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Teacher Effectiveness Essay

In the initial perceptions report I selected confidence and patience as the personal attributes most relevant to effective teaching, and thorough subject knowledge and outlining clear and consistent expectations as the two most important classroom strategies to overall effective teaching. Various research studies into effective teaching have found that personal attributes, teaching and learning strategies and classroom management all play a significant role in overall teacher effectiveness.

It has been found that teachers who exhibit socially just personal attributes such as care, compassion and empathy for all students are most effective. Teachers who are ? active’ in employing a range of teaching and learning strategies that are heavily based on student-teacher and student-student interaction are also found to be effective. In terms of classroom management, effective teachers are able to outline and stick to a clear set of high expectations for all students. These findings correlate with my initial perceptions to carrying degrees.

While all the initial perceptions bear some relevance, generally speaking, factors and influences that make up effective teaching involve a much broader set of criteria than just patience, confidence, subject knowledge and expectations. The personal attributes of teachers is shown to be a significant factor in overall teacher effectiveness in a number of studies. Generally speaking, teachers who are socially just and have a genuine concern for all students have been found to be the most effective.

This is a much broader conception of personal attributes than what was identified in the initial perceptions of teacher effectiveness, that of confidence and patience. The keen ambition to care for, respond to and develop the talents of all students is repeatedly referred to in studies as being a significant determinant of overall teacher effectiveness (Dinham, 2004, OECD, 1994, Batten, 1993). Such an ambition requires a number of personal attributes, one of which would include patience. In all teaching frameworks, teachers will inevitably face a range of abilities, skills and personalities.

If teachers are genuinely committed to caring for and developing all students equally they will inevitably require patience each in terms of the rate at which students understand the concepts and information being presented to them as well as the manner in which students act and respond to both them personally and to the work they are presented with. However, while patience is a definite requirement in the care for all students, there is a broader set of attributes that are needed to achieve this ambition.

Teachers who exhibit socially just attributes such as honesty, empathy and compassion are more likely to genuinely care for and develop all students, thereby making them more effective (Dinham, 2004). Significantly, these attributes will also play a significant role in providing a safe learning environment for all students, one of the three central components of the Quality Teaching Framework (NSW Quality Teaching Framework). Teachers who are reflective, willing and able to adjust and improve and to set an example of moral conduct for their students have also been found to be effective (OECD, 1994).

A willingness and ability to reflect and adjust, as well as to provide a moral example for students depends significantly on the personal attributes of the teacher. Confidence is relevant to these attributes as in order for the process of self reflection and moral modelling to be successful, teachers must first be confident enough to engage in the process. For example, if a teacher does not possess confidence in their own moral beliefs and reasoning, they will be unable to model them for their students in any effective manner.

However reflection and moral conduct requires more that just confidence. Ultimately it requires outward looking behaviour in an attempt to achieve positive relationships and a culture for success (Dinham, 2004). Specific teaching and learning strategies as they are implemented in the classroom bear a significant impact on overall teacher effectiveness. In terms of my initial perceptions report, thorough subject knowledge was identified as being of great importance for overall teacher effectiveness.

The role and relevance of thorough subject knowledge is acknowledged as dependant upon overall teacher effectiveness to varying degrees (Darley-Hammond, 2000). The Darling-Hammond study (2000) found mixed support for subject matter knowledge as a determinant of effective teaching. The study showed that the greater time spent in teacher training courses and in subsequent professional development, on method areas and pedagogical development in specific methods, increased overall teacher effectiveness.

While this doesn’t relate directly to specific subject knowledge, content knowledge undoubtedly supports pedagogical knowledge, thereby making it relevant and influential. A student focussed, interactive approach that draws upon a range of specific teaching strategies is consistently found to be most significant in terms of effective teaching and learning practices within the classroom (Batten, 1993, Brophy and Good, 1986, OECD, 1994, Ayers et al. , 2004). Brophy and Good (1986) describe ? active teaching’ as being a central component of overall teacher effectiveness.

