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Dr. Joanne Meier

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What does good teaching look like?

October 21, 2010

It's funny the way things work sometimes. Over the weekend, my husband told me all about the making of an Old Spice commercial. Apparently the commercial was all filmed in one shot, which will surprise you if you watch it! Twenty-four hours later, I'm wandering through the blogosphere on a totally unrelated topic and find a spoof of that same commercial, featuring Grover teaching all about the word "on," maybe again created using one shot? Funny coincidence.

A similar (and much more related-to-reading!) example happened this week. I was watching this video of a teacher working to teach the 'oi' and 'ire' sounds to students. As I watched, I was so happy for her students. From the video, you could tell that the teacher was emotionally and physically engaged. She moved among her students, she encouraged participation. She reinforced students' answers, and she mixed up her method of presentation to keep the kids engaged. If I were teaching that lesson, I may have done a few things differently, but overall it looked like pretty good teaching to me.

Then, again, wandering through the blogosphere on a totally unrelated topic I stumbled upon What is Good Teaching? from Brian Nichols over at Connected Principals. He describes a workshop he attended where everyone watched a videotaped classroom lesson. Participants (administrators, curriculum supervisors) were asked to rate the lesson on a standard A-F scale. Not surprisingly, grades ranged from an A to an F with everything in between. Everyone had a different opinion as to whether the teacher was a "good teacher."

Brian's post made me wonder if others would agree with my assessment of the teacher I watched. It also made me wonder whether it's possible to agree on what "good teaching" looks like. What do you think? What words would you use to describe good teaching?


Here's an interesting follow up to this post - six principles of highly effective teachers according to Teach for America: 1. Set big goals,that are ambitious, measurable, and meaningful for their students. 2. Invest students and their families, through a variety of strategies and work hard to reach those ambitious goals. 3. Plan purposefully by focusing on where students are headed, how success will be defined, and what path to students’ growth is most efficient. 4. Execute effectively by monitoring progress and adjusting course to ensure that every action contributes to student learning. 5. Continuously increase effectiveness, by reflecting critically on their progress, identifying root causes of problems, and implementing solutions. 6. Work relentlessly in light of their conviction that they have the power to work past obstacles for student learning.From this blog post:

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