Some teach for teaching sake, and this is one of the reasons that the noble profession of teaching is being stigmatized by unconstructive connotations. It is not impossible to erode the failures of the past and lay a new legacy in teaching; it is certainly possible if as individuals we take on the responsibility of upgrading our skills, learning new strategies and working diligently to motivate all learners to participate fully in the learning process.
Teaching is one of the oldest professions in the world and many aspire to this profession; as is the case in any other career, many of us aim to be the best and most proficient. Many of us strive to improve on what existed before. This is a natural intrinsic desire as we are creatures that like to compete; but being the best is not an entitlement. It requires hard work and focus. It is not a simple process, as it takes time, dedication, the pursuit of knowledge and proper application of cognitive skills.
In Jamaica, we have trained and untrained teachers; do you know the distinction? Trained teachers are said to have attended a formal educational institution and studied the various principles and strategies of teaching. These teachers spend significant hours as interns, completing their practicum hours before being deemed as qualified and effective teachers. The other category of teachers do not benefit from this rigorous but necessary process that helps to mould expert teachers.
It can be said that an expert teacher produces expert students. In order to accomplish such an achievement one will have to possess many of the traits attributed to expert teachers. So what are the characteristics of an expert teacher?
- Arouses interest – they are able to convince students of the importance of the lesson (Bergin, 1999). They use practical examples to relate the material to the daily lives of the students.
- Maintains interest – they are able to use a variety of resources to keep the students’ interest. They use assignments, demonstrations, and practical activities to maintain interest in the topic (Guthrie and Cox, 2001).
- Encourages and counsels – they are able to encourage students not to give up and counsels them to strive for excellence.
- Uses a variety of interesting presentation modes – they are able to use interesting materials and different modes of presentation. They use technology, simulations, and tournaments to increase students’ interest, motivation and affective learning (Dukes and Seidner, 1978).
- Communicates clearly – they are able to articulate clear lesson objectives, makes clear points, explain concepts, and gives oral delivery that is audible and direct to learners (Borich, 2007).
- Is consistent and firm – they are able to maintain fairness and accuracy by ensuring that all students adhere to instructions and rules.
- Engages students in the learning process – they give students suitable time within which to learn. They use strategies and activities which elicit active participation from students (Evertson, 1995).
- Provides clear and immediate feedback – they are able to give information on the students’ efforts. They give clear, specific, and timely information on performance and use feedback to motivate students (Hattie and Timperley, 2007).
- Praises effectively – they are able to use praise to reinforce appropriate behaviours and provides feedback on performance of students; praise must be qualified, specific, and authentic (Sutherland, Wehby & Copeland, 2000).
- Has confidence in students’ abilities – they are able to assure and motivate students to improve their performance.
- Has patience – they are able to exhibit tolerance and are willing to explain numerous times and using different techniques.
- Uses time wisely – they are able to use the allotted time to deliver the content, engage students, and ensure transfer of knowledge.
- Teaches by example – they are able to model good attributes in order for students to replicate the behaviours.
My books can be found at a number of online websites, including:
Smashwords.com, Barnes and Noble, Lulu.com, Bookworld.com.au – Australia, Amazon.com – United States, Amazon.co.uk – UK, Amazon.ca – Canada, Amazon.co.jp – Japan, Amazon.it – Italy, Amazon.es – Spain, Amazon.fr – France, Amazon.at – Austria, Amazon.de – Germany and Kobo.
Other Books by Denise N. Fyffe:
- The Expert Teacher’s Guide on How to Motivate Students
- Learning Management System Efficiency vs. Staff Proficiency
- Sophie’s Place: A look at Career Development for the Disabled
- Examining Career Development in Jamaica and Australia
- The Philosophy of Education and Work
For more of Poetess Denise N. Fyffe blogs and articles visit: