Characteristics of an Effective Educator

IMG_2285In the early 1900’s Washington State Educators were tested on wrote knowledge. When examining the qualification exam, one may surmise that the teacher was to impart the facts they knew about the world and nothing else. Today, facts are only a launchpad for further conversation and development in the classroom; learning is more than wrote memorization and an effective teacher should understand that.

Successful students look to the knowledge of their teacher as a basis of information. This knowledge can be categorized into learned facts, practiced techniques, and acquired wisdom. Students may come to class to learn the knowledge of a teacher; through praxis they acquire the technique of working with that knowledge; at the conclusion of the course they should remember the culminating wisdom from the teacher.

The skill of an effective teacher is measured through the transference of information, also known as learning goals (both fact and technique), along with the individual growth of the student. An effective teacher will inspire their students to develop their own skills, knowledge, and curiosity about the world; in doing so, they will develop course content proficiency in their students and prepare them to advance in the subject matter.

The disposition of a teacher must be one of understanding, compassion, and authority. Students should be expected to experiment and make mistakes; this is a central part of learning. The teacher should do their best to understand these mistakes and offer solutions for improved learning. Students may express needs that go beyond the confines of the content; they may have complicating circumstances that cloud the educational process (home-life issues, social problems, learning disabilities, among many possibilities). An effective teacher should handle these issues with compassion, understanding, and authority so that the class and content can move forward. Lastly, the classroom is a space with clear expectations. These expectations should come from the effective teacher so that the course can reach its learning goals; to do this the effective teacher must exercise their authority over the class.

An effective teacher manages all aspects of the classroom from the facts in the content to the students in the room. There is not one right way to do this. Each teacher must develop their knowledge, skills, and disposition that they need for their teaching style and course content.

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