Thursday, October 23, 2008

The 11 practices of good teaching

Going back through Swen Nater's book "You Haven't Taught Until They've Learned" last night and came across a dog-eared page with a section about what special teachers have in common.

[Nater played for Coach John Wooden at UCLA and went on to play in the ABA (where he was Rookie of the Year), NBA, and Europe.]

In an informal survey of students and teachers from different socio-economic groups and backgrounds, a profile of the best or "favorite" teachers emerged. They have in common 11 "practices of good teaching."

Think about your favorite teachers and see how they match up. The following is pulled right from Swen's book:

1. They make learning engaging. Even the most seemingly uninteresting or demanding material can be made engaging in the hands of teachers who believe that making learning enjoyable is essential.

2. They have a passion for the material. Teachers with passions for their subject matter have minds that overflow with exciting information.

3. They have deep subject knowledge. Passion often leads to digging deeper into the subject, looking for more and more knowledge.

4. They are extremely organized. Through creating school-year goals and lesson plans to accomplish objectives, they were able to keep students on track.

5. They are intense. Favorite teachers were skilled at maintaining learning intensity for long durations of classroom time.

6. They know students need to be recognized for even small progress. Not surprisingly, a qualification for being a "favorite" teacher is encouragement.

7. They treat everyone with respect. There is an old adage that states, "To get respect, give it."

8. They are fair. For Coach Wooden, fairness was giving each student the treatment he earned or deserved.

9. They believe all students are natural learners. These teachers saw all children as young adults who truly wanted to learn.

10. They make it implicitly known that they like being with their students. These teachers not only made class fun, they also radiated with an unsaid statement that clearly communicated to students, "I like being with you. You give me enjoyment."

11. They place priority on individualized teaching. Classroom teachers don't teach classrooms, they teach individuals.