Effective Teaching in the Eye of Teacher Educators: A Case Study in a Higher Education

By Çakmak, Melek; Akkutay, Ülker | The Qualitative Report, December 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Effective Teaching in the Eye of Teacher Educators: A Case Study in a Higher Education


Çakmak, Melek, Akkutay, Ülker, The Qualitative Report


Teaching is a multidimensional, complex activity as stated by Khandelwal (2009). At the same time, teaching is very important in every level including higher education. Therefore, many studies (e.g., Betoret & Artiga, 2004; Haigh, Kane, & Sandretto, 2012) have been conducted on teaching and its components. These studies have particularly focused on defining and explaining effective teaching and teacher for last two decades. Related concepts have been studied from primary to higher education in different educational systems (e.g., Mohidin, Jaidi, Thien Sang, & Osman, 2009; Kiziltepe, 2002; Trigwell, 2001) especially based on students' perceptions. Some related studies (Barnes, 2010; Devlin & Samarawisckrema, 2010; Khandelwal, 2009; Werbinska, 2009; Brown, Morehead, & Smith, 2008) have attempted to identify the concepts of effective teaching and effective teacher in higher education. On the other hand, it is observed that studies (Arnon & Reichel, 2007; Buchel & Edwards, 2005; Devlin & O'Shea, 2011; Korthagen, 2004; Minor, Onwuegbuzie, Witcher, & James, 2002; Ditcher, 2001; Northcote, 2009; Parpala & Lindblom-Ylanne, 2007; Postareff & Lindblom-Ylanne, 2008; Wachtel, 1998, Wilson, 1996) in higher education about this issue mostly investigated student teachers' viewpoints.

Literature Review

Effective teaching and effective teacher which are the key concepts of this present study have been explained from different viewpoints in the related literature. For example, according to Vries and Beijaard (1999), good teaching is also effective teaching and it leads students to success. On the other hand, Harris (1998, p. 179) states that effective teaching mostly depends on outcomes and aims of education. In a similar way, some researchers such as Parpala and Lindblom-Ylanne (2007), Kyricaou (1997) claim that the quality of teaching is related to students' achievement. Different from these researchers, Johnson (1997) states that effective teaching based on communication which is directed by a teacher who is competent in his/her field and good at classroom management. Additionally, researchers (e.g., Berliner, 1983; Slavin, 2003), point out the four characteristics of effective teaching: the quality of teaching, considering students' level, motivation and enough time for learning. Giovannelli (2003), for example, states that effective teaching consists of five components: the composite of effective teaching, classroom management, instructional behaviour, and classroom organization and teacher expectations. According to Ramsden (1992, cited in Khandelwal, 2009), there are six key principles of effective teaching in higher education as follows: interest and explanation, concern and respect for students and student learning, appropriate assessment and feedback, clear goals and intellectual challenge, independence, control and active engagement, and learning from students. It is obvious that research provide a number of such lists of the characteristics of effective teaching, which are essentially checklists of skills, practices and qualities, with little or no agreement as Devlin and Samarawickrema (2010) stated. In sum, what constitutes effective teaching in the context of higher education has proven rather elusive to describe (Khandelwal, 2009). Even though numerous attempts have been made to identify effective higher education teaching, there is no universally accepted definition (Johnson & Ryan, 2000; Trigwell, 2001; cited in Devlin & Samarawickrema, 2010). On the other hand, definitely, one of the most important components of effective teaching is teacher (Kyriacou, 1997). At this point, it is not surprising to question the characteristics of an effective teacher since it has been observed that in many studies teacher is an important player in this context. According to Cruicshank, Jenkins, and Metcalf (2003, p. 329), for instance, effective teachers are supportive, caring, competent in their field, excited for their job, and leader with good communication skills. …

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