EDS 111 – Module 6: Principles of Effective Teaching
What is needed to be a good teacher? If I were to become one, what aspects do I have to make sure to keep on track? Why do I have these questions? Well because I believe being an expert in the subject matter and having very good teaching styles are not enough and does not stop there. Other factors need to be considered so allow me to dwell on those below.
One challenge but what may also be considered as something to look forward to when I become a teacher is the diversity of students that I will handle. Diversity may be in the form of race, gender, beliefs, etc., and this has a bearing on the kind of planning and creation of instructional designs that I will have to do. In order for students to enjoy and have an interest in learning, they should be in a safe and non-discriminatory learning environment. For this to happen, I should make sure that respect is always present in the class. It is very important that as a model, I should have a good knowledge of the different culture, beliefs, history, etc., as only then can I design instructions for students to be aware, understand and maybe appreciate also their classmate’s culture, beliefs, etc. Diversity does not have to be a blockade for learning but rather a means to expand our knowledge and be more aware of real-world situations. However, it should be emphasized that it will not just be my responsibility as a teacher to develop a culturally responsive pedagogy but also it should go hand in hand with the institution that I will be working with and how they handle and arrange structures to support diversity and also the community’s involvement.
In connection with diversity is the development of what is called inclusive, learning- friendly environment of ILFE. This is a new term for me though the concept talks about something that I am aiming to do when I become a teacher. It talks about that as a teacher, I should deal away from the traditional type of classroom. For instance, I should avoid teaching facing the blackboard and my back is directed to my students. In ILFE, a teacher should be warm, friendly and especially give attention to those who need it more. I should arrange the students in diverse ways so that interactions with different students will be entertained. The instructions, resources and evaluation should not just be based on standards. Instead, I should be resourceful and creative so that there is a variety of material and activities done. This kind of learning environment will benefit not just the students and teachers but also the parents and community as they take part also in the activities of the students.
Now, mentioned above is the gearing away from traditional types of teaching and one way to do this is to be creative. Especially in the world today, the onset of the 21st century opened the young generation to a lot more activities and possibilities. As a teacher, I should also learn to adapt. Yes, I may not have the talent for art but that should not stop me from being creative. When I say creative, it means that I should be able to plan and create instructional designs that are new and original, able to use critical thinking, and practical or the applicability of the learning and ideas into real-world situations. I know challenges will be there because anything that does not follow the norm will be questioned, but as a teacher, I should learn to take risks and be open. The activities should develop their motivation and my feedback should be given in a such a way that they view it as a positive one. Again, this is more possible with the help of all stakeholders.
So, does it stop there? When I am able to do all of the above, will I be a good teacher forever? Just like any other profession, the answer would be no. Learning is a continuous process and that is also true for teachers. Thus, as a teacher, I should continuously reflect on my teaching. I should aim to practice scholarly teaching. This kind of teaching entails consulting the literature or colleagues on what are the appropriate information needed in teaching to have a good resultant learning. However, there is another term that is introduced in this module and one that is of big importance for a teacher. This is the scholarship of teaching and learning or SoTL which aims to understand how students learn effectively and how it is influenced by teaching. By the use of appropriate media, this will then become part of the knowledge base in teaching and learning in higher education. Teachers are encouraged to engage in SoTL because it is a sign of professionalism in that it is a professional’s role and responsibility and because it is a way to examine a teacher’s work and a way to influence the work of colleagues.
For me then, being a teacher entails patience and perseverance. Finishing my units in education and hopefully passing the licensure exam one day should not stop my learning. There have been a lot of studies and the accessibility of technology now makes it more possible for resources to be available both for students and teachers. Students should not be the only ones who should be open and able to adapt. Teachers too should do that and along with the passion for teaching is the continuous desire to find ways to improve student learning.
Brown, A., Forde, T. & Richards, H. (2004). Addressing Diversity in Schools: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. Retrieved from http://www.niusileadscape.org/docs/FINAL_PRODUCTS/NCCRESt/practitioner_briefs/%95%20TEMPLATE/DRAFTS/AUTHOR%20revisions/annablis%20pracbrief%20templates/Diversity_Brief_highres.pdf
Martin, Lynn. (2007). Defining the Scholarship of Teaching versus Scholarly Teaching. Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (46). Retrieved from https://www.stlhe.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/STLHE-Newsletter-46-2007-Summer.pdf