Stetson

What makes an effective teacher?

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With the issue of education in the United States, I would like to gather a consensus from the community.

 

In your experience as a student/past student, what qualities in any of your past or present teachers enables them to engage and motivate the class as a whole?

 

Is the emphasis on standarized testing appropriate to gauge a student's skill level?

 

Why is there a high turnover rate in teaching positions?

 

If given the financial opportunity, what would be the best way to go about teaching a student?

 

Please feel free to add additional information that could elaborate on the topic of education. As well, any teachers here, I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

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An interesting, but controversial, subject.

 

What are you going to do with the information?

 

In the current education system the only opportunities that I can see for students to receive the wider 'education' ideal of teaching lie in music and sport.

Other areas all seem to me to be overdominated by standardisation, with counterproductive effect.

Edited by studiot

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In your experience as a student/past student, what qualities in any of your past or present teachers enables them to engage and motivate the class as a whole?

I don't know, but keeping a class engaged and motivated can be difficult in my experience. Most of my teaching experience is in teaching mathematics and some physics to students of engineering and most recently economics. Keeping these students interested in the more theoretical aspects is difficult, especially when they don't clearly see the applications.

 

Is the emphasis on standarized testing appropriate to gauge a student's skill level?

Not appropriate at all. Being able to reproduce what you have been told in some given time scale is not a way to test any deep critical thinking. Rather the deep thinkers could score low in such tests as they are properly questioning each step.

 

If given the financial opportunity, what would be the best way to go about teaching a student?

Smaller classes and one-to-one tutorial sessions.

 

As well, any teachers here, I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

I will just outline that my teaching experience is in physics and mathematics for students aged 16-18 (or at least the course is aimed at that age range) and in mathematics at university undergraduate level.

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At a local medical school the students in large part teach themselves. A group of about a dozen students and one instructor meet daily. The students are given a medical case and told they must diagnose and suggest a treatment. The students take turns researching symptoms, tests, treatments, etc. and present them to fellow students. As the days go on the students get to request specific tests be performed and they are presented with the test results. The role of the instructor is (among other things) to ensure what they are being told is accurate, and to ensure the students are not wasting their time working too far toward a dead end.

 

This has proven to be a very effective method for them. The students not only feel the need to do well for their own sake, but the expectations of the group as a whole drives them to perform well, as the other students are dependent on your research and understanding of the topic you are assigned to investigate.

 

The success of this method is shown by the high success rate when the students take their licensing exams.

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working too far toward a dead end.

 

Was that a freudian slip?

 

As a matter of interest do the students have to pay for this non-teaching?

 

evil.gif

Edited by studiot

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Was that a freudian slip?

 

As a matter of interest do the students have to pay for this non-teaching?

 

evil.gif

 

No Freudian slip. That is what I meant.

 

 

The University of Missouri School of Medicine is located in the southern part of the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, Missouri. It was the first publicly supported medical school west of the Mississippi River. The school offers a program that emphasizes a medical education founded on clinical experience and research. The School of Medicine is a pioneer in the problem-based learning style of medical education that emphasizes problem solving, self-directed learning and early clinical experience. In addition, the Pre-Admissions Program and the Rural Track Program offered through the school give students an opportunity to gain education and experience practicing medicine in a rural area.

A faculty of 70 basic scientists and 260 clinicians joins 350 residents in more than 60 specialties and subspecialties to supervise patient care and student teaching. The school provides postgraduate medical training in virtually all specialties and subspecialties. Each year 96 first-year slots are available. Eighty-five percent or more of graduates receive their first or second choice of specialties and residency programs, with 70 percent or more being matched with the program they most want.

As part of the Health Sciences Center, the school continues to revolutionize medicine by exploring innovative ways to deliver health care to the residents of Missouri. Its faculty and administrators are leading a major initiative that allows rural physicians and their patients to consult with Health Sciences Center specialists via telemedicine technology.

...

U.S. News and World Report has ranked MU’s Department of Family and Community Medicine as one of the top three family medicine programs nationwide for 15 consecutive years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Missouri_School_of_Medicine

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I appreciate the feedback given so far. The information is being used as a report for a course of study in education.

