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Good teaching

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Teaching is a great art. Not all can become good teachers. A good teacher might be a scholar or a good student but a scholar or a good student might not always be a good teacher. A professor from Cambridge University remarked, "A good teacher should have the following qualities. First, he or she must know the material that he or she is teaching very well. Second, he or she should be able to explain his or her knowledge. Third, he or she must be patient and understanding. Last, he or she must be able to make the subject matter interesting to the students." Dr. Serajul Islam Choudhury, a veteran professor of English from the University of Dhaka said, “learning is a life-long process and there is no real ending to it till the last moment. Ideally, teachers should be given pre-entrance as well as in-service training. Also, a teacher need not be bureaucratic; on the contrary he/she should try, if necessary deliberately, to be democratic in attitude as well as in practice. The learner deserves to be treated as a subject rather than an object, and needs encouragement, too. To mark out the errors is not enough, it is even more necessary to appreciate the positive qualities in a student’s work.


Three. Good teaching is about listening, questioning, being responsive, and remembering that each student and class is different. It's about eliciting responses and developing the oral communication skills of the quiet students. It's about pushing students to excel; at the same time, it's about being human, respecting others, and being professional at all times. (To be continued)


Four. Good teaching is about not always having a fixed agenda and being rigid, but being flexible, fluid, experimenting, and having the confidence to react and adjust to changing circumstances. It's about getting only 10 percent of what you wanted to do in a class done and still feeling good. It's about deviating from the course syllabus or lecture schedule easily when there is more and better learning elsewhere. Good teaching is about the creative balance between being an authoritarian dictator on the one hand and a pushover on the other.

(To be continued)

Five. Good teaching is also about style. Should good teaching be entertaining? You bet! Does this mean that it lacks in substance? Not a chance! Effective teaching is not about being locked with both hands glued to a podium or having your eyes fixated on a slide projector while you drone on. Good teachers work the room and every student in it. They realize that they are the conductors and the class is the orchestra. All students play different instruments and at varying proficiencies.

Seven. Good teaching is about caring, nurturing, and developing minds and talents. It's about devoting time, often invisible, to every student. It's also about the thankless hours of grading, designing or redesigning courses, and preparing materials to still further enhance instruction.


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