Thursday, September 24, 2015

Are you an Effective Teacher? Unveiling Teaching Expertise (Part 1)

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Grace Velasco
738 DZRB AM, 8-9 evening class Monday to Friday

Research and publication contribute immensely to effectiveness in teachingLaunching of books published by UST in celebration of its 400th anniversary
Professors of SPUQC take time out on a retreat. Angels' Hills, Tagaytay

Lesson: Are you an effective teacher? Please read this article. Find out the basis and criteria of an effective teacher.
The characteristics of an effective teacher are described in a book written by Dr. Flordeliza Clemente-Reyes, Unveiling Teaching Expertise – A Showcase of 69 Outstanding Teachers in the Philippines. The book summarizes the results of a nationwide research initiated and funded by the Commission on Higher Education in cooperation with non-governmental organizations and various colleges and universities.

Profiling the outstanding teacher from the 69 finest teachers of the country was conducted on 28 private and 12 state universities distributed in 12 regions of the country. Twenty-eight of these teachers are Metrobank Outstanding Teachers and were automatically included in the list, while the other 41 were chosen by a composite team from CHED, the National Council of Educational Innovators (NCEI), with the support of NGOs, with De La Salle University as its research base. At the time of the study these teachers were handling courses in PAASCU Level-3 accredited colleges and universities, or Centers of Excellence, or both, and have earned the reputation of being outstanding teachers in their respective institutions.
In a capsule an effective teacher is generally

§ An expert in all four areas of teaching, namely, subject matter, classroom management, instruction, and diagnostics in teaching;

§ One who has a personal educational philosophy regarding beliefs, assumptions and convictions regarding his role as a teacher;

§ Married, and most likely a woman in her middle age – 40 and above; (Women dominate men in the teaching profession, 4 to 1)

§ A college performer, but not necessarily an honor student and campus leader;

§ One whose initial career was not set to teaching - in fact did not take up formal undergraduate education subjects and training;

§ A postgraduate degree holder with a master’s degree at least, in any specific field in natural and social sciences, and other disciplines;

§ A “mix-brain” that is, a person whose logical and creative hemispheres of the brain are effectively put to use in tandem;

§ A model person with personal attributes, virtues, and teaching methods that nurture favorable teacher-student relationship;

§ One who draws inspiration from both within and outside the school, such as members of his family;

§ A cheerful, willing and motivated person always in pursuit of continued professional growth.

Four Areas of Expertise of the Outstanding Teacher

The expert teacher has been found to possess four types of expertise, namely:

1. Subject matter expertise, which means that the teacher has a mastery of content-specific knowledge and the organization of this knowledge for effective instruction.

2. Classroom management expertise, that is, the expert teacher maintains a high level of on-task students’ classroom behavior, which prevents or eliminates learning disruptions, while it creates an environment conducive to learning.

3. Instructional expertise, which means that the teacher has both implicit and explicit knowledge on various teaching strategies and methods to attain predefined instructional objectives.

4. Diagnostic expertise, which refers to the ability of the teacher to know both the class and individual needs and goals, abilities, achievement levels, motives, personality attributes, and emotions, which influence instruction and learning.

Holistic Mentor-Learner Interaction

The key to effectiveness in teaching is a holistic approach whereby there is a mutual and orderly interaction in the teaching-learning process, with the teacher placing a high premium on the development of thinking and understanding. Educators attribute teaching expertise to the teachers’ affectionate interactions with the learners, and to their efforts towards developing learners’ responsibility for learning. There are of course many other factors that influence effectiveness in teaching because of the wide diversity in culture, affected by certain economic, ecological and political conditions.

Attributes of the Expert Teacher

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.

11. The 69 experts are divided according to the following philosophies of education, namely

v The majority of the participants (29 women and 6 men) are experimentalists. They uphold the experimental educational philosophy. This means that these teachers are flexible and open to educational change.

v Twelve are advocates to eclectic educational philosophy, which means that they do not subscribe to just one philosophy, and they shift their roles from being facilitators of learning to transmitters and interpreters of knowledge.

v Twelve are perennialists, that is, they perceive themselves as authority figures in the classroom, transmitting and interpreting knowledge.

v Nine are realists. They tend to focus on the here and now. They stress knowledge as how it is applied or observed. For example the laws of nature are better understood through observation and research.

v Only one among the expert teachers is an idealist. She views education as a means of developing students’ intellectual abilities. Influenced by the Greek philosophers Socrates and Plato, she stresses the importance of logic and philosophy.

