An excellent teacher is what makes students learn and succeed in school.
The title is the first line of a post from OECD Education Today titled “A Window into the classroom”. You can find the full article here: A Window into the classroom (linked checked 03/032016)
It goes on to say “Excellent teachers are those teachers who master a large repertoire of teaching practices, which they can deploy according to learners’ needs and varying classroom conditions. Those teachers are also the ones who actively advance their own professional competence by professional development and who feel more satisfied and effective about their own work.”
I am sure many teachers will not disagree but what about the learning environment teachers often find themselves in. I don’t mean just the classroom, I mean the political landscape which governs the conditions under which teachers work.
My comment is given below where I try to make the point about environment impacting on the ability of the teacher to teach. I have also included a link to a Prezi I put together which explores the nature of an excellent teacher.
“Whilst I agree and support your descriptions of the nature and behaviour of the excellent teacher you must also consider the environment in which that or any other teacher operates. An excellent teacher can be limited by the environment in which they work and suffer greatly as a result, perhaps to the extent of not being recognised as an excellent teacher! Place a creative, innovative teacher into a highly regulated, prescriptive and consequence based environment as you will be rewarded with a mediocre teacher at best and an ineffective teacher in the worst case.
As for teachers reluctant to change practices consider the fact that some take their responsibility very seriously, after all they face the consequences each day. If you saw a systematic dismantling and ineffective change of the system in which you had invested your professional career would you not be reluctant to open your doors? You would, I believe, seek to protect what you had and what worked and be resistant to change where you saw no benefit.
I mention these two points because I have personal experience of what the environment can do to and for excellent teachers. The key to recognising and promoting excellent teaching is to create the right environment. Perhaps a reflection on the research available to CERI etc may help identify the key elements to providing an environment in which teachers and teaching can flourish. Even without this research I am sure most teachers would give you a list. The next obvious step would be to explore and record the environments in which teachers operate and to compare this with the numbers of excellent teachers within each. I return to this point in the article ” What happens when we interfere with the learning relationship?”
As for what makes an excellent teacher I extracted a little intellectual capital from an online discussion, you will find the link below, in which this very question was debated and evidence suggested. If you do visit Prezi please leave a comment to add to the debate, after all is it not an aspect of collective responsibility to enhance teaching!”