30 July 2008

Quality Teaching - Everyone Knows It Must Be So

What makes a quality teacher?

Surely, this teacher type accomplishes learning objectives ... meaning students are excelling in academics ... but how?

Experts will say they know the material they teach, they practice proficient classroom management skills, they must have decent organizational skills, and to some degree they must get along withe their teacher peers on the campus.

From my teaching days, besides knowing the material, I would say the most important skill is having a stage presence in class. With that presence a quality teacher can discipline students fairly and equitably ... along with rewarding students ..... BUT most importantly, with that presence the teacher builds a learning environment where students feel safe. When that safety is in place, students WILL engage themselves by participating while also acting respectful.

There is a bunch of essential information one doesn't get taught about quality teaching during the process procuring an education and passing subject matter exams to secure a teaching certificate. Honestly, I'm not a fan of having young people come barreling out of college and head into teaching. Why? They don't have the depth of social skills required to handle the velocity of teenagers today. Sure, maybe they can be effective in the primary grades as those students will interact with them as adults. But in high school, I think older people should be teaching. And when I saw older, I mean people who have been out in the world working in careers and are ready a career change BUT not ready for retirement. I might as well say it, I have also seen some very old teachers that should be retired.

Where am I going with this? Peer review. I think teachers should be evaluated by peer review to keep their jobs. Administrators have too much going on and by letting teachers evaluate teachers there is a process in place that is on a level playing field. Here is an excellent article and audio file from NPR on a current peer process in place in Ohio that seems to be working well.

Peer Review System for Teachers Spreads

1 comment:

ProfSeeman said...

You make some good points above.
However, I also think that this can be helpful to you:
Go to: http://www.panix.com/~pro-ed/

If you get this book and video: PREVENTING Classroom Discipline Problems, [they are in many libraries, so you don't have to buy them] email me and I can refer you to the sections of the book and the video [that demonstrates the effective vs. the ineffective teacher] that can help you.

[I also teach an online course on these issues that may be helpful to you at:
www.ClassroomManagementOnline.com ]

If you cannot get the book or video, email me and I will try to help.
Best regards,


Howard Seeman, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus,
City Univ. of New York

Prof. Seeman