Teacher Effectiveness

A number of factors have been identified in assessing the effectiveness of a teacher. These include verbal ability, content knowledge, continued professional development, teaching experience and teacher certification. A teacher's verbal ability is essential in communicating a lesson; the teacher's role is to explain a subject or theory. Possessing all the knowledge in the world is of no use to the teacher who does not have the skills with which to impart this knowledge; neither is it of any use to the student if it cannot be clearly conveyed. Verbal ability is the power to express ideas in words. This includes a teacher's capacity to communicate on an individual level as well as being able to communicate to the collective. It also extends to their ability to communicate with other teachers and their students' families. A teacher should be able to clearly present information and assess an audience in order to best convey a point to different individuals. In studies, teachers who achieved high scores in verbal ability tests were generally associated with effective teaching. Although verbal ability tests did not conclusively prove the teacher's verbal ability, that particular skill was found to be an indicator of effective teaching as it demonstrated the ability to convey concepts.

Naturally, content knowledge plays a major part in effective teaching. Research has revealed that teachers who have themselves studied the subject are more effective than those who do not have a background in their subject area. It is to be expected that a teacher who knows the content of a subject area will be able to better help students gain that same knowledge; if they have studied the subject themselves, they will be in the even stronger position of knowing which skills and methods might be most useful to the student in mastering it. It is essential for teachers to prepare for the practice of teaching. It is equally vital that they renew their teaching skills, particularly in an ever-changing world of new technologies and methodologies. Continued professional development can take the form of attending conferences, graduate programs and peer group activity; there is a wealth of professional development opportunities available to teachers. Teaching courses are especially important in helping teachers to convey the curriculum and also in helping them to assess their students' level of understanding.

Prior teaching experience is not always an indicator of effective teaching, however experience can certainly add to a teacher's competencies. A teacher may be said to be experienced if they have had between three to eight or more years of teaching experience. Research on the effectiveness of teachers has shown that the exposure of students to new teachers tended to correlate with lower achievement. All these factors are said to impact on teacher effectiveness; however the personal attributes of the teacher are equally important. A teacher should be motivational, able to adapt to changing circumstances and able to relate their subject to everyday life. An effective teacher should be able to display fairness and respect, enthusiasm, enjoyment of social interaction and a caring attitude. In addition, they should have organizational and managerial skills.

Teacher effectiveness became the renewed focus of the United States federal government in the early 21st century, with a reward system offering financial compensation to the nation's best teachers. The step was taken in response to research that concluded that teacher effectiveness was the solution to lagging student performance. The move to identify effective teaching caused debate as to how to measure effectiveness and how greater emphasis on test results could affect the performance of lower-scoring educational institutions. In 2010, the Los Angeles Times published a database of teachers' rankings based on student test scores. The move caused outrage among some educationalists, who threatened to boycott the newspaper; others called the list of rankings "innovative." The suicide of a Los Angeles teacher was attributed to his low ranking in the publication. While teacher effectiveness can be dictated by the curriculum and by politics to an extent, the focus should be at grassroots teaching and the acquisition of strengths, such as the ability to create a learning environment that fosters educational development and to maintain professionalism while cultivating harmonious relationships within the classroom. An effective teacher must treat all students equally, understand the dynamics of the classroom, have a commitment to teaching and above all, enjoy it.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Assessing Teacher Effectiveness: Developing a Differentiated Model
Jim Campbell; Leonidas Kyriakides; Daniel Muijs; Wendy Robinson.
RoutledgeFalmer, 2004
Qualities of Effective Teachers
James H. Stronge.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2002
Handbook for Qualities of Effective Teachers
James H. Stronge; Pamela D. Tucker; Jennifer L. Hindman.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2004
The Good Teacher: Dominant Discourses in Teaching and Teacher Education
Alex Moore.
RoutledgeFalmer, 2004
Linking Teacher Evaluation and Student Learning
Pamela D. Tucker; James H. Stronge.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005
What Makes Good Teachers Good? A Cross-Case Analysis of the Connection between Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement
Stronge, James H.; Ward, Thomas J.; Grant, Leslie W.
Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 62, No. 4, September-October 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: Can Classroom Observations Identify Practices That Raise Achievement?
Kane, Thomas J.; Taylor, Eric S.; Tyler, John H.; Wooten, Amy L.
Education Next, Vol. 11, No. 3, Summer 2011
Implementing Measures of Teacher Effectiveness: Teachers and Leaders in Pilot Sites Say the Evaluation Systems Are Beneficial, and Leaders Say They're Well-Prepared for Their New Responsibilities, Even as They Worry about Increased Workload and Stress from the New Expectations
Stecher, Brian; Garet, Mike; Holtzman, Deborah; Hamilton, Laura.
Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 94, No. 3, November 2012
Incorporating Teacher Effectiveness into Teacher Preparation Program Evaluation
Henry, Gary T.; Kershaw, David C.; Zulli, Rebecca A.; Smith, Adrienne A.
Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 63, No. 5, November-December 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Teaching, Learning and the Curriculum in Secondary Schools: A Reader
Bob Moon; Ann Shelton Mayes; Steven Hutchinson.
RoutledgeFalmer, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Teacher Effectiveness"
Professional Standards for Teachers and School Leaders: A Key to School Improvement
Howard Green.
Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "The Framework for School Inspection: A Perspective on the Effectiveness of Teachers and School Leaders"
Classroom Management: Sound Theory and Effective Practice
Robert T. Tauber.
Bergin & Garvey, 1999 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Thomas Gordon: Teacher Effectiveness Training"
Verbal Ability and Teacher Effectiveness
Andrew, Michael D.; Cobb, Casey D.; Giampietro, Peter J.
Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 56, No. 4, September-October 2005
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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