Although there has been a substantial amount of research over the years in the area of teacher effectiveness, there is still little consensus about how to define and identify effective teaching. One of the reasons for the different opinions about teaching effectiveness is that teaching is such a complex, multidimensional, and idiosyncratic process. However, there are some generally agreed-on notions of teaching and indicators of effective teaching. This article focuses on some of the basic conceptions of teaching and some general understandings of what constitutes effective teaching. From a discussion about teaching and teacher effectiveness, the article concludes with some ideas about moving from effective teaching to excellent teaching.
Effective teachers tend to be typified as enthusiastic, charismatic, caring, motivational, fair-minded, supportive, flexible, outgoing, accessible, organized, and adaptable. In terms of abilities and skills, effective teachers tend to prepare for teaching by establishing goals and objectives for their students, determining students' learning strengths and weaknesses, deciding on appropriate instructional strategies and methods, and planning for assessment and evaluation of student performance.
During teaching, effective teachers match appropriate learning tasks with students' abilities, execute systematic instructional procedures routinely (e.g., review previously learned concepts and skills, show students the skills they need to be able to perform successfully, explain to students how they can apply these skills to their learning tasks, monitor students' progress, provide feedback to students regarding their learning and development), provide sufficient time for students to engage themselves in their learning, help students to generalize their learning to other situations, communicate with students in ways that promote positive self-concepts, and emphasize student effort and self-control.
After teaching good teachers assess the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and methods, determine the extent to which their goals and objectives have been met, and reevaluate the learning needs of their students.
A notable characteristic of good teachers is their ability to use effective classroom management techniques. For example, effective teachers introduce content and procedures gradually, provide enjoyable and meaningful activities in which students can engage, establish warm and secure classroom environments, use reasonable work standards, ensure high rates of success in assigned activities, anticipate and deal well with problems (e.g., late arrival of students to the classroom), collectively develop rules and routines with the students, promote the social competence of students, stop disruptive behavior appropriately and immediately, and organize and arrange a classroom that is conducive to student cooperation, active learning, and communication.
Effective teachers tend to have diverse and experience-based knowledge. There is some evidence to suggest that effective teachers have command of the subject area being taught and have a good understanding of students' learning capabilities. Concomitantly, they know how to build on students' background experience and facilitate their academic and social learning.