What makes a great teacher?

Following on from a video Steve made about teaching I’d like to hear what people believe makes a good teacher? What qualities did a teacher from your past have that you admired?

For me the number one quality was passion. If I felt the teacher was passionate about his job I always felt more inspired to improve.

There is a nice youtube series on the more philosophical side of teaching rather than the technical side. - YouTube

I remember that the two good teachers I had during my education were enthusiastic, kind and were somehow able to get the students very interested in the topics taught. I was already very interested in learning when I was very young, but this helped to strengthen that predisposition.

We spent about an hour discussing this at a recent TEFL course I attended. We all wrote down qualities we thought were important in a good teacher. Finally we categorised all of our qualities into either issues of attitude, knowledge or skills. Surprisingly, everyone in the room had the highest count for ‘attitude’. There were no exceptions.

Attitude is key. In particular, enthusiasm, passion, dynamism, openness and friendliness. And perhaps most important of all, the ability to CREATE and DRIVE passion in others.

To me it is three things, in order.

  1. The ability to communicate
  2. Enthusiasm
  3. Knowledge of the subject.

Credentials have little relationship with learner outcomes.