I was recently asked to describe the qualities of the 'ideal' teacher. After putting together a list, it struck me that this is a useful exercise for anyone involved in teaching as it forces us to confront our underlying beliefs and assumptions about teaching.
Here's what I came up with, but it would be great to hear whether you agree and what other qualities you might add:
A great teacher...
- Is a great listener and observer
- Makes learning enjoyable, interactive and fun
- Engages each and every student in a group
- Creates a safe environment in which students feel able to share their thoughts and engage in discussion
- Knows what each student needs to learn next to fully grasp a concept or technique
- Facilitates deep learning through questioning - doesn't 'tell' students things but helps them construct their own understanding
- Regularly varies the learning activities - keeps students focused on task and accommodates their diversity
- Makes regular diagnostic checks to ensure that all students are learning and provides constructive, not judgmental, feedback
- Is aware of their own underlying beliefs and assumptions and is mindful of the impact these may have on students
- Learns from students and is open to perspectives and points of view which may challenge their own
- Acknowledges, values and accommodates each student's individual strengths and responds accordingly
- Is able to facilitate engaging discussion by harnessing the knowledge and wisdom of each student
Thanks to the AllBusiness and PeerNetBC blogs for shaping my thinking on this.