 

In my first question I may not have been as clear as I desired it to be. Public schools in America pay their teachers based on seniority (how long they have taught) and highest level of education attained. Teachers are not being rewarded based on their performance, and so the absence of monetary incentive would appear to bring a hindrance on improving teacher efficacy.

 

The question begs, what exactly would define an efficent teacher? What qualities, tools, and techniques are used to engage and motivate?

 

With this being explored deeper, I will slip in another question. Can these be measurable to fit a pay scale to reward efficacy?

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Teachers are not being rewarded based on their performance, and so the absence of monetary incentive would appear to bring a hindrance on improving teacher efficacy.

 

I am not sure that pay based on student performance would be a useful thing. We know that the social and economic background of the students plays a role in education. In short if the students don't receive the proper support of their parents then they will tend to do worse in school.

 

http://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/indicator/2013/05/poverty-dropouts.aspx

 

Can these be measurable to fit a pay scale to reward efficacy?

As I said, I am not sure how fair this kind of pay scale is on the teachers or the pupils. That is of course once you work out how to measure the performance in the first place.

 

I will say that I am from the UK and performance related pay has been discussed here. I am not sure exactly what the pay scales are here, I am not a high school teacher and have not really looked into it.

Edited by ajb

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To motivate the entire class, teachers need to have a creative approach to teaching. They should also explain the reasons behind things, instead of just stating them.

Grades also need to be based on skill, not age. This ensures that each student progresses at their own rate.

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They should also explain the reasons behind things, instead of just stating them.

Ideally yes, but the problem can be one of time.

 

This is one of the difficulties I have found personally. There was not enough time to properly motivate all of what we were doing if I was to ensure I covered (almost) all of the material. This and the lack of applied examples did don't help the students' overall motivation for my class.

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Just wondering, is this discussion about primary/secondary education or post-secondary? The mission is quite different and hence the criteria with which a teacher may be considered effective.

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Here's a nice TED talk delivered last year that touches on your question.

 

Ken Robinson: How to escape education's death valley

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley.html

 

Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish -- and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational "death valley" we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.

 

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

From the talk:

 

"Teaching is a creative profession, not a delivery system. Great teachers do [pass on information], but what great teachers also do is mentor, stimulate, provoke, engage."

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With the issue of education in the United States, I would like to gather a consensus from the community.

 

In your experience as a student/past student, what qualities in any of your past or present teachers enables them to engage and motivate the class as a whole?

 

Is the emphasis on standarized testing appropriate to gauge a student's skill level?

 

Why is there a high turnover rate in teaching positions?

 

If given the financial opportunity, what would be the best way to go about teaching a student?

 

Please feel free to add additional information that could elaborate on the topic of education. As well, any teachers here, I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

According to me Good students make Good teacher

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Really good teachers, like really good coaches, are rare. Your setup has to work with mediocre teachers, and treat them with resepect for maximum performance, or it will fail.

 

It's an open ended job requiring high ability with vague standards - however much you can put into it, it will take it all with room for more. That and the lousy working conditions in most US situations (how many jobs require you to accept personal abuse from crowds of strangers without retaliation, forbid you from going to the bathroom at need and schedule your lunch breaks short and to the minute, routinely mandate unpaid overtime on base wages totaling less than 35k @ year, require paperwork and recordkeeping in an "open floor" setup without providing an office or other necessary equipment (my high school had "floaters" - rookie teachers who did not even have a desk of their own on the premises), require "professional" level continuing education without paying for it, etc etc etc) account for the turnover.

 

Evaluating teachers is difficult, and all but impossible to standardize - it's as if one were to try to evaluate coaches without their teams playing any games. Teaching situations vary, teachers vary in their styles, students vary, even if this does not change who is and who isn't a good teacher (as it might) it interferes with standardizing the evaluation of their performances.

 

One interesing bit of info I ran across long, long ago was a side comment in a meta -analysis of the value of IQ tests in predicting professional success: they turn out to be almost worthless for that in most professions, including nuclear physicist and the like, once a minimum threshold is passed; except teaching. Teaching was the one profession (the only one IIRC) in which "success " (as measured in a careful and persuasive but imperfect way as I remember) was correlated with IQ even within the profession, on top of the minimum IQ for basic performance. The correlation was strong enough that the authors of the study made a parenthetical remark to the effect that there appeared to be no better criterion for hiring teachers in the first place: IQ score was more predictive than post-secondary education in anything, formal training in "teaching", interviewer's evaluation, even experience and past performance on the job.

