The Essential Characteristics of Effective Teaching

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 24 October 2016

The Essential Characteristics of Effective Teaching

Essential Characteristics of teaching include having the skills and ability to plan a lesson, to manage a classroom, to give the children the time to learn collaboratively and for the teacher to have knowledge of the topic and be able to provide the knowledge in a way the children will learn and gain the desired knowledge. In the video of ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’ (Davies and Gooding, 2008), Karen Whitehouse, the teacher, shows all these characteristics of teaching in her classroom for pre-primary children in planning, class management, collaborative learning and knowledge through Mini-Beasts, which is a lesson plan.

The Mini-Beasts lesson from “Knowledge and Understanding of the World” (Davies and Gooding, 2008) provides the idea of the ‘lesson plan’ (Appendix A). It focuses on the children learning about “Ants” and includes a science experiment of ‘How ants get food, water and shelter’, and also ‘How an ant would get these essentials to live’. These essential characteristics of teaching show that you need to be organised and ready for the lesson for it to work and achieve the desired results. This can be seen in the video. Davies and Gooding, 2008). “Karen”, the teacher in “the video” and the implementer of the ‘lesson plan’ (Appendix A) about “ants” shows these characteristics. To be an effective teaching one must apply these characteristics of collaborative learning, knowledge of the Australian curriculum, an organised lesson plan and class management. For teachers, a lesson plan is the planning and preparation for a lesson and they display the teacher’s knowledge and understanding of the curriculum in all subjects. (Whitton et al. , 2010, p 144).

In the video (Davies and Gooding, 2008) Karen had a clear class plan for the students to learn about the mini-beasts ie. Insects. In using the interactive whiteboard she was able to engage the students to learn and use their prior knowledge to answer questions from the teacher i. e. ‘What does a butterfly do, does it fly, crawl or is it a slug’? This allows the children to use prior knowledge of what a butterfly is and also getting the children ready for the main activity of the “Mini-beast” and utilising their new knowledge.

For example, when the teacher (Karen) places the children in small groups and has organised different activities for all the different mini-beasts, which the children can learn on the blue mat. One activity was ‘What is the lifecycle of a butterfly? ’ This is featured in “the video” (Davies and Gooding, 2008), “Whitehouse”, which has a clear class plan of what was expected of the children to achieve from the lesson. In “the video” (Davies and Gooding, 2008), “Whitehouse” had work sample portfolio mini-beasts called ladybeetle, found in the Australian curriculum.

This lesson plan enabled the children to learn and be able to describe objects and events that they encounter in their everyday lives. Students will also be able to make predictions and investigate everyday phenomena. (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Report Authority, 2010) The ‘lesson plan’ (Appendix A) ant science; experiment of food, water and shelter allowed the children to predict ‘what the ant would eat’. The children after fifthteen minutes-in relation to ‘ant ‘colony’- saw if they were able to correctly predict the right food, which the ‘ant’ would eat.

This demonstrates that the children were taught the knowledge of the two characteristics i. e. Investigate and predict, as recommended in the Australian curriculum portfolio (ACARA, 2010) Planning a lesson is a guide to follow but needs to have a purpose of knowledge and understanding, which complies with the Australian curriculum. To be successful in teaching, a teacher needs sound and in depth knowledge of the Australian curriculum’s areas of teaching (Whitton et al, 2010, p144). In the Australian curriculum teachers need to focus on children’s needs, and the knowledge they require?

They will need knowledge of the local world and be taught the aspects of science in everyday life. They can achieve these requirements through the lesson plan Mini-beasts (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Report Authority, 2010). In “The video’ (Davies and Gooding, 2008), “Whitehouse”, it has a clear idea of testing the children’s prior knowledge though the Australian curriculum by asking them to answer multiple questions. For example, asking questions similar to what the lifecycle of a caterpillar is, or what is the scientific language of a caterpillar’s body.

This is displayed “in the video” (Davies and Gooding, 2008), when the teacher, Whitehouse, when the children are asked questions from their prior knowledge (previous lessons) on the blue mat at the start of the lesson. ‘Whitehouse’ is asking them to think harder, to previous lessons and allowing the children time to gather the information and review their own knowledge. This encouraged each individual student to achieve to his or her best ability I have gathered this information from “the video”, (Davies and Gooding, 2008) where the lesson plan is also evident. Appendix A) by also getting the children to think from previous lesson on the prior knowledge they have learnt, i. e. the ‘lesson plan’ (Appendix A) Another effective aspect of the ‘lesson plan’, (Appendix A) is clear when the children are ask to talk among themselves in small groups and discuss ‘What an ant does’. Placing children into small groups also provides the children time to learn off each other and understand the other children’s perspective (Briggs et al. 1999).

