What is effective teaching?
How does effective tesching relate to learning?
What responsibilities do teachers have to motivate their students?
Are “basics” the best path to thinking skills, or should thinking skills be used as vehicle to teach basics?
These are important considerations for anyone in education because they center around the questions:
What is good teaching?
Teaching has always been a challenging profession, but changes both within and outside classroom have made it more complex. Schools are being asked to teach thinking and problem solving skills at the same time that the students they teach come from increasingly diverse and challenging backgrounds. Definitions of good or effective teaching are becoming not only crucial but becoming more complicated too.
Teachers are the most important factor in students learning next to the pupils themselves. The preeminence of teachers and of decicions they make, together with they knowledge of the research literature, are the threads that binds this together.
Knowledge of subject matter enables teachers to present topics in accurate and understandable ways. Pedagogical knowledge describes the research-based connections between learning and teaching. Teaching strategies translate this reasearch into slassroom oriented plas for action. These three components are tied together by teacher decicion making, which integrates them into puposeful teachers actions.
Effective teaching involves the ability to apply reasearch finding to classroom practice. Effective teaching also combines human relations skills, judgement, intuition, knowledge of subject matter, and understanding of learning into one unified act, resulting in improved learning for students.
Thinking about ourselves as teachers are particulary important to develops us. Their answers will influence the kind of teachers us become. As we pounder all questions about “effective teaching” we will thinking about ourselves and the classroom we’ve experienced. Each of us will form a personal definition of effective teaching. This response is as it should be: Each teacher is as unique as each student. But beyond this individual uniqueness, some strands exist that pulls this questions together.
Pursue the issues further. Does our definitions of effective teaching generalize to all levels? That is, what differences or similiarities wouls us expect to see in high schools teachers and kindergarten teachers? What about different students? Would our definitions apply equally well to low and high ability classes? Do effective teachers teach the same way at the beginning of a lesson and its completion; at the beginning of a unit and at the end; and even at the beginning of the school year and at its close?
Wow! I am sure, each of us will have answered this questions, either explicitly or implicitly, by the we enter the classroom as a teacher. Currently, the field of teaching is at a particulary exciting time in its history. Education has always been one of the most rewarding professions; but at the same time, it continues to be one of the most difficult in which to perform well. An effective teacher combines the best of human relations, intuitions, sound judgement, knowledge of subject matter, and knowledge of how people learn, and all of its in one simultaneous act. Task as a teacher is extremely complex, and one of the factors making it particularly difficult has been the lack of clear and documented of body knowledge on which to base professional decicions.