Just to not miss a day, and because InformEd is one of my favorite blogs on teaching, I’m writing today under the category of “What Makes A Good Teacher” to tell you about a new post on the InformEd site called “Twenty Habits of Highly Effective Teachers.”
Submitted to that site by an anonymous guest blogger — the site is maintained by Andrianes Pinantoan for Open Colleges — the blog lists a slew of great habits that can help teachers express and maintain their enthusiasm, keep their flock of learners progressing through their courses, increase the sense of community among the learners, and be prepared for the unexpected.
Flexibility is one key to establishing a vibrant learning environment: One of the habits the blogger identifies is not being afraid to “switch the script.” That’s SO important. Onsite and online classes are often locations for controlled chaos, and that’s good. If a student heads off in a productive direction that wasn’t in the plan, but fits the purpose of the course, perhaps even better than what was planned, it’s important not to be so married to the script that you can’t shift gears when the flow encourages it. The blogger defines switching the script as reworking that tried and true syllabus, revamping your content by actively exploring new sources of information, new websites, new ideas on teaching, always being on the look-out for new ways to mix up the method of conveying the message.
Caring is another key: The guest blogger advises faculty to “maintain frequent contact with students,” to listen to them and show respect, to provide learners with various ways to shine in the classroom. Sometimes though that’s a dance that takes more finesse than enthusiasm. It’s easy to become so present in the classroom that learners feel their goals, their process, their needs take a backseat to the teacher’s need to be center stage. In an online classroom, caring too much can become smothering. But as general advice, it’s well-taken.
I recommend heading over to InformEd to read it — click here to go there — and when you’re finished scroll down for some other great articles on the craft of teaching.
If you have a favorite site that provides advice to teachers and trainers, please post a comment. I confess I’m a little like Johnny Five in the Short Circuit movies, always on the look out for more input!