By active teaching they are referring to an approach that relies heavily on student-teacher and student-student interaction, limiting the amount of time spent on independent instruction and unsupervised seatwork (Brophy and Good. 1986). The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Quality in Teaching, Paris Report (1994) supports this assertion in their report findings, stating that effective classrooms generally implemented teacher led activities with considerable interaction between the students and the teacher.

Both studies acknowledge whole class discussion, closely monitored group work and effective questioning as part of the teacher led interactive approach. Each of these studies acknowledged class discussion and effective questioning as integral to the ? active teaching’ approach. Such skills involve the ability to effectively pose a combination of open and closed questions, questions that are based on recall and reflection and questions that allow for differences of opinion and interpretation in order to encourage meaningful discussion (Wragg and Brown, 2001).

Such techniques allow students to personally engage with material, thereby making the work significant to students, one of the three components of the NSW Quality Teaching Framework. It is doubtful whether this would be able to be effectively achieved without a thorough knowledge of the content to which the teacher would develop questions and discussion about. Ayres et al. (2004) in their study regarding effective HSC teaching found that teaching and learning strategies that were dynamic and varying, for example lessons that progressed from presentations, to discussions, to interactive seat work and to some independent work, were found to be effective.

The study also found that the more effective teachers were willing to choose more difficult topic options and would change their chosen topics regularly. In order for teachers to effectively teach the difficult options, or continuously change their chosen topic in order to maintain their motivation, they would need to possess thorough knowledge in their subject. Therefore, while specific subject knowledge may not be an overwhelming component of effective classroom strategies, those that are deemed most effective would not work without the teacher first possessing thorough knowledge of their subject.

Classroom management is the third component that is found to be most influential in overall teacher effectiveness. In my initial perceptions report I chose outlining clear and consistent expectations as an effective teaching strategy in order to increase the chance of student behaviour consistency. This initial perception seems to be supported by various studies regarding teacher effectiveness. The OECD report (1994) describes effective classroom management as providing a safe and orderly classroom where a set of high expectations are explained to and understood by students.

In Margaret Batten’s (1993) study of individual Victorian teachers who had been deemed to be effective teachers, such practices as refusing to talk over students, carrying out outlined consequences such as giving more work to students who misbehaved and clearly and firmly stating to students to change their behaviour when they were not following classroom expectations, were often employed to manage an orderly and safe classroom for all students.

All such strategies involve my initial perception of outlining clear and consistent expectations of students, and if carried out effectively, support the creating supportive environments element of the NSW Quality Teaching Framework. Effective teaching depends upon a broad range of criteria relating to socially just personal attributes, a broad ranging and interactive set of teaching and learning strategies and high classroom expectations.

Within the range of this criteria patience, confidence, subject knowledge and consistent expectations undoubtedly bear some influence, however there are many other factors that also bear significant influence. References Ayers, P. , Sawyer, W. and Dinham, S. (2004) ? Effective teaching in the context of a Grade 12 high-stakes external examination in New South Wales, Australia’, British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1 pp 141-165. Batten, M. , Marland, P. and Khamis, M. (1993) Knowing How to Teach Well: Teachers Reflect on Their Classroom Practice.

ACER Research Monograph No 44. Hawthorn: ACER. (Chapter 3 pp. 18-33) Dinham, S. (2004) ? The Influence of Leadership in Producing Outstanding Schooling Outcomes in Junior Secondary Education’, AESOP Report, School of Education, University of New England, Australia. Darling-Hammond (2000) http://eppa. asu. edu. epaa. v8nl Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (1994) Quality in Teaching, Paris: OECD (Chapter 4: pp. 34-71). Wragg, E. and Brown, G. (2001) Questioning in the Secondary School, 2nd Edition, London: RoutledgeFalmer. (Chapter 3: pp. 27-39).


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