What makes an effective teacher?

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How does OFSTED define an effective teacher?

OFSTED defines an outstanding teacher as one who:

  1. Possesses a thorough and expert knowledge of their subject
  2. Uses their expertise to answer pupils’ questions in a way that will maximise their learning and increase their classroom participation
  3. Uses their creativity and innovation to set imaginative tasks in order to inspire their pupils as well as advancing their knowledge
  4. Selects and combines appropriate resources (including teaching assistants) and activities
  5. Makes sure that all of their pupils are involved and progressing, regardless of their talents, abilities and learning styles
  6. Balances the need for didactic teaching with the need to facilitate pupil interaction and independent learning for a well-rounded teaching approach
  7. Is capable of meticulously checking pupils’ understanding and progress towards objectives during class in a non-disruptive way
  8. Provides pupils with clear, specific and insightful guidance on achieving their academic goals
  9. Sets homework that is relevant and builds upon the work already covered in class or sets the stage for the next lesson

An outstanding teacher creates a classroom environment that is:

  1. Conducive to learning – both stimulating and challenging
  2. Conducive to respect, courtesy and harmonious interactions between pupils, teachers and fellow pupils
  3. Laid out in a manner designed to aid learning, for example in a semicircle if the class revolves around debate, or with pupils facing forwards if the lesson is lecture-based
  4. Well-presented and uncluttered in terms of both structure and decoration

What are the attributes of an effective teacher?

Personal qualities of an effective teacher include:

  1. Empathy – you must empathise with your pupils’ attitudes and learning styles in order to teach effectively
  2. Ambition – drive is a vital part of being a teacher. If teaching is not truly your vocation, your success as a teacher may will be limited
  3. Patience – to remain calm and patient while teaching will help you to provide effective discipline and classroom management
  4. Energy – this is a role that involves hard work and most teachers often work over and above the hours they are paid for
  5. Passion – your passion will communicate itself to the students and create the engaging environment you want

How do I become a more effective teacher?

You can use techniques both inside and outside the classroom to ensure you are the most effective you can be in the classroom:

In the classroom, ensure that your body language and tone of voice are not undermining your teaching methods. The best lesson plan in the world will not get pupils enthused and working hard if you’re not.

Try:

  1. Keeping your face and body animated
  2. Smiling
  3. Speaking clearly and brightly
  4. Maintaining a good posture with head high, your back straight and your arms uncrossed
  5. Moving around the classroom during the lesson, rather than standing or sitting in one place throughout

Outside the classroom, seize opportunities for professional development. Not only will CPD courses whet your appetite for your role, they will make you more effective in it.

With the pressures of classroom management and OFSTED inspections it can be all too easy to forget that your career is about learning – yours as well as your students’.

Ensure that you’re maintaining a good work-life balance. Working hard is important, but it’s just as important to carve out some time for yourself and enjoy your life outside work. If you are constantly stressed and running yourself into the ground, inevitably your lessons – and ultimately your pupils – will suffer as a result.

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