Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Part 2: Attributes of the Expert Teacher

Abe V Rotor


1. Women dominate the teaching profession. Of the 69 outstanding teachers, women constitute 74% as compared with that of men which is 26 &, or a ratio of 4 to 1. The reason for this is that men place less priority to teaching than better paying jobs. This is manifested in the choice of careers. In the case of men, they prefer law, engineering, and applied courses in industry and technology that offer better professional growth opportunities and pay as compared to teaching.

2. The median age of the expert teacher is 50. Majority of the experts (82.6%) are in their past 40. Surprisingly one-fifth of the experts is in the 60 to 79 age bracket. These data point out that teaching – contrary to common belief – does not deteriorate with age. On the other hand, teaching improves with time and experience. Distilled and seasoned knowledge is wisdom.

3. Forty-five of the 69 expert teachers are married. The remaining 24 are single with two of them a nun and a priest. Again at this point, contrary to common belief, being married and having a family is not a deterrent to being a good teacher. On the contrary there are many cases where teaching career is enhanced by an understanding and cooperative family.

4. In general, the 69 outstanding teachers did not choose teaching as their first career. Only 26 actually set their minds to teaching as early as upon graduation in high school. For one reason or another the 43 set out for other careers. Others found teaching compatible with their present professions, while a good number opted to spend their retirement as teachers or professors. Among the outstanding teachers are practicing agriculturists, journalists, scientists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, TV hosts, and the like. This shows that a good teacher may not have started out early in his career as teacher but ended up becoming a good teacher. Professions and experiences outside of teaching greatly contribute to teaching effectiveness.

5. The experts were academic achievers in college. There were only 14 of the experts who were active in extracurricular activities in college, say in athletics and campus politics. Fifty-eight are academic achievers, with 33 as top performers but who did not make it in the dean’s list, and 25 who were consistent scholars and honor students. Only 11 were average academic performers. Dr. Reyes explains the relationship of academic performance and expertise in teaching this way. “Academic achievers generally have good self-esteem and exude high self-confidence – personal attributes that are helpful to teachers, cognitive intelligence as a facilitative factor to subject mastery and instructional skills, notwithstanding.” An intelligent teacher is therefore highly desirable so long as he demonstrates humility patience and understanding. On the other hand, “magtitser ka na lang,” is an insult to the teaching profession.

6. On the educational attainment of the expert teachers, 35 of them have doctoral degrees while 26 have master’s degrees. The remaining ones were at the time of the survey still pursuing their graduate studies. This means that 88.4% of the expert teachers have at least a master’s degree, which points out to the importance of graduate education as a factor in effective teaching. Graduate education is characterized by “extensive professional reading and research, as well as personal discipline, perseverance, diligence, and a strong motivation to succeed,” in the words of Dr. Reyes. The pursuit of graduate studies confirms the strong conviction of the teacher towards excellence and dedication in his profession. Graduate studies confer the imprimatur of a teacher’s professional status, and his place among his peers.

7. The expert teachers do not only possess high educational attainment; they also excel in specific disciplines or fields of study. Here is a breakdown of the findings:

 Education and related fields 36 %
 Applied and natural sciences 26
 Languages, literature, communication art 15
 Medicine, nursing and public health 6
 Political, social science, economics 6
 Psychology, guidance and counseling 5
 Philosophy 3
 Agriculture 3

It is interesting to note that 55 of the experts have either completed or enrolled in programs that offer rich opportunities for sharing research, information, and work experiences in the school setting.

8. On teaching experience, the range is wide – 2 to 47 years, with a median of 25 years. Yes, it takes 25 years to be a model teacher. There is a saying, “Experience does not only make a good teacher; experience is the best teacher.”

9. Which hemisphere of the brain is more useful to the expert teacher? The different specializations of expert teachers attest to a left-right brain combination or mix-brain, which means that the use of both hemisphere in proper balance and harmony is needed in teaching - the left for language, mathematics and logic, and the right which is dominantly for creativity is for intuition, inspiration and imagination. Majority of the expert teachers are mix-brained (43 women and 11 men). The rest are left-brained who are experts in the fields of science, mathematics, language, philosophy, research, nursing and agriculture. The survey came up with a negative right-brained among the experts.

10. The effective teacher draws inspiration from his or her family. Almost one-half of the expert teachers consider the supportive role of family members who understand the nature of teaching as having greatly contributed to their success. Twenty of the expert teachers mentioned of a family member as their mentor and source of inspiration. On the other hand the role of school administrators is very important, with almost 70% of the participants attributing the administration’s support to their success. The ambiance of teaching is equally important whereby the school is one large respectable family with a community atmosphere.

(Continued)

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