Qualities of Effective Teachers

By James H. Stronge; excerpts from the book follow:

1. “The focus of this book is the teacher and it is research-based…. This book chronicles the common background and identifies the common behaviors that characterize effectiveness in the classroom.” (p. vii)

2. “By focusing on teacher effectiveness, our ultimate goal is to improve the educational experiences and achievement of the students we serve.” (p. ix)

3. Chapter 1: Prerequisites of Effective Teaching
A. “Both content knowledge and pedagogical skills are vital aspects of teacher effectiveness.” (p. 6)
B. “Clearly, subject matter knowledge positively affects teaching performance, however, it is not sufficient in and of itself.” (p. 7)
C. “Researchers indicate that teachers develop from novices to masters at different intervals over time, taking from five to eight years to master the art, science, and craft of teaching.” (p. 8)
D. “Flexibility and adaptability are sometimes better than a well-written lesson plan because classrooms are dynamic.” (p. 10)

4. Chapter 2: The Teacher as a Person
A. “Stakeholders’ perceptions of good teaching….emphasize the teacher’s affective characteristics, or social and emotional behaviors, more than pedagogical practice.” (p. 13)
B. “Care in such a way that students are aware of it.” (p. 14)
C. “Students highly value teachers’ understanding of their concerns and questions.” (p. 14)
D. “Effective, caring teachers know students both formally and informally.” (p. 15)
E. “An effective teacher establishes rapport and credibility with students by emphasizing, modeling, and practicing fairness and respect…and avoids
demonstrations of (perceived) favoritism.” (p. 16)
F. “Enthusiasm for teaching, learning, and for the subject matter is an important part of effective teaching, as is encouraging students to be responsible for their own learning…An effective teacher recognizes that students vary in their motivation levels. Teachers’ enthusiasm for learning and for the subject matter has been shown to be an important factor in student motivation, which is closely linked to student achievement.” (p. 18/19)
G. “Effective teachers view themselves as responsible for the success of their students.” (p. 19)
H. “Effective teachers learn and grow as they expect their students to learn and grow… and have a positive attitude about life and teaching.” (p. 20)
I. “Effective teachers continuously practice self-evaluation and self-critique as learning tools. They are curious about the art and science of teaching and about themselves as effective teachers. They are introspective, not afraid of feedback and readily accept constructive criticism and reflect upon it.” (p. 20/21)

5. Chapter 3: Classroom Management and Organization
A. “A key difference between beginning and experienced educators is that the novice tends to leap into the content the first week of school, while the senior teacher works on creating a positive classroom climate and then works academics into
that objective.” (p. 26)
B. “The effective teacher must create an overall environment conducive to learning. This requires consistency in behavioral expectations and responses.” (p. 26)
C. “Effective management is a key component of effective teaching, as is the anticipation of potential problems.” (p. 27)
D. “Organization takes a considerable investment of time at first; however, it has tremendous payback benefits.” (P. 28)
E. “Effective teachers clearly communicate and reinforce behavioral expectations.” (p. 30)

6. Chapter 4: Organizing for Instruction
A. “Teaching is a complex activity that involves careful preparation and the planning of objectives and activities.” (p. 33)
B. “Students often want to know what is next during class.” (p. 35)
C. “Clear and consistent focus on achievement expectations is also essential to academic success… Research on teacher expectations has demonstrated that the students in the bottom third of the class receive significantly lower expectations to achieve, and much less encouragement, from many teachers.” (p 36/37)
D. “Effective teachers typically plan a blend of whole-group, small-group, and individualized instruction.” (p. 38)
E. “Since students learn at different rates, effective teachers plan academic enrichment and remediation opportunities for students… and stretch beyond their comfort zone to incorporate different learning styles.” (p. 38)
F. “Students benefit if the material can be connected to something they are already familiar with from prior school experiences or real-life situations.” (p. 38)
G. “Identifying clear lesson and learning objectives while carefully linking activities to them is essential for effectiveness.” (p. 39)
H. “Consider student attention spans and learning styles when designing lessons.” (p. 39)

7. Chapter 5: Implementing Instruction
A. “A teacher’s repertoire of teaching strategies is an important element of overall effectiveness… Students whose teachers develop and regularly integrate inquirybased, hands-on learning activities, critical thinking skills, and assessments into daily lessons consistently out-perform their peers.” (p. 43)
B. “Lecturing…. often overloads and overwhelms students; hands-on learning…has a positive effect on student achievement… Despite the research supporting hands-on activity, it is a fairly uncommon instructional approach.” (p. 44)
C. “A teacher’s ability to give clear and focused explanations to students and to clarify expectations for achievement are important aspects of effective
instructional delivery… Clarity of explanation and expectation is a separate skill that is vital in teacher effectiveness.” (P. 45)
D. “Effective teachers emphasize meaning.” (p 47)
E. “Effective teachers place a priority on reading”. (p. 47)
F. “Good questioning is definitely an important aspect of effective teaching…Questions within a lesson should be considered as a sequence, not as isolated
units, in planning, implementing, and assessing… Wait time is an important aspect of questioning.” (p. 47/48)

8. Chapter 6: Monitoring Student Progress and Potential
A. “One of the most influential school-based factors contributing to student learning is the amount of time spent on (productive) homework.” (p. 53)
B. “Feedback on completed homework is particularly important…A teacher who does not provide regular feedback on homework only realizes 1/3 of the gain made by the educator who gives (consistent, substantive) feedback… Homework is more effective in influencing student achievement when it is graded, commented on, and discussed in class.” (p. 54)
C. “Only 14% of teachers reported assigning homework for at least one half-hour per night.” (p. 55)
D. “Assessment is a central element of the teaching process. Effective teachers follow up their assessments with re-teaching. Feedback is one of the most
powerful modification techniques for increasing learning outcomes in students.” (p. 55/56)
E. “The longer the delay in giving feedback, the less likely students will respond to the feedback and the less likely learning will be enhanced.” (p. 56)
F. “Without doubt, (substantive) feedback … enhances the learning process.” (p. 56)

9. Chapter 7: Effective Teaching: What Does It All Mean?
A. “The effective teacher:
1. recognizes complexity
2. communicates clearly
3. serves conscientiously” (p. 62)
B. “The teacher’s job requires clear articulation of expectations, encouragement, and caring, as well as content knowledge.” (p. 63)
C. “Working hard is important; but even better is working both hard and smart.” (p. 63)
D. “The effective teacher is concerned with her own continuous learning process.” (p. 63)
E. “Professional development training must be tailored to the individual teachers…Teacher success is a lifelong pursuit.” (p. 64)
F. “Outcomes count.” (p. 65)