, diligent resource making and clever behavior management; or is there something more?
He says there is something different to add to the mix which he calls the T Factor.
In my experience, teachers with the T Factor, run a happy, high achieving environment in which the pupils feel content, valued and achieve high respective standards academically and behaviorally. These teachers create a sense of awe and wonder to develop inquiring minds with an insatiable thirst for learning that endures.
The T Factor has to do with building a rapport with students.
 Emotional intelligence and empathy are two huge features of a T factor teacher's practice. Knowing how, when, and what to say in order to bring about conditions in which educational attachment flourishes, is an incredibly subtle yet powerful tool.
  The T Factor approach to education via empathetic and emotionally intelligent interactions helps us recognize and appeal to the humanity in people; educating them from the inside out, and not the outside in.
 Here are the author's tips for building the T Factor into your teaching.

Simply stated: build rapport, be empathetic, be positive, watch your body language, have a sense of humor, never be mean, chill out, and be reflective.

One comment in the notes sums up a similar attitude towards effective teaching:

I want children that I've taught to feel positive, to go home and tell their parents what they've done that day - not feel down, grumble. I want them to look forward to tomorrow.

It all sound highly effective to me and certainly sounds like the teachers that I admire. I hope and aspire to be such a teacher. Adam's tips are a good resource that might be worth printing out and posting near your desk where you can see it throughout the day.