Challenges and Qualities of a Good Teacher
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The idea of good teacher for each individual is variable. Students´ perception, opinions and/or experiences about a good teacher are different. A good teacher has been considered, sometimes, as a perfectionist, encouraging, approachable and caring, other times as intelligent, but above all, as enthusiastic, funny, clever, affective and understanding, open, and with a relaxed style while teaching.
Holt (1964) addressed that learning is enhanced by the teachers´ knowledge, enthusiasm and responsibility towards creating a warm class climate enhancing “the students desire to learn and to accept the challenges of thinking and enquiring into all that is offered by the teacher”. Stronge et al (2004) stated that teaching is vocational, and most good and quality teachers are passionate about their chosen profession. However, he also added that a good teacher is always in a constant learning process due to changes in terms of the students’ characteristics, the curriculum, the community, and finance among many others.
According to Gibbs (2002) “Teachers need to be able to survive the demands, threats and challenges within the diverse circumstances of teaching” He stated that a good and quality teacher needs the capacity to be persistent, flexible, and innovative on new teaching approaches and be prepared in the case of failure. For Stronge et al. (2004) the good teacher has a psychological influence on the students, having a strong influence on their achievement. According to Killen (2006), the good teacher is the one who has clear objectives and own goals of teaching. A teacher can provide the students with the answer of a question, which can be effective only if the main objective is simply to compare and analyze different results. However, if the objective is to make the student think about the option of providing different possible answers, the teacher, in this case, may be regarded as ineffective. Smith (1995) stated that teachers and teaching need to be creative to allow the students learn naturally. He also added that educational institutions should spend more time on “doing” and less time on “talking about learning and teaching” In addition, Gurney (2007) suggested that instead of reflecting on theory and practice, we should reflect on what we do in the classroom.
A good teachers need to focus on students’ achievement. Alton-Lee (2003) pointed out that an effective link between school and cultural context is needed and this is often times considered as a challenge; apart from being caring, and enhance assessment, feedback and evaluation, as well as being responsible to students learning process, the curriculum goals, the multiple tasks and the contexts. Gurney (2007) suggested that to be a good and quality teacher there should be an interaction among different factors. One of them is the teacher´ knowledge, enthusiasm and responsibility for learning. Another factor is that good teachers should provide the students with activities and assessment that encourages them to learn (and learn through experience), as well as having an engaged feedback. Finally, to create a warm environment and a relationship with the students in which respect will enhance learning. According to Borich (2000), the responsibilities of good teachers are to have lesson clarity, instructional variety, teacher task orientation, engagement in the learning process and student success rate.
Therefore, good teachers do not teach in front of the class doing a good demonstration on the extensive and deep content knowledge, they teach to promote and enhance learning. Besides, they knows how to manage, not only their knowledge, but also the classroom and the students in terms of discipline, work, interaction between teacher- students-students, how to give instructions, and how to assess and evaluate activities, the students and their own work. Therefore, to be a good teacher also implies to have a series of qualities, in terms of professional and personal skills.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Good teachers are distinguished by their dedication to the students and to the job of teaching, and feel responsible for the achievement and success of the students and own professional development. Good teachers really believe that all students can learn, although all learn differently. They strive to motivate and engage all their students in learning rather than simple accepting that some students cannot be engaged and are destined to do poorly.
There are many different types of teachers. For instance, among many others, there are those who walk into the classroom, and some students do not even notice them; also there are some who seem to be authentic dictators, and students are even afraid to ask anything in the classroom. There are those who read from a book, or talk constantly, during the whole session, while students keep just copying; or even those who just talk, and by the end of the lesson, students do not even know what the lesson was about, because the objectives, structure and/or theme were not clear, even for the teacher. However, all these as prompted the researcher to examine the challenges and the qualities of a good teacher in some selected secondary schools in Gboko Local Government Area.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
To examine the qualities of a good teacher.
To identify the challenges of teaching profession.
To examine the relationship between teachers and students in Gboko Local Government Area.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What are the qualities of a good teacher?
What are the challenges of teaching profession?
What is the relationship between teachers and students in Gboko Local Government Area?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
The result of this study will educate the general public on the qualities of a good teachers and its influence on the student performance and behaviour.
The findings from this study will form a useful guide for the government and the stakeholders in the education sector on the challenges of teaching profession with a view of finding a sustainable solution.
This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the attribute of teachers in secondary schools in Gboko local government area. It will cover the qualities of a good teacher and also identify the challenges of teaching profession.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Alton-Lee, A. (2003) “Quality teaching for diverse students in schooling: Best evidence synthesis”, Wellington: Ministry of Education.
Borich, G.D. (2000) “Observation skills for effective learning”, 4th edit. Prentice Hall, UK
Gibbs, C.J. (2002). “Effective teaching: exercising self-efficacy and thought control of action” Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, Annual Conference of the British Educational Research Association Exeter England. [Accessed on 19th Feb. 2010] http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00002390.htm
Gurney, P. (2007) “Five factors for effective teaching” Journal of Teachers´ Work, Vol. 4, Issue 2, 89-98
Holt, J. (1964) “How children fail” Nueva York, EUA : Dell
Killen, R. (2006) “Effective teaching strategies –Lessons for research and practice” 4th edit., Thomson, Social Science Press, UK
Smith, F. (1995) “Let’s declare education a disaster and get on with our lives”. Phi Delta Kappan, 76, 584-590.
Stronge, J.H., Tucker, P.D. & Hindman, J.L. (2004) “Handbook for qualities of effective teachers” Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, VA, USA.