Thursday, January 17, 2013

Effective Teaching Attributes

In Seven qualities of highly effective technology trainers from Blue Skunk Blog, Doug Johnson shares information from his book: In Seven qualities of highly effective technology trainers from Johnson, Doug. The Classroom Teacher's Technology Survival Guide. Jossey-Bass, 2012.

“Here are some attributes of people who can effectively teach others to use technology.”

I took the attributes he mentioned and applied them to the classroom teacher role The attributes he mentions are in bold face type.

  1. blameThe problem is on the desk, not in the chair. When a student is not being successful in the classroom on a consistent basis, I feel it is time to call a meeting of all the stakeholders involved including the student. Even if I feel that the child isn’t trying or studying hard enough or we think the parent is pushing their child enough, I never blame anyone. This does nothing but put everyone on the defensive and my goal is to find a solution. I stress how we are a team and that we need to work towards a common goal - helping the student be successful.
  2. No mouse touching. I need to be patient with the student, the parents, and the other teachers. I might feel that I have the answer but I need to help the others arrive at the same conclusion. If I just tell everyone what I think is the solution, then it becomes my problem and my answer. This keeps it from being a team decision and in fact, I might be wrong. I need to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to give input and allow for a discussion of all suggestions.
  3. Great analogies. I need to make sure that when explaining something, I need to give it in terms that everyone can understand. I need to relate things I’m talking about to real life situations that others can understand.
  4. Clear support materials. I need to make sure that I offer directions in many different ways. I can give directions orally but I need to list the steps visually somewhere for the visual learner to see. I also need to demonstrate the steps necessary and if appropriate, have students imitate my actions so that they can learn by doing.
  5. Knowing what is essential and what is only confusing. Sometimes teachers can give too much information. When I try to show someone how to do something, I don’t need to mix background information or things they can do in the future with the actual steps necessary to accomplish a task. I need to give the background before I go over the steps and maybe another time I can expand how these skills can help in the future.
  6. If it breaks, we’ll fix it. It is scary to learn something new. I need to reassure the learners that they can’t break anything but learning something new. If there is a caution, I need to make them aware of it at the beginning. Then I need to tell them how I will fix it if something happens at that time. Once that plan is shared, usually the learner feels more comfortable with trying new skills.
  7. Perspective. I need to remember how hard it is to learn something new. I need to put my assumptions aside but I also need to make sure that I’m not condescending while teaching others.

The attributes Doug Johnson mentioned really hit home with me. I thought those were good ones that could be applied to many different situations and roles throughout the school environment.

Do you show these attributes? Which ones do you struggle with? Please share.

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