Tag Archives: teacher

Successful Teachers – 6 Traits of Successful Teachers

What We Can Learn From Successful Teachers:

1. Successful teachers hold high expectations:

 The most effective teachers expect great accomplishments from their  students, and they don’t accept anything less. In education, expectations form a  self-fulfilling prophecy. When teachers believe each and every student can soar  beyond any imagined limits, the children will sense that confidence and work  with the teacher to make it happen.

2. They think creatively:

 The best teachers think outside the box, outside the classroom, and outside  the norm. They leap outside of the classroom walls and take their students with  them! As much as possible, top teachers try to make classroom experiences  exciting and memorable for the students. They seek ways to give their students a  real world application for knowledge, taking learning to the next action-packed  level. Think tactile, unexpected, movement-oriented, and a little bit crazy…  then you’ll be on the right track.

3. Top teachers are versatile and sensitive:

 The best teachers live outside of their own needs and remain sensitive to  the needs of others, including students, parents, colleagues, and the community.  It’s challenging because each individual needs something different, but the most  successful teachers are a special breed who play a multitude of different roles  in a given day with fluidity and grace, while remaining true to  themselves.

4. They are curious, confident, and evolving:

We’re all familiar with the stagnant, cynical, low-energy teachers who seem  to be biding their time until retirement and watching the clock even more  intently than their students. That’s what NOT to do.  

In contrast, the teachers I most admire renew their energy by learning new  ideas from younger teachers, and they aren’t threatened by new ways of doing  things on campus. They have strong core principles, but somehow still evolve  with changing times. They embrace new technologies and confidently move forward  into the future.

5. They are imperfectly human:

The most effective educators bring their entire selves to the job. They  celebrate student successes, show compassion for struggling parents, tell  stories from their own lives, laugh at their mistakes, share their unique  quirks, and aren’t afraid to be imperfectly human in front of their students.  

6. Successful teachers emphasize the fun in learning and in  life:

 The teachers I admire most create lighthearted fun out of serious learning.  They aren’t afraid to be silly because they can snap the students back into  attention at will – with just a stern look or a change in tone of voice.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Pedagogy Science | Pedagogical Reflections

    • Teachers and educational organisations need to ensure that the pedagogy which we  employ and condone is grounded in evidence-based research.
    • Pedagogy needs to become more scientific
    • Hattie looks to ‘highlight that which truly makes a difference’ and identifies  particular practices which – backed by extensive research – are most likely to  enhance student learning. His first point, however, establishes the role of  teachers as a key source (30%) of variance in student achievement – second only  to the student themselves (50%). This means that, according to Hattie, the home,  school, principal and peers make very little difference to student achievement.
    • Hattie then goes onto list the influences in order of effect on student  achievement: Continue reading

Usable Knowledge: What is Teaching for Understanding?

investigateWhat is Teaching for Understanding? That’s the title of a Harvard site named “Useful Knowledge” I was naturally intrigued by the title, but as I read on, I was disappointed. The site describes that the Harvard Framework is designed to keep teachers focused on student understanding. I can not discover how this ‘framework’ adds anything new to the discussion about effective teaching. The site is summarised below. Make up your own mind. I’d love you to explain to me that the good people at Harvard have not just stated the bleeding obvious: Continue reading

‘What makes a great teacher?’

I stumbled upon a great article in The Atlantic Magazine about “What makes a great teacher”. The article describes how the ‘Teach for America‘ program hunts for highly successful teacher candidates, by using the results of a four year long research project to predict which people will become successful educators. The article is about three pages long and very well written.

Below I have distilled the main aspects – based upon academic research – of what makes a great teacher:

  • Great teachers tended to set big goals for their students.
  • Great teachers constantly reevaluate what they are doing.
  • … they avidly recruited students and their families into the process
  • … they maintained focus, ensuring that everything they did contributed to student learning
  • … they planned exhaustively and purposefully—for the next day or the year ahead—by working backward from the desired outcome
  • … they worked relentlessly, refusing to surrender to the combined menaces of poverty, bureaucracy, and budgetary shortfalls.
  • For example, one way that great teachers ensure that kids are learning is to frequently check for understanding: Are the kids—all of the kids—following what you are saying? Asking “Does anyone have any questions?” does not work, and it’s a classic rookie mistake.
  • “Strong teachers insist that effective teaching is neither mysterious nor magical. It is neither a function of dynamic personality nor dramatic performance,”
  • He follows a very basic lesson plan often referred to by educators as “I do, we do, you do.” He does a problem on the board. Then the whole class does another one the same way. Then all the kids do a problem on their own.
  • The activities come in brisk sequence, following a routine the kids know by heart, so no time is lost in transition.
  • … But ineffective teachers are almost never dismissed. Principals almost never give teachers poor performance evaluations—even when they know the teachers are failing.
  • … great teachers tended to reflect on their performance and adapt accordingly. So people who tend to be self-aware might be a good bet.
  • What did predict success, interestingly, was a history of perseverance—not just an attitude, but a track record.
  • Those who initially scored high for “grit”—defined as perseverance and a passion for long-term goals, and measured using a short multiple-choice test—were 31 percent more likely than their less gritty peers to spur academic growth in their students. Gritty people, the theory goes, work harder and stay committed to their goals longer.

But another trait seemed to matter even more. Teachers who scored high in “life satisfaction”—reporting that they were very content with their lives—were 43 percent more likely to perform well in the classroom than their less satisfied colleagues. These teachers “may be more adept at engaging their pupils, and their zest and enthusiasm may spread to their students,” the study suggested.

In general, though, Teach for America’s staffers have discovered that past performance—especially the kind you can measure—is the best predictor of future performance. Recruits who have achieved big, measurable goals in college tend to do so as teachers.

Meanwhile, a master’s degree in education seems to have no impact on classroom effectiveness.

Female applicants are more likely to bring props, which is not a bad thing. In fact, women are more likely to be effective in Teach for America, Duckworth found.

Please read the original article here:


As a teacher, I found it so inspirational to read the article. It reminds me that teaching is a craft, and you improve your skills every day, no matter how long you’ve been in front of a class. Teaching is dynamic, if you don’t constantly change and improve, you move backward.

Below is another list with attributes of a great teacher, put together by Dorai at http://dorai.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/attributes-of-a-great-teacher/.

This list is based on conversations with students and teachers:

  • Dedicated
  • Motivating
  • Engaging
  • Some times entertaining
  • Good story teller
  • Has knowledge of subject matter
  • Conversation starter
  • Inspires students
  • Challenges students to think
  • Can demystify hard subjects
  • Egoless
  • Innovates in teaching methods
  • Life-long learner
  • Has infinite patience
  • Not judgemental
  • Understands student’s difficulties,
  • Understands student’s learning styles
  • Takes pride in students’ achievements

I want to add one little element to this conversation of what makes a great teacher. I do it half in jest, but it is still a serious contribution:

I once overheard a group of Year 9 girls discussing a teacher whom I knew to be a very knowledgeable, interesting and experienced educator. The girls, however, were saying how much they disliked him,…… because he ‘smelled’. And because he ‘always wears the same thing’. Teenagers can be tough on each other, but also on their teachers. So to the list of attributes of a great teacher, I would add ‘impeccable personal hygiene’ and ‘professional dress’. Yes, it may be frivolous, but no matter how great a teacher you are, if you ‘smell’, kids will turn off!