Reaffirming the Importance of Teacher Characteristics

Interest in those teacher characteristics that make instruction effective is long-standing. Since the 1930s, we’ve been asking students, faculty, alums, and administrators to identify the ingredients or components of effective instruction, and the same or similar characteristics are named with some regularity. The assumption has been that good teaching promotes learning, and there’s research that justifies that conclusion. However, for the last several decades attention has shifted from teaching to learning, a long-overdue shift in focus. Nonetheless, the important role played by good teaching should not be forgotten. In addition to what we teach and the strategies we use when we teach, the delivery of the instruction makes a difference. A couple of recent studies call us back to those ingredients of instruction that students repeatedly report help them learn but with some interesting updates.

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