5.1 What makes a ‘good’ teacher?

Part of the School Experience Supervisor’s role is to help their student teachers to become good educators. It is important to be clear about the characteristics you want your student teachers to demonstrate. They will naturally show some of these characteristics, but you may have to help them to develop others.

People have different views about what characterises a ‘good teacher’. Some people say that a good teacher is one whose learners get the best results. Some say that a good teacher is one who helps learners believe that they can do things for themselves. Others say that a good teacher is someone who can manage to make learners work quietly and behave well. There are many qualities and characteristics that distinguish good teachers, but the way we define a good teacher depends on our experience of education and what we value. Different people will emphasise different characteristics over others.

Activity 5.1: What are the attributes of a good teacher?

This activity invites you to think about the attributes of good teachers.

What do you think are the attributes of a good teacher?

  • first, write your own list.
  • then, read what other educationalists at a TESSA meeting suggested about good teachers given below.
  • do you want to alter your list?
    • How?
    • Why?
    • Is there anything you disagree with?
    • If so, why?
    • Is there anything missing?

At a TESSA meeting the following general points were suggested as the attributes associated with what people call a ‘good teacher’:

  • a facilitator / mediator of learning
  • knowledgeable and understanding of how young children learn
  • able to use a child-centred approach to teaching and learning
  • about to use problem-solving approaches to teaching and learning that stimulate both themselves and the children
  • a good role model
  • a good communicator
  • knowledgeable in their subject area(s)
  • able to plan and design programmes to meet learners needs
  • well prepared to meet learners’ needs
  • able to take account of what learners already know and can do
  • able to build on their learners’ interests
  • able to assess the learners’ understandings, stage and needs
  • able to use appropriate resources to stimulate interest and facilitate learning
  • aware and supportive of learners’ wider needs
  • sees the value of and develops links with parents and the community
  • aware of the need to continue to develop their own professional understanding and practice of teaching and learning
  • aware of and carries out their professional roles and responsibilities conscientiously.

What we mean by the term ‘good teacher’ could be open to interpretation. What is meant by the term ‘an effective teacher’ is more specific. Effective teachers are those who help their learners to maximise their potential. With an effective teacher, learners are motivated, make good progress and become independent learners.

Tool 5: Recognising effective teachers

5.2 What research says about effective teachers