Kevin Williams, Department of Agricultural Science, West Texas A&M University
As an adult, every one of us has been exposed to both “great” teaching as well as “not-so-great” teaching. Today we want to focus on the great. If you would, think about one of the best teachers whoever taught you. This might have been a teacher in college, high school, or even grade school. It may also have been your Extension agent or a 4-H volunteer leader. No matter who it was, think about what made them great. Think of the qualities, which allowed them to impact you in the positive way they did.
Over the years, multiple audiences have been asked to think about their greatest teachers and there is a number of great responses. However, probably the two most common qualities of great teachers that are mentioned time and time again typically relate to a certain passion and a caring attitude. These great teachers are characterized as having a passion for what they are teaching, but more importantly, a passion and caring attitude toward their students learning.
As an Extension educator, you care about the people in your community and you have a passion for your area of Extension programming. You also care about being the best teacher you can be, to serve the members of your community both young and old. With this, when you care about teaching people, you too can be a great teacher if you are willing to work at it. Teaching is a learned skill that takes time and practice to develop fully. If you get your attitude right, you will be a great teacher!
In 1971, Rosenshine and Furst completed a meta-analysis (summary) of 42 separate studies tied to teacher characteristics and student performance. Their research showed that 11 teacher behaviors consistently influenced student achievement (Nevin & Knoblock, 2005). For today, we are going to look at five of these characteristics identified by Rosenshine and Furst. Below is a listing and description of each of those five characteristics. Again, while great teaching starts with passion and caring, these are specific behaviors that can enhance those qualities of great teachers. As you go through this list, think about if you could see this behavior in your greatest teacher. Also, think about how you can model this characteristic in your own teaching!
Nevin, N. & Knoblock, N. (2005, January/February). Is Your Classroom a Happenin’ Place to Be? The Agricultural Education Magazine 77(4), 17-19.
Rosenshine, B. & Furst, N. (1971). Research on teacher performance criteria. In B. O. Smith (Ed.), Research in Teacher Education – A Symposium (pp. 37-72). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.