September 28, 2009

Characteristics of a Good Teacher: Brief Literature Review

Today, the academic world is witnessing the creation of new learning environments which require an interactive approach to teaching. Such processes make important both the roles of teachers and students but the weight is given for the teachers to integrate know-how in curriculum and instructions. As such, first of the qualities of an effective teacher is that s/he takes initiative in exploring new opportunities and broadening her/his horizons through continuous learning. What teachers will be learning will be trickled down onto their students (Moss, 2006). Teachers are well aware that knowledge is fluid and builds upon itself. Learning must be therefore continual, an embedded process, self-selected and needs-based. Learning is also obviously learner constructed, personal and subjective (Klein, 2006).

Second, effective teachers are also engaged in continuous reflection, problem solvers and critical thinkers. Reflection provides a structured opportunity for teachers to consider ramifications of their experiences and better understand their roles inside and outside the classroom and within their immediate communities such as the faculty and their relation with the schools administration. Problem-solving aims to develop logical thinking of teachers as well as creative thinking. Such skills also develop their capability to arrive at corrective actions when something went wrong. Critical thinking skills provide learners the ability to build upon knowledge. It is important for the teachers to be expert and competent on the field of learning integration to support their aims inside the classroom (Klein, 2006).

Good teachers, thirdly, are also feedback-oriented especially since critiquing is an important endeavour for teachers because they could also learn deeper from this process. Through this, teachers are enabled to focus on intended meanings and discussing alternative views while also further developing new ideas. It would be also important to note that connections should be important in facilitator of continual learning. Therefore, teachers should also know how to value the diversity of opinions as well as a process of connection (Klein, 2006).

Fourth, good teachers are also expected to be good mentors. Basically, teachers must be enthusiastic to engage students more in the learning process. According to Bybee (1978), enthusiasm is reported as an important attribute of an ideal teacher. It is infectious and may influence the students. Students' treatment to a subject and/or activity varies and enthusiasm while teaching the subject can emulate the students' natural curiosity and the subject will be more interesting. The more the students become enthusiastic about that subject, the more they are probably going to achieve more.

Fifth, good teachers have a strong knowledge base of 'who' they are teaching. To enable the transfer of knowledge from teachers to learners, pedagogical knowledge is the key. Lack of this knowledge can create relationship problems inside the classroom. Meeting the needs of the students is a part of teaching. In order to do this, you have to psyche yourself and the students as well to "understand their world and the things that influence it" (NSW Board of Studies, 1993, p. 5). Rapport engages students' learnings.

Sixth, being confident and self-reliant are also characteristics of a good teacher. Understanding own practices (Moran, 1990, p. 212) and developing knowledge, skills and self-efficacy (Bandura, 1981) can enhance teachers' self-confidence. A developed self-confidence can deliver well-planned and modeled lessons, modules and courses. Well-designed activities engage students in learning. Likewise, teachers shall learn classroom management and develop a sense of self to facilitate a rapport within the class (Krasnow, 1993). Knowledge in preparation, planning and class management techniques provides an opportunity for teachers to demonstrate more hands-on activities. Investigative hands-on learning proves to be more effective in as it enhances the critical thinking and constructivism of the students.

Finally, good teachers demonstrate effective classroom management practices. Classroom management is a need and a priority. It appears to be the most difficult area for the teachers who are experiencing teaching problems (Hudson). Issues within a classroom need to be addressed immediately so as not to get in the way of teaching and learning practices. Students need to identify themselves with the teachers and vice versa. Expectations, problems and other concerns will make a classroom even more participative amongst the learners and the teachers because teaching on a traditional set-up is basically based on behaviours of the students.


Bandura, A. 1981, Self referent thought: A development analysis of self-efficacy, J.H. Flavell and L. Ross eds., Social cognitive development frontiers and possible futures, Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Bybee, R. W. 1978, Science educator's perception of the ideal science teacher, School Science and Mathematics, 78(1).

Hudson, P. Mentors and modelling primary science teaching practices, Queensland University of Technology: New South Wales Department of Education and Training.

Klein, M. B. (2006). New Teaching and Teacher Issues. Nova Publishers.

Krasnow, M. H. 1993, Waiting for Thursday: New teachers discover teaching, In a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Atlanta, GA.

Moss, J. (2006). How to Succeed in Making Schools Inclusive. Australia: Curriculum Corporation.

Moran, S. 1990, Schools and the beginning teacher, Phi Delta Kappan, 72(3), p. 212.

Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus and Support Documents, 1993, Board of Studies: New South Wales Department of Education and Training, p.5.

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