 

Something about flexibility of mind in a classwork situation?

 

At any rate, since you want the best teachers to be taking on the most difficult teaching challenges for you, and you want teachers to bring their best rather than drill for exam scores etc, evaluating teachers by student performance on tests won't work very well in most situations. I confess to having done that myself, when I was a TA for college math, but only in those huge classes where dozens of TA sections get together for common final exams - and even there, some casual stats persuaded me the results were not really very reliable.

 

As far as improving US education, try making schools pleasant and enjoyable places to learn stuff in - plenty of physical running around for young hominids, large windows and clean, comfortable places to sit and study, quiet where it needs to be, without the social pathologies of crowding and stress.

Edited by overtone

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Well from personal experience I can tell you I had many good teachers and many bad teachers. But I have one particular teacher that I will always remember as the best on I've ever had. He was my Math teacher and was pretty young (around 25 I think), and yet had the authority to lead our class full of teenagers and keep us motivated. Looking back at it there was nothing special about what he did, but more how he did it. We saw him as our friend and yet our rolemodel. We could speak to him and laugh about anything, but yet he would be able to stop us from making jokes the whole lesson and make us focus on the Math. When we would get to loud he would just make us silent by saying a simple 'psh' or by saying 'alright now, enough joking, now focus' and we would simply shut up and get back to work. We looked up to him and respected him, mostly because he respected us aswell. I guess it's the fact that he treated us like 'adults' and spoke to us as such and still managed to keep us under control, that made us respect him.

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If you were to test how much a teacher motivates his students, one thing to consider is asking the students how much a teacher motivates them.

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these are good questions"

Is the emphasis on standarized testing appropriate to gauge a student's skill level?

no i think they dont nessiserly test you on what you have learned, they sometimes put alot of extraneous information. espesially the SAT's i took the twice
ce studied hard and still didnt get a decent enough score to get into the college i wanted.

why is there a high turnover rate in teaching positions?
because there is many teachers.
If given the financial opportunity, what would be the best way to go about teaching a student?

I think good teachers cause you to think about a subject for hours after the class is over. It helps to have a subject your interested in. getting interesting information the kind that is actually applied in life, for instance instead of just teaching chemical reactions like how iron rusts show how you can use that in life. techniques and treatments that keep metal from rusting.

I had a really bad experience in school i always felt really stupid, I was taken out of regular classes and got put in english as a second language and i fell really behind on every subject, they kept me in english as a second language for ten years. kids bullied me, my parents did not help they just said i was overreating ind i am too emotional. this effected my self stemless and my decision in theis college and it has prevented me into getting into the major i secretly wanted to get into.the english as a second language tests to get out of this class are incredibly hard , they ask about paralell sentence construction and we dont even learn that in class, i still dont know what that is.we learned phonics in class. I really hate how my whole school life went, i really wish i could do it over.

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An effective teacher needs to be strict but not so rigid that they can't compromise or bend if needed. An effective teacher needs to be firm and have classroom control but also be warm and open enough to have a good relationship with his/her students. A good teacher needs to be interesting and innovative, but not lose sight of the main goal (for example: they shouldn't create such an interesting lesson on the 50s that the students walk away remembering the Elvis songs but not the historical information about the beatniks and counterculture). A good teacher should be willing to listen and give advice, but not cross the line from mentor to peer. A good teacher should be fair and even handed and not dole out different consequences for different kids. A good teacher should make all kids think he/she likes them even though there will invariably be ones she really doesn't like. A good teacher should realize that even though the bell may ring at 3pm signaling the end of the day, that he/she should be willing to give up his/her time and stay late in order to help students. A good teacher should plan his/her lessons in advance and put thought into them instead of just coming in unprepared and wasting his/her time, the kids' time and the school's time. 

I realize that teachers don't get paid enough to do all of the stuff that "good teachers" should do, but if we did this job for the money, no one would do it. We teach because we love it. 
 

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