A friend of mine is a translator, and she likes to joke that to be one, you only need to know how to read and write, but both activities are much more challenging than they seem. I wonder if I can offer a similar instruction to becoming a good, effective teacher. As the theory of teaching and learning progress, the education and practice of teachers become more informed but also more sophisticated, and as a result, new requirements are developed that a teacher is supposed to take into account. It is a positive development that enables us to improve the quality of our work, but it may become difficult nowadays, to bring the qualities of an effective teacher together in a short but apt phrase. However, this essay will attempt to offer a concise overview of what it means to be an effective teacher by arguing that the foundation of becoming one can be provided through simply knowing how to communicate, manage, and inspire, even though there is nothing simple about the three activities.
It is apparent that communication is among the most important aspects of teaching that are necessary for the creation of an effective learning environment. For example, when describing an effective classroom, Ornstein, Levine, Gutek, and Vocke (2013) mention at least four aspects that demonstrate a teacher’s communicative skills, including the ability to communicate a point, enable students to communicate a point (mostly an issue), monitoring the nonverbal signs that are demonstrated by the students, and showing am appropriate culture of communication, in particular, “being careful to avoid embarrassing students in front of their classmates” (p. 450).
The second aspect of an effective teaching process consists of the teacher’s ability to manage a classroom, which is, once again, a very complex activity that requires creativeness and individual approaches for every case. Ornstein et al. (2013), for example, offer twelve aspects that can help to manage a classroom effectively, including the above-mentioned communication as well as the content of the lesson and the form of its presentation with an emphasis on the means of “ensuring that all students are part of a classroom learning community” (p. 450), and these twelve points do not appear to be exhaustive.
The third aspect of an effective teaching practice that I propose to take into consideration is the ability of an effective teacher to inspire and engage every stakeholder, in particular, the students, their families, and their communities. For example, Zacarian and Silverstone (2015) fervently advocate the need to engage various stakeholders throughout the process of facilitating students’ education and development insisting that this process will become much more effective and meaningful “when we are in it together” (p. 4).
To sum up, just the foundation of an effective teacher practice consists of rather complex aspects, just the definition of which requires a certain amount of research and consideration. Here, I propose that communication, management, and inspiration or leadership are the key aspects, the pillars of an effective teacher practice, but it is a simplistic approach, which is similar to the joke of my translator friend. These aspects are very unlikely to be exhaustive; in fact, they probably reflect my personal view on teacher effectiveness, and some components of an effective practice might have been overlooked. As a result, I think that searching for other perspectives that are capable of complementing mine could lead to the development of a more comprehensive picture of effective teaching.
Ornstein, A., Levine, D., Gutek, G., & Vocke, D. (2013). Foundations of education. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Zacarian, D. & Silverstone, M. (2015). In it together. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.