Quality Teaching Characteristics

Teachers should know how to make the students participate actively in the classroom during learning. They must know how to build a strong relationship with their students by focusing more on them. The teachers also need to improve their knowledge so that they can cope with the changes that occur in the teaching industry. Importantly, the teachers must also understand that it is necessary to evaluate their knowledge in other areas such as the curriculum, students and self.

The paper analyzes the characteristics of quality teaching during learning process. Use of reflections helps in determining the most appropriate teaching strategy to use by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of every method through personal experience. Besides, the paper discusses some of the questions the teacher must answer before planning for a lesson and he must therefore make a decision on the appropriate teaching strategy to use.

One of the characteristics of quality teaching in an effective learning environment is starting a lesson with interesting phenomena that the students are familiar with. Therefore, the teacher should not start with abstractions or phenomena outside the students’ comprehension because they need to familiarize with the things that surround them, look at them, label them, become surprised about them, ask questions about them, reason about them and then try to get answers to their questions. From a lesson I taught on insects, the students really enjoyed because they were able to collect and identify different types of insects and at the same time they comprehended well since the learning objectives were achieved.

Secondly, the teacher must engage the students actively during teaching of any subject. He or she should make sure that the students engage in several activities such as taking notes, measuring, computing, observing, counting and collecting of materials. This helps the students to concentrate more during teaching since their minds are focused hence learning takes place effectively. Besides, quality teaching occurs when the teacher provides a lot of evidence while he or she is explaining different concepts. This means that students should be given problems that belong to their ability level.

They need guidance as well as encouragement from the teacher, and the evidence given by the teacher must be clearly related to the problems given. Moreover, before the lesson, the teacher must state clearly the learning objectives. He or she should use the questioning method appropriately during the lesson. This gives the students an opportunity to present their ideas thus promoting interaction which improves learning. For effective teaching to take place, the teacher must master the content being taught. Then the content must be presented in the right manner to the students incorporating the sense of humor. Instructional formats used by the teacher determine how learning takes place. This is because not all methods are suitable in all settings since a classroom is made up of students with different abilities and the teacher needs to adjust so that he or she can cater for different students.

Effective teachers are those that evaluate the requirements of a certain group of students and adjust their methods of instructions when necessary. Instructions must give chances for interaction between the teacher and individual students, the teacher and the whole class and among the students themselves. Lastly, feedback must be provided during effective teaching for both the students and the teacher. It can be provided through different ways such as through discussion, writing or through a test. Feedback acts as a motivating factor in both the teacher and the students. The students are also given the opportunity to reflect on what they have leant, and through these reflections the teacher is able to know whether they understood or not.

The fact about direct teaching is that it has learning objectives that are very specific and the teacher explains to the students on the importance of the content thus clarifying the lesson objectives. The students’ gain can be evaluated well by the use of this method and is a widely accepted teaching strategy because it is effective to use while teaching particular facts and basic skills. Direct teaching requires organizing the content well and perfect communication skills for the teacher. Secondly cooperative learning is a method that helps in promoting joint responsibility.

It is effective since the students learn how to be patient and more considerate. The teacher needs to prepare in advance on the skills to be discussed. The students should also be taught on how to cooperate because the lonely students might fear to present their answers. I observed that students who are aggressive tend to take over the group while the bright students feel that they are very superior. Moreover, lecture method of teaching is suitable for large groups where the material being taught is presented in a precise logical way. For it to be effective there has to be a well- defined introduction and a clear summary. Examples are also essential during the presentation as well as proficient communication skills. One of the disadvantages of using this method is that it does not involve active learning thus becomes inappropriate for children below grade five.

From my experience, I noted that most of the students were asleep when I was lecturing a certain topic on pollution. There is a teaching strategy that incorporates lecture with discussion. It is more effective since the students are given an opportunity after the lecture to reflect on what they have learnt and can therefore ask questions, explain and argue. I tried using this method and it was quite better than lecturing. The teachers needs to be prepared for any kind of questions especially the more challenging ones and should prepare the lesson well in advance since time may be limited thus affecting the opportunities for discussions and questions. Providing worksheets or surveys to the students is another method of teaching because the teacher needs to prepare handouts. This method gives the students a chance to think for themselves without the influence of others. After that, the individual thoughts are then shared in the whole class. The teacher is able to know the understanding level of every student.

Another teaching method is the use of small group discussions in class. The teacher prepares specific tasks for the groups. It is effective since everyone in the group participates and students may comprehend better from explanations given by their colleagues than from the teacher. I found out that the teacher must be ready to coordinate the groups so that learning takes place effectively. Role playing is another teaching strategy that enables the teacher to introduce a problem situation in a dramatic way. The teacher must clearly define the problem situation and state the roles. Then, the students are given the chance to assume those roles. From my experience this teaching method is effective because the students explore solutions and get a chance to practice skills thus enhancing comprehension.

