Recently, we have explored what constitutes good teaching practices and good teachers. Effective teaching has been described as a continual learning process, and each school brings changes to which competent and professional teachers must adapt. Changes can occur in terms of students, school curriculum, building issues, families, colleagues, and other influences in daily lives of teachers. In order to adapt to the numerous changes teachers require professional abilities and experience. Harry Wong video on effective teacher helps to reflect on characteristics of a good teacher, and part 7 of the series is dedicated to qualities of a professional educator.
As the opening statement of the vide state, a professional educator is one who learn constant and increases his or her professional ability and experience. Previous lectures and literature has emphasized the importance of professional development in developing teaching efficiency. Classroom management skills, mastery of content and positive expectations are some of the characteristics of effective teachers that Wong describes. He noted that the key to becoming an effective teacher is to understand that students have varied ability to learn and to preserve in using new strategies. Student diversity in terms of learning ability and socioeconomic, psychological and health factors has been emphasized in teaching practice.
Teachers are expected do not only to be culturally-competent but also to embrace children with learning challenges. Understanding that children have different learning abilities is the foundation of adjusting learning environment, lesson, plan and curriculum to ensure they meet the learning abilities of the student. In order to achieve this kind of competence, Wong urges teachers to persevere and practice different and new teaching strategies. Emphasis is given to managing instructional time through numerous strategies including effective use of lesson plans, capturing students’ attention, effective choice of instructional materials to evaluating classroom instructions.
Wong describes how teachers can apply various teaching techniques to improve their professional experience and increase their professional efficiency. In classroom setup, there is no single teaching technique that fit all students or classroom situations. Therefore, it is essential for professional teachers to understand and use various teaching techniques. The description offered by Wong stirred curiosity on how to select the best technique. Although previous lectures and literature have described on strategies to use to identify the best technique, the question of whether an educator can use the same technique for different subjects or topic is not offered.
Wong describes schools with high failure rates as those schools that record high rate of complain, lateness and those that complain of numerous meeting. From previous experience, teachers’ lateness form a basic complaint in most schools. School administrators are always in conflict with teachers for either coming to school late or leaving early. I believe lack of motivation is a key factor in most of these schools and improving the working environment of teachers can help resolve this problem. In terms of schools that perform better, Wong states that these schools hold regal school-wide meetings, they participate in identifying problems and solution together. The integration of parents and teachers in school management and the involvement of stakeholders in the management of daily activities of the school are essential in achieving positive results. Policies and programs that have a school-wide participation and approval are sustainable and yield positive results. Using the case study of Tucson Arizona district, Wong states that schools can be able to succeed if they invest in the development of teachers. Consistency in student transition has been integrated with the districts culture. The culture consists of shared value not only among students but also among staff and teachers. Creating a culture of success helps to maintain a productive teaching staff.
Wong noted that teachers over time become reluctant of teaching and eventually the enthusiasm that characterize fresh teachers fade. The “processional caterpillar” as defined by Wong includes educators who have poor learning habits, they are slow to acquire information, and they often stagnate in teaching professional. Wong describes some common teaching practices that do not make up effective teaching. I was thrilling to learn that some of the “small” teaching thing we assume like telling students to complete assignment at the end of the chapter or “read the assigned chapters” are not effective. Wong noted that such methods are not supported by research. The use of evidence-based teaching strategies has been emphasized by various teaching stakeholders as an effective way of using teaching methods that work.
Leadership as an important characteristic of a teacher is also addressed. Wong noted that a worker is concerned about time and money while a leader is concerned about enhancement and cooperation. Teachers are not just leaders to their students but are also expected to demonstrate leadership in leading schools. Wong gives a long list of distinction between a worker and a teacher. In cooperating the mentality that teachers are not just workers but also leaders is complex. Teachers are sensitive to reward and enumeration system, and they are also sensitive to working condition and time and money are critical factors in every professional. Some of the enhancement behaviors identified include participating, learning and growing. These elements of enhancement correlate with what Wong and previous lectures and class work have defined as professional development. Therefore, teachers who engage in professional development and are receptive to new information are leaders. The professional development involves interacting and collaborating with other educators during the process that teachers exchange ideas and learn new strategies.
In order to become a professional educator, Wong states that a teacher should join a support group, interact and listen to others, read literature, learn from effective leaders and use research. The video is similar to a summary of the entire unit of professional development and achieving the required professional characteristics. Watching the video was informative and provided a better way to reflect what we have learnt in class.
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