Are teachers born, or made? While the debate has raged for decades, most people agree that effective teaching can result from natural artistry as well as focused training.
How is class time organized and what is academic learning time? Teachers vary dramatically in the efficient use of time. How wisely a teacher distributes classroom time—defined as allocated, engaged and academic learning time—is a predictor of student achievement.
What classroom management skills foster academic achievement? Student achievement is also associated with effective classroom management. A wellmanaged classroom includes reasonable rules for students to follow, and teachers who can keep students on task through group alerting, smooth transitions, and similar skills.
What are the roles of teachers and students in the pedagogical cycle? The pedagogical cycle consists of four stages: (1) structure, (2) question, (3) respond, and (4) react. While the student's role is typically limited to responding, teachers usually direct classroom discourse through structure, question, and reaction.
How can teachers set a stage for learning? Most cycles of instruction begin by connecting prior learning to current objectives. Effective teachers motivate students, offer meaningful examples, give accurate directions, display enthusiasm, and present a brief closure to the lesson.
What questioning strategies increase student achievement? Questioning is at the very foundation of effective teaching. Although teachers rely most heavily on lower-order questions, higher-order questions are associated with higher-order thinking and should also be an important part of classroom instruction. Effective teachers use intentional strategies to allocate questions fairly among all students. One way to enhance the distribution and quality of student participation is to extend wait times 1 and 2 from less than a second to 3 to 5 seconds. Research indicates that teachers most frequently use neutral acceptance when reacting to student comments. Teacher praise, remediation, and criticism are more precise and helpful reactions.
How can teachers best tap into the variety of student learning styles? Effective teachers provide variety in both content and activity. From discussions and debates to simulations and spot quizzes, teachers increase academic success by responding to the different learning styles in the class.
What are the prevailing models of instruction? Four models of instruction that can lead to high student achievement include (1) direct teaching, (2) cooperative learning, (3) mastery learning, and (4) problem-based learning. Direct teaching includes teacher presentation; guided practice; teacher feedback; independent practice; and daily, weekly, and monthly reviews. In a cooperative learning classroom, students work in small groups and appraisals often reflect the entire group's performance. In mastery learning, students work at their own pace, going on to new material only when specific objectives are mastered. Problem-based learning stimulates students to explore authentic issues and investigate real-life problems.
What are the future directions of effective teaching research? Differentiated instruction responds to individual student differences, unlike the popular model of standardized instruction and testing. Deep teaching promotes meaningful academic development around essential content, teaching less material in greater depth. As learning can be social, teacher expertise can steer the classroom toward a sense of community. Looping and block scheduling increase the time that students and teachers can work together. A pervasive factor for effective teaching continues to be self-analysis. The best of today's educators are reflective about their practice.