Elements of a model of effective teachers

Year: 2002

Author: Walsh, Julia, Clark, John Cripps

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Much research in teacher education has concentrated on individual elements of effective teaching such as the best way to teach content. There has been less emphasis on understanding the complex process of effective teaching in its entirety. Teacher educators are in the business of creating effective teachers and as such need a clear, evidence based model of an effective teacher. We believe that current models of effective teachers are limited because they fail to give sufficient emphasis to many important aspects of effective teachers and fail to integrate these components into a coherent whole and so provide a language for discussion of and a conceptual framework for developing teacher education.

This paper discusses the elements needed for a model of an effective teacher. This model emphasises not only the domains of effective teaching which receive most of the attention in teacher education and evaluation, namely content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and, more recently, pedagogical content knowledge but also takes into account the teacher's personal knowledge and knowledge of context. We suggest that it is not just this knowledge that teachers have in these domains but the way this knowledge overlaps and interacts both within the teacher and with the teacher's physical, social, intellectual and emotional environment.

An examination of the effective teacher challenges not only teacher educators to rethink the way we educate both preservice and inservice teachers; but also the way we assess, judge and reward teachers.