Having the knowledge in teaching means having sound knowledge and being able to show your knowledge of the topic as a teacher. This will help and benefit the children’s learning experience and help them to learn and developing cooperation with each other in a collaborative learning environment. Collaborative learning is a tool for students to study together as a group. In “the video” (Davies and Gooding, 2008) this method of learning is displayed multiple times, showing students who were allowed the time to work together to discuss the topic or question.

This creates a comfortable and fun learning environment. While the children are working together ‘Whitehouse’ is seen “the video” (Davies and Gooding, 2008) walking around to each group to see if they are understanding the question and what they have come up with together while discussing the question’s topic. This gives the teacher the opportunity to offer any suggestions and steer the student’s in the correct direction. As stated by Briggs, ‘placing two heads together is better than one’. This is an effective method of learning, as it allows the children to learn from one another.

By talking to each other in a group, the children learn and develop leadership skills and group/social skills and have a better understanding of each other’s opinion. This promotes a friendly environment and to ability of the children to converse with one another, allowing them to agree or disagree with one another. Similarly encouraging children to discuss and collaborate together gives the children time to work, develop skills and let everybody take a turn to voice their opinion in regards with a question or experiment. Bennett et al, 1991). The ‘lesson plan’ (Appendix A) shows collaborative learning in placing the children in groups of 4 and predicting and discussing ‘What the ‘ant’ would eat in either the form of a cake, honey, ham, cheese or bread’. The children were able to talk through the method of the experiment and were encouraged all to have a say to see what their opinion was on the food the ant would eat. They were also allowed to explain to the class why they believed the ant would eat that particular food.

This gives the children the time to learn more and encourage each other to be comfortable and speak in the group and in front of class. They were also in safe environment where they would and could not potentially be judged by anyone in the class. Seen in ‘the video’ (Davies and Gooding, 2008), ‘Whitehouse’ offers all the children a chance to talk and answer a question or ask a question without being ignored. Collaborative learning is a tool for students to learn and have an understanding of.

By understanding what they are learning, the teacher is allowed time to discuss with each group, while managing the class effectively. Class management is the second learning area for teachers in getting children to focus. (Whitton et al. 2010, p144) The teacher’s role is not only to plan the lesson but also to have quality organisational skills and management of the class. In ‘the video’, (Davies and Gooding, 2008) “Whitehouse” manages the class in multiply ways. Counting to five is one example, and it attains the children’s attention.

This gives Whitehouse the ability to quieten the class, gain control, the knowledge the children are listening and most importantly allows the teacher the full attention of the student’s to begin teaching. In knowing the children are ready to learn, ‘Whitehouse” does not have to raise her voice, or call out names to be quietened. ‘Whitehouse’ also signal to be quite by placing her index finger to her mouth, which displays to the children that you have to be quite before moving on and learning further.

This displays to me that ‘Whitehouse’ has the control of the class and patience By displaying patience, its clear Whitehouse prefers not to discipline any children is a negative way. This provides a secure, happy environment, where good manners are praised. The ‘lesson plan’ (Appendix A) I have developed, utilises and incorporates the techniques displayed by Whitehouse’ in ‘the video’. I have included the use to control and management the class technique by including the counting to five exercises. This can be used in a large or small learning environment to achieve a collaborative learning environment.

I also used techniques from ‘the video’ (Davies and Gooding, 2008) in which ‘Whitehouse’ worked around the children so everyone was permitted the opportunity to talk in front of the class and give an answer. This allowed all children the chance to show what they had learnt from the ‘ant experiment’. In the video, class management is exhibited (Davies and Gooding, 2008) as not being primarily all about getting the children to concentrate but about sharing caring for the children. Making sure all understand the experiment and the activities required of them.

Class management is about the children, focussing on them and providing a comfortable learning environment, where they can learn from another, while providing support and care to all the children in the class. Planning, knowledge, collaborative learning and class management are all essential characteristics of a effective teaching. Planning shows that ‘Whitehouse’ had a clear organised class plan and stayed with the class plan throughout the lesson. Whitehouse also showed that using resources got the children more involved in the lesson.

Knowledge is shown in ‘the video’ (Davies and Gooding, 2008) as the children where able to follow instructions of the mini-beasts exercise, understanding the topic of ‘ants’ and using their prior knowledge learn more about the topic. (Appendix A). Collaborative learning is displayed in ‘the video’ (Davies and Gooding, 2008) when ‘Whitehouse’ made sure that every group was open in learning as a group. This provides the children the ability to work in small groups and develop their skills of learning off each other in a social situation.

Class management from ‘the video’ (Davies and Gooding, 2008) demonstrates that ‘Whitehouse’ has clear ways of managing her class in a graceful manner, while still being interesting to the children, in using the interactive whiteboard and the activities. Theses characteristics of Whitehouse show me an organised teacher who gives one hundred per cent of her time to the children through planning. Giving the children the time to co-operate with each other and the teacher allows them to learn and succeed in a comfortable, happy, fun, learning environment.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 24 October 2016

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