ACT - The Association of Christian Teachers

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What makes a great teacher?

What makes a great teacher?

What makes great teaching?



‘What makes great teaching?’ -  the new report published today by The Sutton Trust, Durham University and the Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring examines what really does make a difference in the classroom.


Previous research by the Sutton Trust has shown that by far the biggest factor that impacts the achievement of children from poorer backgrounds is the quality of teaching. (Poorer pupils gain 1.5 years’ worth of learning with very effective teachers, compared to 0.5 years with poorly performing teachers.


This report goes further and tries to examine more clearly what constitutes effective teaching. The report shows as you would expect that the strongest evidence of teaching that improves student outcomes are where there is strong knowledge and understanding of their subject and great quality of instruction which includes effective questioning and use of assessment.


Two areas that the report believes are far less effective are using praise lavishly and ‘discovery learning’.


What is really clear is that the quality of the teaching as you would expect is so very important – and the relationship that teacher is able to have with their class and the discipline and order they are able to instil.


Lesson observations and feedback to teachers is often poor and peer to peer teacher observation if robust is often more effective and less threatening than the top down approach. Ofsted whilst no longer giving individual teacher grades are just a snapshot in a tense atmosphere whilst if colleagues can trust each other for constructive criticism standards would surely rise.


It is clear the formulaic idea of what is a good teacher does not fit as every child is unique and the best teachers can bring out the unique way each individual child learns.


Clive Ireson

Director (Strategy)

Association of Christian Teachers


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