Effective Teaching — Student Perceptions

Student Perceptions of Effective Teaching

A focus group meeting was held with High School students, grades 9 – 12, as a follow up to the administration of the EBI High School Environment Survey. In the survey students had indicated that about 40% of the teaching they received was “excellent”, 35% was “average” and 25% was “poor”. Students were asked first to think about excellent teachers they had and to write down the attributes and qualities that made these teachers effective. Of the approximately 35 attributes derived, students were then asked to indicate which were the “most important” in terms of defining effective teaching. Similar questions were asked regarding what student’s viewed as ineffective teaching. Following are the results of this exercise:

Characteristics/Attributes of an Effective Teacher:

  1. Has energy and enthusiasm; makes class interesting every day
  2. Is a good listener; respects students
  3. Gives meaningful assignments, not just busy-work; explains meaning/value of assignments
  4. Is caring; interested in individual students; clearly wants students to learn
  5. Uses different methods of teaching; is creative
  6. Is understanding, empathic, friendly, patient
  7. Treats students fairly and equitably
  8. Enjoys teaching; has a positive attitude
  9. Has good follow up and follow through
  10. Embraces technology; knows how/when to use it
  11. Is willing to say s/he is wrong
  12. Is organized; provides timely feedback
  13. Has a sense of humor and smiles a lot!

Characteristics/Attributes of an Ineffective Teacher:

  1. Is negative about many/most things (in class and in life); has a bad attitude
  2. Does not encourage (all) students to do well/better; no positive reinforcement
  3. Can not explain material in more than one way; doesn’t listen well
  4. Is Boring:

a. lectures all the time
b. does not see/respond to student disinterest
c. monotone voice
d. presumes students should be interested without inspiring interest
e. not enthused about the material
f. not organized
g. stands/sits in one place all the time (is not active)

5. Yells to show authority
6. No sense of humor; has low energy; doesn’t know how to have fun in class
7. Close minded; only sees one way to do anything
8. Does not treat students equitably; seems to play favorites
9. Doesn’t know what to do when someone doesn’t understand material
10. Gets side-tracked and wastes time
11. Does not go over work (homework, tests, papers); just returns it, usually after much time has passed. Students thus don’t learn from the assignment/test, it’s just something to be done
12. Is not interested in the subject matter; doesn’t engage students; assignments are busy-work