The Essentials of Effective Teaching

Effective Learning and Teaching
Key Principles
The overall purpose of this session is:
• To affirm your own good practices
• To develop self-reflection on them
• To identify 4 key principles of effective
▫ Self-reflection and evaluation
▫ Effective planning
▫ Effective communication
▫ Effective assessment
The 4 purposes of self-evaluation are:
1. To identify our strengths
2. Minimise our weaknesses
3. Plan ahead
4. Evaluate the outcomes of this planning
Why? Because:
▫ Teaching can be a solitary activity
▫ Teaching is a moral activity
▫ Teaching is a professional activity: standards are
• If people simply reflect on their own, there will
be no significant change.
(Boyd, 1995)
• A simple enough statement, but having profound
implications for:
▫ Objectivity (rendering the evaluation objective)
▫ Validity (rendering the evaluation valid)
▫ Transferability (rendering our teaching better)
Sources for self-reflection include:
• A reflective diary
• Focus groups
• Other groups
• Interviews
• Critical friendship
• Observation
• Mentoring
• Questionnaires
• Closure (transitional and
• One minute papers
• Think/Pair/Share
• The muddiest point
• One sentence summaries
Reflect, Identify, Act, Evaluate
• Reflect: what is happening in my practice?
• Identify: where is this happening?
• Act: what could be done to improve
• Evaluate: what evidence could be used to
validate my practice?
Criteria for self-evaluation include:
• Those generically identified in the scholarship of
learning and teaching
• Those contained in Framework Standards
• Those contained in observation forms
• Those identified through:
▫ peer observation
▫ critical friendship and
▫ mentoring
Pause Time:
• Any questions, comments or queries?
• Common Weaknesses (but turn each
into a positive):
At the start:
An absence of learning outcomes
Unclear learning outcomes
Few if any links to prior learning
Inattention to the environment for learning
Teacher dominance from the beginning: one is
not going to deviate from this
• Assuming too much learner knowledge
As class progresses:
• Imbalance between content and processes
• Losing sight of purpose: which is???
• Delivering content in an undifferentiated
manner (very important/less important)
• No formative learning (assessment): what has
been understood/what not?
• Limited interaction
Leaving students out
Ineffective pacing
Explaining is imprecise
Absence of wait time: thinking time
Whole class/didactic teaching
Not dwelling on complexities:
‘This is complex…’
‘Could anyone explain why it is complex?’
‘It is ALSO complex because…’
‘Do you understand this now?’
‘Who could summarise?’
Effective teaching defined:
• ‘Effective teaching refers to the extent to which the
teacher employed learning outcomes successfully to
bring about the intended outcomes for …the programme
of study’.
(Kyriacou, 1995)
• ‘…effective teachers employ a range of assessment
methods and techniques to monitor… understanding….’
(Hay-Mc Ber, 2000)
Learning Outcomes
• The definition above, emphasising learning
outcomes, takes us forward to the next essential,
which is planning for learning.
• In the context of student-centred learning, a
learning outcomes model is strongly advocated
• So what are learning outcomes?