Reflection on 4 Ptlls Sessions

What makes a good teacher?

This first session of the course encouraged us as learners to reflect on what makes a good teacher. By studying the results of various surveys, discussing in small groups and by engaging with a number of learning methods, we were able to ascertain lists of attributes and skills that we thought were essential to being a good teacher. During the session I discovered relational skills such as encouragement, equality, trust and humour are as relevant to teaching as they are to the more informal youth work setting. Avent (1931), Adams (1970) and Roy (1987) all have lists of teacher attributes that include these qualities but White et al (1987 p.89-95) suggest, based on 300 studies, that no single teaching behaviour strongly relates to student learning but there are clusters of behaviours that distinguish effective from less effective teachers. Their clusters are: Management of Instructional Time, Management of Student Behaviour, Instructional Presentation, Instructional Monitoring and Instructional Feedback.

The outstanding skills pyramid (see fig 1.) which we discussed during the session illustrates how knowledge, organisation, engagement and enthusiasm build on each other to form a ‘good teacher’. As a youth, schools and community worker, my own practice involves engaging many different groups in the learning process. I feel capable in my subject knowledge but I am now more aware of how important organisation is and how my ability to engage and enthuse students will be more effective if this is done well.
Fig 1. The Outstanding Skills Pyramid
Lesson planning

During this session we looked at what effective lesson planning involves. By studying examples, we were able to decide what we thought were important aspects to include in the planning of an overall scheme of work. I felt it was important at this preliminary stage to have the aim of each session set out so that lesson plans could then be completed. Through small group...