There are many skills necessary for teachers to excel in their profession and be able to truly touch the hearts and change the lives of the students they teach. Here are 11 skills to consider:
Harding and Parsons (2011) cite “master teachers” as sharing three characteristics which are:
1) effective communication and relationship building skills with children,
2) realizing the importance of teaching children and not only the curriculum,
3) and having a love for learning which is demonstrated in their teaching.
Additionally, other authors including Hattie (2003) and Darling-Hammond et al. (2010), discuss the importance of:
4) teachers learning how to design and match curriculum with appropriate instructional strategies
5) how to mediate and empower students to have ownership over their learning
6) how to refine their teaching philosophy and understand the importance of formative assessments and how to make research based interventions.
7) the need to understand the impact of ‘relationships, collaborating, and community’ (Hattie, 2003, p.12) on their students’ learning and
8) the need to realize that teaching critical thinking skills should be the ultimate goal of education.
Finally, an important characteristic that is expected of new teachers to survive and thus needs to be identified and fostered in teacher preparation programs is that of “hardiness”, which Maddi et al. (2002, 2006 as cited in Harding and Parsons, 2011) define as the ability to: “withstand difficult, adverse conditions over extended periods of time” (p.54). Maddi et al’s work revealed that hardy teachers have three key characteristics::
9) a high level of commitment
10) a feeling that they can influence their surroundings
11) and the ability to face challenges comfortably (Maddi et al 2006, p.577 as cited in Cohen, 2009).
The responsibility of touching hearts and changing lives is certainly not a light one, which necessitates the ongoing personal and professional development of educators. Investing in this ongoing development is what can enable us to witness the rewards of inspiring young minds to be a catalyst for positive change and peace in our world.
Cohen, R. M. (2009). ‘What it takes to stick it out: Two veteran inner-city teachers after 25 years’. Teachers and teaching, 15(4), pp. 471 – 491.
Darling-Hammond, L., Dieckmann, J., Haertel, E., Lotan, R., Newton, X., Philipose, S., et al. (2010). ‘Studying teacher effectiveness: The challenges of developing valid measures’. In G. Walford, E. Tucker, & M. Viswanathan (Eds.), The sage handbook of measurement, (pp. 87–106). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
Harding, K. and Parsons, J. (2011) "Improving Teacher Education Programs", Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36 (11), pp. 51-61.
Hattie, J. (2003). ‘Teachers make a difference: What is the research evidence?’ Paper presented at the Australian Council for Educational Research Annual Conference on Building Teacher Quality, Melbourne. Australian Council for Educational Research Annual Conference in 2003. Available from <http://www.acer.edu.au/documents/RC2003_Hattie_TeachersMakeADifference.pdf> [13 November 2013].