Learning is enhanced by a teaching that is passionate, positive, inspiring, inviting, meaningful, and transformative, addresses world problems, shifts paradigms, and attends to fragile self-concepts within its recipients.
In his article, John Ivers tries to give the most complete answer possible to the question, is the great american teacher dead? based on many studies and observations, lined-up opinions about the decadency growing in the American school system was evident. What can be considered great teaching? what does it takes to be an amazing teacher?
Education is profound and complex. Only approximations to those answers have been given. It's our job to gather the pieces and come up with a formula of greatness. Research has provided guiding points on this matter, and as we practice teaching others and sharing knowledge, we validate these findings and incorporate them into our philosophies and ways of action.
Invitational Education attempts to create inviting, and therefore ideal, learning environments by emphasizing optimism, trust, caring, intentionality, and respect.
I realized the powerful influence teachers must be in their students' lives. It made me think of the professors I admired through my school years. Men and women that went beyond their duties to inspire, support, help, guide, lift, defend, and nurture me in the ways of knowledge and life. They managed to connect with me and change how I saw the world. So, how can I become like them and be a great teacher for a student?
At the end, Ivers list then mayor points based on critics and research evidence to create a formula for teachers to become great again:
- Positive teacher-student relationship.
- A good “delivery”.
- Edifies rather than damages a student’s self-concept.
- Clarity (through the use of many examples and stories).
- Encourages deep and critical thinking.
- Variety instead of monotony (do not forget the Ten Minute Rule).
- Grading and workload is generally perceived to be fair.
- Enthusiasm and zest for the topic.
- Meaningful to real world problems.
- Potentially transforms one’s world view from one of uncritical acceptance of cultural dictates to one of deep, reflective, and compassionate thinking.
As the time to teach draws near, I ponder about how positive can I make that relationship and how well can I deliver my message to students. Each area suggested on this list represents a challenge with a certain degree of difficulty. Some might be overcome easily, others could take a lifetime mastering. Either way, it is important to keep in mind and heart these recommendations before entering the classroom. Make them happen. Make them real. Make them part of you.
Ivers, J. (2012) Is the Great American Teacher Dead? Principles to Resurrect Meaningful, Effective, and Consciousness Raising Instruction. Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice. Vol 18, 49-56.
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