An examination of the research on educational practices that make a difference shows that four classes of competencies yield the greatest results.
- Instructional delivery
- Classroom management
- Formative assessment
- Personal competencies (soft skills)
Research tells us what can be expected from a teacher employing instructional strategies and practices that are proven to lead to increased mastery of lessons.
Better learning happens in a dynamic setting in which teachers offer explicit active instruction than in situations in which teachers do not actively guide instruction and instead turn control over content and pace of instruction to students.
The following are hallmarks of an explicit approach for teachers.
- Teacher selects the learning area to be taught.
- Teacher sets criteria for success.
- Teacher informs students of criteria ahead of the lesson.
- Teacher demonstrates to the student's successful use of the knowledge/skills through modelling.
- Teacher evaluates student acquisition.
- Teacher provides remedial opportunities for acquiring the knowledge/skills, if necessary.
- Teacher provides closure at the end of the lesson.
- Classroom management is one of the most persistent areas of concern voiced by school administrators, the public, and teachers.
- Research consistently places classroom management among the top five issues that affect student achievement.
- Effective rules and procedures identify expectations and appropriate behaviour for students.
- Another set of clearly stated rules establishes acceptable behaviour specific in a classroom. These rules need to be consistent with schoolwide rules but may be unique to meet the needs of an individual classroom
- The effective ongoing assessment referred to in education literature as formative assessment and progress monitoring, is indispensable in promoting teacher and student success.
- It is frequently listed at the top of interventions for school improvement.
- The formative assessment consists of a range of formal and informal diagnostic testing procedures, conducted by teachers throughout the learning process, for modifying teaching and adapting activities to improve student attainment.
- Systemic interventions such as Response to Intervention (RtI) and Data-Based Decision Making depend heavily on the use of formative assessment.
Personable competencies (soft skills):
- An inspiring teacher can affect students profoundly by stimulating their interest in learning.
- It is equally true that most students have encountered teachers who were uninspiring and for whom they performed poorly.
- Unfortunately, effective and ineffective teachers have no readily discernable personality differences. Some of the very best teachers are affable, but many ineffective instructors can be personable and caring.
- Conversely, some of the best teachers appear as stern taskmasters, but whose influence is enormous in motivating students to accomplish things they never thought possible.
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