Teaching is one vocation that is hard to define if you look it up in the Oxford English dictionary a Teacher is defined as “A person who teaches, especially in a school”. This definition is very vague and leaves a lot of room for expansion on what a teacher actually is, on the other end of the scale Albert Einstein said “It is the supreme art of the Teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge” This quote gives more of an insight into what effective Teaching may be. Both of the quotes above are correct when talking about Teaching however there are a lot of differences between being a Teacher and being an effective Teacher just as there are lots of arguments surrounding what makes an effective teacher?
Some argue that an effective teacher is “knowing when learning is correct or incorrect; learn when to experiment and learn from the experience; learn to monitor, seek and give feedback; and know to try alternative learning strategies when others do not work” John Hattie (2009:25). Others have defined effective teachers as “Those who absolutely love what they do.
They are constantly searching for more effective ways to reach their children, to master the content and methods of their craft” Zehm and Kottler (1993:118). In this essay, from research and experience within a classroom I have decided to focus on that an effective Teacher is one who inspires children to learn and provokes within them a passion to learn and to want to learn. This essay will focus on the importance of passion and inspiration within the classroom and why alongside skill and knowledge this is at the core of effective teaching.
Any Teacher can possess bundles of subject knowledge and any Teacher can simply read the lesson objective from a book. It’s the Teachers that make the lessons exciting and engaging so that the children enjoying learning and want to learn. Christopher Day (2004:2) states that Teachers taught him “The value of reflection, who showed me new worlds, who motivated me to explore them.” He also goes on to explain that the Teachers had “a passion for understanding that their work went far beyond the transmission of curriculum and the assessment of achievement.”
This shows that Teachers need more than subject knowledge, they need to effectively pass on both their subject knowledge and their love for the knowledge to their students Hay Mcber (2000:62) also state this point “Enthusiasm for a subject or specialism drives teachers to encourage pupils to share their passion for it. Consequently they will find ways to put it across in an appealing way. Effective teachers calculate lesson content so that it is intellectually stimulating and challenging, as well as offering plenty of variety, so that pupils enjoy learning and want to be there”. This means that Teachers are prepared to use varying stimuli to encourage and inspire children to learn and use more of a visible learning technique using passion rather than a direct learning technique.
Passion within the classroom stops teaching becoming dull and lacklustre, passionate teachers see their children as inquisitive and creative who are ready to learn and make sense of the world. Passion is one of the top factors for effective teaching it can not only motivate the child within the classroom but also for many days, weeks and years after, this is why it is important to be passionate about Primary School teaching as you as a teacher are preparing the children for later in life. However passion within a classroom is more than just having enthusiasm for the subject and turning up with bundles of energy, a passionate and effective teacher uses their passion to create an inspirational learning environment by making use of varying experiences enabling the children to learn in different and exciting ways.
For example this could be the through the use of School trips or media equipment to allow the children to become inquisitive about the world around them. A passionate Teacher also gives encouragement and support when needed and encourages the children to ask questions and participate in group led activities which motivates the children to learn independently and increase their self-evaluation. In today’s ever changing world however passion, creativity and individuality may be about to fall by the wayside in regards to teaching, as new Curriculum changes come into force.
The revert back to the three R’s and a more focused approach to children memorising historical dates and times tables could mean that there will be less time for inspirational lessons and more time for focused direct teaching, in order to ensure that Government targets and levels are met. Some educationalists argue that the requirement for Teachers to perform in response to the new curriculum changes will take too much time and effort and will in effect damage the teaching environment by taking away the passion the Teacher has for their job. In today’s economic climate where budgets are being cut and standards are getting higher “Passion may be the only natural renewable resource that we have.”
John Hattie (2012:20) In conclusion passion alone will not guarantee the child a successful future or that the Teacher will be an effective one. It is also easy to see why some argue that effective Teaching cannot be defined and that it is much more, than a list of requirements or standards that Teachers have to meet and can simply not be defined in this way. An effective Teacher is in essence one that meets all the standards and Government requirements while ensuing passion in others and fulfilling lives and giving children the chance to believe in themselves.
Arthur, James and Cremin, Teresa. (2010) Learning to teach in the Primary School, Oxon: Routledge. Day, Christopher. (2004) A passion for Teaching, London: Routledge. Hayes, Dennis (2005) Primary Education: the Key concepts, London: Routledge. Hayes, Dennis. (2012) Foundations of Primary Teaching, London: Routledge. Hattie, John. (2009) Visible learning, a synthesis of over 800 Meta analyses relating to achievement, Oxon: Routledge. Hattie, John. (2012) Visible learning for Teachers, maximizing impact on learning, Oxon: Routledge. McBer, Hay, (2000) Research into Teacher Effectiveness A Model of Teacher Effectiveness, DFEE. Zehm, S.J and Kottler, J.A (1993) On being a Teacher: The Human Dimension, California: Corwin Press.