When compared to a non-effective teacher, a successful teacher can dramatically raise her students’ learning levels. That is abundantly demonstrated by empirical evidence from the literature on “teacher value-added.” Personal experience and anecdotal evidence back this up: if you think back on your own educational experiences, you’ll recall those ‘excellent’ teachers who must have had a considerably greater impact on your learning than the average or poor teachers.
Good teachers have a thorough understanding of their subject (content knowledge), as well as the ability to engage pupils in learning (pedagogical knowledge). They possess a variety of other characteristics as well, but content understanding and the ability to interact are almost prerequisites. There are, however, no defined methods by which a teacher can engage her students. It is dependent on the teacher’s personality. A teacher is a self-advocating human being. Her actions, words, gestures, opinions, knowledge, biases, body language, pronunciation, and the tiniest of details all become means of communication with students. Good teachers can use some or all of these strategies to better engage students and improve learning outcomes.
What we don’t have is a recipe that will work for every teacher. These ‘skills’ aren’t anything that can be learned by rote. We’re not implying that these abilities can’t be taught or acquired. They are capable of doing so. But what is being argued is that in order for a subset or all of the talents mentioned to be more effective, they must be internalized by a teacher and must also mesh well with the instructor’s personality.
Herein lies one of the most significant challenges in the field of education and learning. Both the teacher and the learner must be daring in order to learn new things. When individuals come in to learn, they must be open to new knowledge as well as new ways of being. This is risky, and it can also be frightening. It’s risky because new information and methods of thinking/being might upend long-held ideas, attitudes, behaviors, and routines. It’s never easy to accept a challenge to these, especially ones that go to the core of our being and our sense of self. However, if both the student and the teacher do not enter the classroom with such openness, all learning and teaching will be superficial, and rote learning may result. This is when we hear something like, “…all this schooling hasn’t helped x or y.”
We haven’t been able to make any progress in terms of learning outcomes. Whereas an open mind, a desire to learn, a hunger for information, and the guts to question established knowledge suffice for students, the matter is more complicated for teachers. She must also be able to impart new information to her students, which is often distressing and difficult. She requires leadership traits in addition to competence and courage: she must have a thorough understanding of herself. She must be aware of her moral and ethical principles, as well as possess knowledge of the subject and the context in which it is being taught, as well as the capacity to express it clearly and engagingly. She must have great interpersonal skills and a thorough understanding of how new knowledge is formed in the context in which she is teaching. As previously stated, she must be a leader.
It’s easy to see why there are so few “excellent” instructors, and why providing quality instruction to a large number of kids has been such a challenge. The majority of teachers in Pakistan, both public and private, did not choose to serve as educators. Because they couldn’t find another work, the majority of them became teachers. Many of them lack intrinsic or extrinsic desire to do a good job or to grow as educators. The public sector, like the majority of the private sector, not only offers low incomes in comparison to living expenses for a middle-class lifestyle, but it also lacks other driving incentives, and most teachers remain dissatisfied with their jobs.
This also explains why the majority of teacher education is ineffective. Every year, hundreds of millions of rupees are spent on teacher training by Pakistan’s provincial education administrations. However, it has been discovered that the impact on outcomes is minimal. The majority of teacher education is focused on curriculum and, if time allows, pedagogical difficulties. The themes of human agency and personality are not addressed in these trainings. Teachers rarely open out during trainings. To put it another way, most trainings skip over the learning portion.
Learning necessitates bravery – the courage to be open, vulnerable, and aware of the deconstruction and reconstruction possibilities. This is a challenging procedure to follow. To make the procedure go more smoothly, good guides and teachers are required. Good teachers can create a safe and trusting environment in which pupils can open up. They also have the ability to engage kids and serve as role models for learning.
Teachers, on the other hand, must have progressed to a certain level of autonomy in order for this to happen. In order to assist others, grow, they must be confident in their own personality, understand their beliefs, and be able to transcend their egos and personalities. This is a lofty goal. It’s hardly unexpected that, despite all of the reforms, we haven’t been able to secure a sufficient supply of teachers, even though teacher training.