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May 24, 2018 Thursday 03:50:11 PM IST

Top 10 Principles of Effective Teaching

Teacher Insights

Effective teaching is not about jargon, buzzwords or particular philosophies of teaching. It is about helping your students to achieve the best results they can at school. Principles of teaching helps the teachers to an extend to know about the effectiveness of their own teaching method. Here are the ten principles of effective teaching.

1. Care about helping your kids to do the best that they can

Effective teachers are passionate about helping their students to learn. They form warm and caring relationships with their students. However, they also set high expectations, and they demand that their students meet them. This leads to a situation where the teacher and the students are working together towards a common goal – helping every child to learn as much as they can.

2. Understand but don’t excuse your students

Effective teachers seek to understand their students, but so do most teachers. The difference is that effective teachers still expect each of their students to behave and to achieve well. Effective teachers use their understanding to adjust their approach to teaching, but they did not use it to excuse misbehaviour, poor effort or a lack of real academic progress.

3. Be clear about what you want your students to learn

Effective teachers are clear about what they want their students to learn and they share this with their students. Everyone understands what success entails. Effective teachers also know where students are currently at in this area. They then work towards developing the understanding and skills their students need to demonstrate that they have mastered the material.

4. Disseminate surface knowledge and promote deep learning

Effective teachers want their students to be able to think critically and to develop a deep understanding of the material being taught in class. However, they recognise developing this deep understanding requires sharing a foundational set of knowledge and skills. Armed with this foundation, teachers can help students to develop a deep understanding of the topic at hand.

5. Gradually release responsibility for learning

Effective teachers do not ask their students to perform tasks that they have not shown their students how to do. Rather, they start by modelling what students need to do. They then ask their students to have a go themselves, while being available to help as needed. Only when students are ready, do they ask their students to perform the tasks on their own. Finally, they offer ongoing cumulative practice, spaced out over time, to help students retain what they have learned.

6. Give your students feedback

Effective teachers give students dollops of feedback. This feedback tells students how they are going and gives them information about how they could improve. Without feedback, students are likely to continue holding misconceptions and making errors. Feedback allows students to adjust their understanding and efforts before it is too late.

7. Involve students in learning from each other

Effective teachers supplement teacher-led, individual learning, with activities that involve students in learning from each other. When done well, strategies such as cooperative learning, competition and peer tutoring can be quite powerful. Yet, these activities must be carefully structured and used in conjunction with more traditional teaching.

8. Manage your students’ behaviour

Effective teachers know that students’ behaviour can help or hinder how much students learn in the classroom. They implement strategies that nurture positive behaviour and minimise misbehaviour. They are consciously aware of what is going in the classroom, and they nip problems in the bud before quickly returning the focus to the lesson at hand. Finally, they follow up on more serious misbehaviour and help students to change any entrenched bad habits.

9. Evaluate the impact you are having on your students

Effective teachers regularly assess student progress, and they then use this insight to evaluate the impact they are having on their students. If what they are doing is working, they continue to use or even make more use of a particular approach. If what they are doing is not having the desired impact (even for just one student), they reflect on and refine what they are doing until they are getting the results they want.

10. Continue learning ways that you can be of even more help to more students

Effective teachers love learning and are always seeking to improve their own practices. They seek out evidence-based insights, and they are happy to challenge their existing beliefs about teaching. However, they are also critical of mindless innovation, innovation for the sake of it, and innovation that adopts practices that are not supported by research.