Friday, 23 August 2013

The Qualities of a Good Teacher and Learner (HE in FE)

Towards the end of the last academic year I asked for the thoughts of our HE staff on what makes a good teacher and learner. I asked;

 What are the main qualities which make a good (I guess I mean effective) teacher?

I used an open ended question so that I wouldn't influence the responses. I was however interested in what staff would say about the use of computers and the Internet (and maybe mobile devices and Apps).
There was quite a diversity of words and phrases used with relatively few items appearing in all responses.

For the teacher, a few words were mentioned by a number of respondents:
  • knowledge
  • patience
  • humour
  • challenging
And for the learner, words mentioned multiple times:
  • motivated
  • confident
  • willing
  • interested
The following paragraphs show what roughly 10% of my HE teacher sample think make a good teacher and learner.

A good/effective teacher is:
  • Patient with a sense of humour and somebody who respects and is interested in students as individuals and is fair and consistent.
  • Approachable, caring, honest, encouraging, positive, constructive, enthusiastic, engaging, inspirational, innovative, adaptable and challenging.
  • Skilled and knowledgeable in their subject area and knows how to make difficult things understandable, interesting, enjoyable and relevant.
  • Able to see things from a student perspective and welcomes student input and collaboration while empowering and instilling confidence without pretending to know everything.

A wordle analysis of replies about teacher qualities

A good/effective learner is:
  • Willing to make an effort, get involved, make mistakes, accept advice and support and has a desire to succeed to the best of their abilities.
  • Receptive, enthusiastic, positive, interested, responsive and resilient.
  • Self-disciplined to meet deadlines, manage time, attend class, listen and has the confidence to question and challenge.
  • Able to study, use resources and demonstrate their learning.

A wordle analysis of replies about learner qualities

Qualities common to teachers and learners:
  • Effective teachers and learners are good communicators, they take time to listen, are organised and manage their time well, confident, resilient and use reflection to improve their performance.
I don’t think too much can be inferred from the fact that the ability to use computers and the Internet to teach or study/learn effectively was not mentioned. It may be that this is being taken for granted, in the same way that being literate and numerate were not mentioned. The question itself asked respondents to focus on qualities, probably understood by respondents to mean ‘personal’ qualities, rather than specific skills or competencies.

The list itself however is informative - how many of the qualities shown do you posses?

(and a Bank Holiday Monday too - :-))))

PS My thanks to those people who took the time to reply (about 18% of the FE staff that also deliver HE courses).

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