Given these premises, the expert teacher is motivated to learn more, to expand his horizon as new things evolve – in science and technology, management, education, research, and in the many ways the world and human society are changing. His love for his profession takes him to a higher realm of continuing professional growth, his love for knowledge itself, which is the primordial tool in teaching, and in sharing them to the younger and future generations in the wisdom and humility of the Good Shepherd. ~

 About Plato's Academy 
Plato's Academy, a painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Socrates and his pupil Plato are shown at the center. Below, ruins of the Academy 

"Academy was a suburb of Athens, named after the hero Academos or Ecademos. The site was continuously inhabited from the prehistoric period until the 6th century A.D. During the 6th century B.C., one of the three famous Gymnasiums of Athens was founded here. Moreover, it is recorded that Hippias, the son of Peisistratos, built a circuit wall, and Cimon planted the area with trees which were destroyed by Sulla in 86 B.C. In 387 B.C. Plato founded his philosophical school, which became very famous due to the Neoplatonists, and remained in use until A.D. 526, when it was finally closed down by emperor Justinian."

 Plato established a very special school  2.380 years ago. He named his school The Academy, built on the idea far ahead of its time, on the belief that every person has the potential for mastery and greatness.

Influenced by the philosophy of Socrates, Plato and his associates posed questions and problems which the group would then discuss and solve.  Thus they gained knowledge, developed character and friendship, as they pursue truths and insights. This collective and integral approach - rather than individual - is the key in elevating the academy on the highest plane of learning.  

Plato’s Academy became a beacon of wisdom and development throughout the ages. Its tradition was preserved and carried on by many, starting from Aristotle who studied in the Academy for twenty years (367 BC – 347 BC) before founding his own school, the Lyceum.

Albert Einstein was so inspired by Plato’s approach that with a group of friends he founded his own school – the Olympia Academy.

(Reference ISOD - Integral School of Organization Development, Internet)  

 Are You an Effective Teacher?
An Evaluation

Opposite each item, indicate your score based on the Likert Scale (1 Very Poor, 2 Poor, 3 Fair, 4 Good, 5 Very Good) Answer those with dot/square marks only

1.Subject matter expertise

 Thorough/excellent knowledge of content

 Being up-to-date with the latest developments in their fields

 Knowledge of the interrelationships among the structural elements or concepts of the subject matter -

 Knowledge of the relationship of the lesson with other courses or disciplines

 Knowledge of practical application and concrete, interesting examples to clarify abstract ideas/concepts

2. Classroom Management Expertise

 Efficient handling of routine activities and time management

 Maintenance of students’ on-task behavior

 Absence of class disruptions

3.Instructional Expertise

 Use of varied teaching strategies

 Use of varied instructional equipment and materials to enhance education

 Instructional clarity

3.Communication Expertise

 Expressive non-verbal or body language.

 Excellent oral communication skills

 Provision of two-way communication

4. Diagnostic Expertise

. Sensitivity to students’ learning problems/difficulties

. Anticipation of probable problems or misconceptions

5.Relational Expertise

 Non-threatening disposition

 Enthusiasm

 Providing a psychologically safe learning environment

 Making learning pleasant and enjoyable

 Classroom humor

 Magnetism/Charisma

 High rapport with students

 Affectionate interaction with students

B. Responsible Teaching

 integrate values in teaching

 communicate their belief in the students’ capacity for learning

 facilitate development of understanding and draw out generalizations and insights

 provide students opportunities to assume an active role in the learning process and to be responsible for their own learning

 select and implement teaching strategies, learning activities and instructional materials.

 Learner-centered teaching

 Learner-centeredness

 Developing students’ responsibility for learning

 Values integration

NOTE: We are all teachers in our own rights - at home, in our community, in the office, and the like. This evaluation applies to all of us. xxxx 

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