What Makes a Great Teacher ?


This is a widely discussed topic on weblogs. Because teaching is so complex (and therein lies part of its beauty), it is difficult to define. Some aspects are clear though.

You can certainly learn “techniques” to improve your teaching. For example: Doug Lemov, “Teach Like a Champion“. But this does not ensure that you will be a GREAT teacher.

And of course a good teacher should strive to master their subject knowledge and effective ways to teach it. I particularly like this quote from Larry Cuban in his post “Thought on Teaching“:

“Policy makers and teacher educators believe that when teachers understand deeply their subjects and possess a full repertoire of teaching skills students will learn more, do better on tests, and eventually get good jobs”.

Teaching is very multi-dimensional, and I think that “The 10 Qualities of Good Teachers” published by Peter Beidler in 1997, explains many of these dimensions. Good teachers:

1. have the desire to be a good teacher

2. take risks

3. have a positive attitude

4. never have enough time and never finish their work

5. think of teaching as a form of parenting

6. give their students confidence

7. keep their students off balance

8. motivate students by working within their own incentive system

9. don’t trust student evaluations of your teaching

10. listen to students

From the same article: “Sally Phillips in her essay, sums up a good teacher in four words:  Competence, Creativity, Collaboration, and Caring.”

So can teachers become GREAT TEACHERS? Well with the above guidelines, we can certainly improve and at least become very good teachers! Perhaps even as good as Goofy?

About webmaths

I have been teaching Mathematics in Victorian secondary schools for 30 years. I use the www to make my maths lessons better. I hope this blog will give other teachers some ideas to try in their own classes.
This entry was posted in Pedagogy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What Makes a Great Teacher ?

  1. mjcache says:

    You gotta love and enjoy it. That helps

  2. I see you have a collection of Math sites.
    Have you heard of Hooda Math?
    we are gaining popularity quick and would love it if you take a look, and if you likes us, put a link to Hooda Math
    we are recognized by NCTM.
    Thank you ,
    Michael Edlavitch

  3. webmaths says:

    Thanks for your comment Michael. I was aware of your website: Hooda Math. It has some excellent games which students and teachers at my school have played. I have now added Hooda Math to my sidebar. Keep up the development of your excellent site!
    Regards, Jeff

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