What makes a great HSC Teacher?

A recurring theme I have read in just about every article on improving student achievement is that the teacher makes the biggest difference of all variables. “Research has consistently shown that of all the things that schools can control, it is the quality of pedagogy that most directly and most powerfully affects the quality of learning outcomes that students demonstrate”. (Quality teaching in NSW public schools.)

One of the more interesting articles I have read is “what-makes-a-good-teacher.pdf” which is based on research carried out in NSW.  The article talks about the key findings of research carried out in classrooms around the state that had consistently performed well in the HSC. They talked about a range of common factors including the importance of mastering content knowledge, the importance of the classroom climate and the use of a few key teaching strategies and how they were generally implemented. All fairly straight forward things really and nothing that I was not necessarily expecting but it was interesting to see what teachers that are getting great results are doing.

The only limitation I see in it is that the HSC is examination based and so the research is obviously aligned around how the teachers get students to perform well in exams. I think that quality teaching is more than just getting students to perform well in exams. Can you get students to perform well but still teach poorly? I don’t know – I would assume that teachers that get good results are generally great practitioners all round? Need to think about this one.

This article is definitely worth a read.

I also came across this post by Chris Lehmann that I particularly like. A personal expression of what he see’s as being important to be a great teacher. Lots of great points that I also agree with.



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