Extant literature has attempted to explore the concept of an effective teacher. The question of what constitutes an effective teacher is one that is asked by several stakeholders in the educational sector. According to The Teaching and Learning Center at Winthrop University, an effective teacher is defined as a scholar who uses an appropriate methodology in the sharing of knowledge, demonstrates as well as encourages a high level of enthusiasm on the subject matter while showing a lot of concern for the students in a manner that leaves a lasting as well as vivid conviction of the student having immensely benefitted from the provided instructions.
Some qualities of an effective teacher are noted to be innate to a given person. This is because an individual can never learn to feel a sense of concern if they lack the capacity as well as empathy with their students. It is a fact that teachers may learn how to effectively communicate the course material but they can never fake enthusiasm. Some teachers have a thorough knowledge of their subject matter but their approach is so dry and pedantic thereby making it extremely difficult for them to generate the level of enthusiasm that is needed in their students. Effective teachers on the other hand learn how to apply appropriate methodology for sharing the knowledge that they possess. This is in line with Ingvarson's proposition that while developing professional content for the students, one should focus on the concepts that the students need to grasp and then effectively address their learning needs as well as wants using the appropriate implementation strategies necessary for realizing better learning outcomes (Marsh, 2008, p.292).
An effective teacher is reflective
Marsh (2008) further pointed out that for a teacher to create an effective environment for optimal learning; they must employ their reflections as well as integrate them into their day-to-day teaching environment.
Teachers for instance should identify students who are shy and then reflect as to why the students are not at ease in answering their questions or participating in group activities in the classroom. The teachers in this case may decide to help build the confidence level of the student by asking direct questions that the affected student can confidently and correctly answer.
The next step would be to ask the student a more challenging question which the student may take longer to answer partially. The teacher's self questioning as well as personal reflection is important in monitoring the progress of the student. The student would ultimately develop individual and group skills that may be perfected by more involvement in class activities as well as encouragement by the teacher as pointed out by Eby & Herrell (2005). The enhanced social skill as well as group participation that the teacher fosters in the student makes the student to be motivated and be more enthusiastic in participating in class activities as indicated by the work of Eby & Herrell (2005).
Marsh (2008) indicated that students who are motivated are more likely to be successful in their class activities that the bored ones. A motivated student is likely to set his or her own goals in tandem with the ones set by their teacher. The inquisitiveness means that the student is most likely to learn new ideas when presented with facts and possibilities. This is attributed to the repetitive nature with which the student would comb through the reading material while drawing conclusions while at the same time discussing the materials with their parents and peers. These activities which can be regarded as personally motivating are important to the learning process since they act as revision moments which the children would otherwise not encounter. A reflective individual (teacher) would be able to observe the topics that are interesting to their students and then appropriately make efforts to shape their class lessons around these interesting topics. The teacher may pose questions like which car is the fastest? Which solutions are most viable? And such like would help in mentally stimulating the children who are involved in their lessons. This is important because as Marsh (2008) pointed out, a student who is highly motivated is more likely to behave better as a result of their level of interest as well as involvement in the subject matter (topic).
Groundwater-smith et al. (2003,p.268) mentioned that teachers must access the learning of students together with the efforts of the learners themselves by investigating tasks, describing as well as judging all of the learning outcomes.
An effective teacher must be reflective. This helps them to attune to the personalities of their students which help them to realize the personal needs of their students. The realization of the student's personal needs is important in helping the teachers obtain enhanced rate of progress in the student's learning process (Robison, & Powell, 2008). Teachers should keep journals to use in writing small comments at each lesson's end. In the journal, the teacher can write down the pros and cons of the progress of a given student as well as record the techniques which worked out best for a certain group of students (Barry & King, 2004). The concept of journal writing is noted by Barry & King (2004) to be common in the entire practicum and it helps in the provision of valuable insight on which aspects of teaching should be engaged.
As noted by Featherston (2006), an effective teacher must ask himself or herself through a reflective process the best teaching methods for their students. An effective teacher must ask critical questions like, which is the best technique of teaching this group of student? And then plan the best methods of meeting the needs of the individual student as well as the entire class as indicated in the work of Bennett & Smilanich (1994).
Questioning as a technique for student management as well as assessment
Marsh (2008) argued that questioning is important in a classroom environment since it helps in testing the knowledge of the students on a given topic as well as review their understanding of the given topic. An effective teacher must therefore be able to design specific questions that would help in the determination of the various aspects as well as levels of a student's understanding.
An effective teacher should make efforts to engage all of the students in the process of learning as opposed accepting a portion of the students and labeling the rest poor. This outcome can be achieved thorough a reflective process as well as personal contact. The advantage of reflective teaching are realized by means of enhanced personal connections to the students as well as the proper understanding of all of their actions in an effort of gaining greater understanding through various technique such as questioning, observation as well as making of proper decisions that are adapted to meet the student's individual needs.
Fetherston (2007,p272) indicated the needs of effective questioning using a systematic checklist bearing the crucial elements of effective questioning. Teachers must therefore dedicate themselves to extracting as well as implementing the best resources of reflective questioning as pointed out by Whitton et al., (2008).
Questions have been indicated as very important in the management as well as assessment of student's learning. Featherston (2006) highlighted the need for a teacher to go through a reflective process of asking themselves certain general questions necessary for generating a lesson which is specific to a particular group of students. The teacher must consider the prior knowledge of the students in an effort of avoiding or even overstretching the students. A effective teacher must also interrogate the prescribed documents for the syllabus in order to effectively determine the elements that should be taught.
As pointed out earlier, the main purpose of questioning is to test as well as review the knowledge of students on a given topic. Several question types have been designed in order to test and review the student's level of understanding. Bloom, Engelhart, Furst, Hill, & Krathwohl (1956) came up with the original/initial taxonomy to be used in the testing of the student's cognitive abilities. The taxonomy is suitable for categorizing abstraction levels of questions that are usually met in the classroom environment. The questions to be asked are categorized into six main groups; those for testing knowledge, testing comprehension, testing application, testing analysis, testing synthesis as well as testing evaluation.
The Bloom taxonomy is noted as one of the various question category methods. The other systems and models focus on analytics vs. evaluative as well as psycho-social vs. pedagogical (Whitton, Sinclair, Barker, Nanlohy, & Nosworthy, 2004). The process of employs different teaching styles demands the understanding and application of different taxonomies.
An effective teacher must have and encourage interpersonal communication. Interpersonal communication refers to the organization of individual experience according to their social environment (Vaughan and Hogg, 2005). Mohan et al. (2008,p.26) pointed out that for communication to be meaning, one must first be aware of the own meaning in the first place. It is worth noting…