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Qualities of a Good Teacher

Most individuals have been exposed to schools and teachers and have good or bad memories about them. Teachers have a primary influence on students, and yield a strong power over them, with their distinctive teaching styles, attitudes and behaviors. Different people have different perceptions about good teachers and while some may prefer professionalism, others may prefer sensitivity and understanding towards students. While the primary objective of teachers is to teach, good teachers are those who have a good personality, are skilled and organized, have a strong philosophy with great communication skills, in addition to a moral disposition.

The art of good teaching has been researched by scholars and it is generally believed that teaching is an art which involves inviting and retaining the interest of a student in such a manner that the subject taught to the student is not forgotten “to his dying day” (James, 1977). Powerful and good teaching is becoming increasingly important in the current society because the “standards for learning are now higher than they have ever been before” owing to the elevated need of skill among children, students, citizens and workers “to survive and succeed” (Darling-Hammond, 2006).

Education is not only important to individuals for personal and professional success but is a crucial factor in the success of nations as well which is why good teaching abilities are “crucial contributors to students’ learning” (Darling-Hammond, 2006). This paper aims to analyze the qualities of good teachers and how these qualities greatly impact the growth and development of students and are important in the teaching profession.

Researchers who have worked to study students’ perceptions of good teachers have found that teachers are undoubtedly the most influential aspect in the rate of learning and achievement in students, and have certain characteristics which distinguish them from other teachers (Corbett & Wilson, 2002; McIntyre & Battle, 1998). While good teaching is most commonly associated with the ability of students to learn and retain their knowledge, contemporary researchers aim to find the impact and role of the beliefs of teachers in good teaching (Murphy, 2000).

It has been found that personal experiences of teachers gained through school and education have a primary influence on the beliefs of teachers (Richardson, 1996). The National Academy of Education Committee reports that “to make good decisions” in the classroom, teachers must be aware of all the facets of student development including differences in learning, the social, cultural and language differences among students of a class in addition to the individual distinctions in students with regard to “temperaments, interests and approaches to learning” (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005).

The report also states that teachers must “keep what is best for the child at the center of their decision making” and realize that the teacher’s actions and strategies have “profound implications for what happens to and for many children in school” (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005). In a study conducted among college students (Weinstein, 1989), potential teachers who were students described a “really good teacher” as one who encompasses the traits of “caring, fairness, openness, intelligence or respect” and works with students to “address their personal concerns and develop healthy self concepts” (Murphy, Delli and Edwards, 2004).

Among other characteristics which good teachers should posses are the control of the teacher over her student and the classroom without having to raise her voice. Fairness and impartiality in class has also been found as a vital aspect of the teacher’s personality which makes them more preferable over other unfair teachers. In their research with pre-service and in-service teachers, Murphy, Delli and Edwards, (2004) found that teachers were perceived to be good if they had the following important attributes of being “caring, patient, not boring, and polite”.

Students value the fact that teachers are “kind and respectful’ towards them and put in extra effort to know their students (Murphy et al. , 2004). In order to be effective, teachers need to have and demonstrate “competency” in “content knowledge” by illustrating a deep understanding of the concepts they teach and their principle composition, in addition to “pedagogical knowledge” and skills vital for “guiding, managing, assessing and communicating with students” (Murphy et al. , 2004).

Good teachers display capability by basing their teaching practice on not one but “multiple” models to facilitate student comprehension in the respective subject thereby ensuring student achievement (Murphy et al. , 2004). Economists have found that teachers who teach well will produce “a year and a half’s worth of material” learning in students (Eric Hanushek; in Gladwell, 2008). They do so by using several strategies of motivation through effective “student teacher interaction” which is facilitated by “regard for student perspective” (Gladwell, 2008).

In order to accomplish student interaction, good teachers allow for certain amount of flexibility in the classroom to facilitate student engagement. Good teachers also provide feedback to students through “direct, personal response” to particular statements by students (Gladwell, 2008). In addition to academic proficiency and expertise, teachers are also required to have a moral disposition due to their impact and influence on students.

Research indicates that having teachers of moral character is vital to produce students with moral and ethical dispositions since children, by virtue of their close contact with teachers are more likely to “catch up or pick up” character traits possessed by teachers (Osguthorpe, 2008). The development of moral traits in children and students occurs by example in the presence of a good teacher and fails if the teachers lack moral sense and “good disposition” (Ryan & Bohlin, 1999). Having good teachers with strong moral and ethical disposition is vital in order to facilitate students to imbibe similar characteristics (Osguthorpe, 2008).

In the modern approach to education, good teaching is becoming increasingly important and a teacher is believed to be solely responsible for the amount of education which students have gained in the classroom. Students’ test scores have become an indicator of practices and it is “possible to identify who the very good teachers ate and who the poor teachers are” (Gladwell, 2008). It is therefore becoming increasingly essential for teachers to adopt styles of teaching which yield positive results in the academic learning and development of students through school years. References Corbett, D.

, & Wilson, B. (2002). What urban students say about good teaching. Educational Leadership, 60, 18-22. Darling-Hammond, L. , & Bransford, J. (with LePage, P. , Hammerness, K. , & Duffy, H. ). (2005). Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Darling-Hammond, Linda. (2006). “Constructing 21st-century teacher education. ” Journal of Teacher Education 57. 3 : 300(15). Gladwell, Malcolm. (2008). “Most Likely to Succeed. ” The New Yorker 84. 41: 36. James, W. (1977). The principles of psychology. In J. J. McDermott (Ed.

), The writings of William James: A comprehensive edition (pp. 21-74). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Original work published in 1890) McIntyre, T. , & Battle, J. (1998). The traits of “good teachers” as identified by African-American and white students with emotional and/or behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 23, 134-142. Murphy, P. K. (2000). Reconceptualizing persuasion: Student determined versus expert-determined notions of persuasion. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans. Murphy, P. Karen, Lee Ann M. Delli, and Maeghan N. Edwards. (2004).

“The good teacher and good teaching: comparing beliefs of second-grade students, preservice teachers, and inservice teachers. ” The Journal of Experimental Education 72. 2 : 69(24). Osguthorpe, Richard D. (2008). “On the reasons we want teachers of good disposition and moral character. (Report). ” Journal of Teacher Education 59. 4: 288(12). Richardson, V. (1996). The role of attitudes and beliefs in learning to teach. In J. Sikula (Ed. ), Handbook of research on teacher education (2nd ed. , pp. 102-119). New York: Macmillan. Weinstein, C. (1989). Taking education students’ perceptions of teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 40(2), 53-60.

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