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Teachers & Teaching        < Previous        Next >


10 Traits of a Good Teacher


Q. What do good teachers do? How can you spot a good teacher?


Researchers Ellis, Worthington and Larkin of the University of Oregon's National Center to Improve the Tools of Educators summarized these 10 principles of effective instruction:

1. Active Engagement -- The amount of time students are actively engaged in relevant instructional tasks increases vs. other teachers.

2. Experience of success -- If students do not experience success, their motivation quickly disappears.

3. Content coverage and opportunity to learn -- The more content is covered, the greater the potential for student learning.

4. Grouping for instruction -- Students achieve the most when they are engaged in learning activities supervised directly by teachers.

5. Scaffolded instruction - -Students benefit from a carefully and systematically sequenced series of prompted content, materials, tasks and teacher support.

6. Addressing forms of knowledge -- Teachers should address all forms of knowledge: declarative (basic facts and vocabulary); procedural knowledge (steps used to solve problems), and conditional (when and where to use certain strategies).

7. Organizing knowledge -- Moving from easier skills to more difficult skills helps students make progress.

8. Teaching strategically -- Teaching students strategies that can be applied across various settings and situations helps them hone their skills.

9. Explicit instruction -- Teachers can make instruction explicit by clearly stating the goals of the lesson, structuring the lesson in an obvious format and presenting content in a direct fashion.

10. Teaching sameness -- Purposively designing instruction to help students recognize patterns and organize knowledge can help students learn.



Homework: For more about the qualities of a good teacher, and how districts can discern candidates who are capable of building effective relationships with students, especially those in poverty, see the Haberman Educational Foundation, This is the home of the National Center for Alternative Certification Information, featuring the concepts of distinguished educational researcher Martin Haberman. Get Haberman's book, Star Teachers: The Ideology and Best Practices of Effective Teachers Serving Diverse Student in Poverty.


By Susan Darst Williams Teachers 02 2008


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