Proactive classroom management is necessary since the teacher is able to put in place methods that stop any kind of behavior that may disrupt the class during learning. The teacher does this by organizing the class so that a positive learning environment is created. According to Henry (2010 p. 18), “proactive classroom management comprises of three interactive classroom features: structure, instruction and discipline”. This means that rules and lesson plans belong to the classroom structure and they become unsuccessful whenever communication and instructions are unclear. Discipline is connected with communication. So, for teaching to be effective, there has to be communication. From what I have experienced, many of the methods work well but there has to be a strong relationship between the teacher and the students. For instance, a student who starts talking to his friends and distracts them will stop it when the teacher stands in front of his desk.

For teaching to be effective, the teacher must plan for the lesson and the most important thing is to indicate clearly the learning objectives as well as the method for evaluation so as to know whether the objectives have been achieved or not. Teachers plan their lessons differently especially depending on their experience level and the requirements for the students. The lesson plan is prepared by the teacher before the lesson and should meet the needs of every student in a specific group.

Importantly, the learning objectives must be achievable and measurable, that is, they can be observed. When planning the lesson the teacher must reflect on the following questions: what do the students need to know? How do I provide the evidence to them? Where do I get the information? What teaching methods do I apply so that they get the best information from what they are supposed to learn? How will I evaluate them to know whether they learnt or did not, and may be why learning did not take place? What am I going to do next? The teacher can also decide to plan his or work depending on the students’ prior knowledge.

Teaching involves a cyclical nature since there has to be planning, teaching and reviewing. Basically, the teacher must be aware of what the students know, what they require to know, the method or strategy to be applied for the students to comprehend what they do not know, methods of assessing the students to know whether the objectives have been achieved. Behavioral objectives stated in the lesson plan should provide evidence of achievement. This means that the performance of the students must be stated in such a way that the student behavior can be clearly observed. So, when the teacher is preparing the lesson plan, he or she must use words like ‘list’, ‘state’, ‘calculate’ ‘differentiate’ ‘locate’.

Besides, behavioral objectives must show conditions of the performance. That is, the situation under which the behavior is supposed to take place must be specific. The conditions depend on the subject matter and include such things like ‘using or not using certain tools’, ‘using a diagram’. Moreover the behavioral objectives must state the levels of performance that are acceptable. This is done by using words such as accurately, clearly and etc. For instance, students should be able to state clearly at least three causes of air pollution. Therefore, the teacher must write the observable objectives well so that they guide him or her on how to teach the students. Since, the objectives are measurable; he or she is able to assess the class at the end of the lesson to know whether learning has taken place through the achievement of those objectives (Marsh, 2004).

In the school environment, there are many important elements of professional and ethical practice with particular reference to the children’s protection and duty of care. To start with, the teacher must create an environment that considers the psychological factors of the students. It is very necessary for the students to have a sense of belonging because it makes them active in learning. The teacher can do this by making sure that total respect exist between him or her and the students. The students need to be accepted and given proper support that should not be grounded on the behavior of the student. The rules must be fair to every student irrespective of the background or the ability level and the consequences should also be just.

Besides, social factors should be dealt with carefully since even the young children know about the social status that is mainly caused by gender, level of ability and class. “It is therefore of utmost importance that we acknowledge the diversity within the classroom and develop respectful relationships among students” (Lyons et al, 2011 p. 54). It is necessary for the teacher to promote collaboration among the students so that some of them do not feel neglected due to their status. This can be achieved through group works rather than lecturing and the teacher get the opportunity of monitoring the students’ behaviors as well as how they relate with each other.

Students are also social and emotional human beings whose learning is affected by many factors. A classroom is made up of students from various backgrounds and this can affect learning. For instance students from different cultures will require the teacher to create a more active and creative learning environment to cater for all the students. I experienced teaching students from various countries and I took a lot of time preparing the lesson. I wanted to make sure that every student participated and understood what I taught.

So, I learnt that the teacher must use various methods to facilitate learning since teaching in a multicultural classroom is quite challenging. The students’ background on prior knowledge also matters a lot because for them to understand a new concept, it has to be built on the existing knowledge. It is therefore necessary for the teacher to understand what the students know so that he can be able to plan on what to teach. Students have different prior knowledge depending on how and who taught them, so, unless the teacher plans well the material to be taught, learning cannot take place effectively.

There are many factors that promote or distract learning process to take place. Classroom environment is a crucial factor that can promote or distract learning process. The classroom should be placed in an environment that is not noisy and that is neither too hot nor too cold. These are very important physical features that will make the students feel warm and they become encouraged to learn since the environment is friendly.

Reference List

Henry, M. (2010). “Classroom Management”. A Proactive Approach, 2nd Edition. Prentice Hall. Web.

Lyons, G, Ford, M., Arthur-Kelly, M (2010). “Classroom Management”. Creating Positive Learning Environments. South Melbourne. Web.

Marsh, C. (2004). “Becoming a teacher” Pearson Education Australia. (3rd Ed.). pp.131-133. Web.