Monday, October 31, 2011

Characteristics of a good teacher

Describing the characteristics of a good teacher is complex as teachers' work involves many different aspects. As many education reforms aim to link teacher payment to performance, it is urgent to get solid measurements of teacher quality. The Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley recently held a forum on how to assess teachers: Grading the teachers. The forum concluded that there is no reliable way to accurately measure teacher performance (not now and maybe never).

The Bill Gates foundation invests heavily in research on how to measure effective teaching (See: Measures of effective teaching factsheet).

Among other qualities, a teacher needs to have strong content knowledge ("what to teach") combined with pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) ("how to teach).

Stephen Harris (from Sydney Innovation in Education) adds another interesting point: Teachers should be authentic and do what they are in charge of "a physics teacher should research, an arts teacher should paint and an English teacher should write novels or poems."

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