Teaching: Characteristics and Basic Requirements

Characteristics of Teaching:

“The aim of teaching is simple: it is to make student learning possible…To teach is to make an assumption about what and how the student learns; therefore, to teach well implies learning about students’ learning” (Ramsden, 1992).

The task of the teacher in higher education has many dimensions: it involves the provision of a broad context of knowledge within which students can locate and understand the content of their more specific studies; it involves the creation of a learning environment in which students are encouraged to think carefully and critically and express their thoughts, and in which they wish to confront and resolve difficulties rather than gloss over them, it involves constantly monitoring and reflecting on the processes of teaching and student understanding and seeking to improve them. Most difficult of all perhaps, it involves helping students to achieve their own aims, and adopt the notion that underlies higher education: that students’ learning requires from them commitment, work, responsibility for their own learning, and a willingness to take risks, and that this process has its rewards, not the least of which is that learning can be fun!

So what is good or effective teaching? Smith (1995) suggests that learning ‘is a consequence of experience’ (p.588). He argues that education and therefore teaching, should be focused on the creation of ‘appropriately nourishing experiences so that learning comes about naturally and inevitably’ (p.589). He states that schools should focus less on ‘talking about learning and teaching’ and ‘more about doing’ (p.589)

Alton-Lee (2003) has provided ten clearly defined and research-supported characteristics of quality teaching

  1. A focus on student achievement.
  2. Pedagogical practices that create caring, inclusive and cohesive learning communities.
  3. Effective links between school and the cultural context of the school.
  4. Quality teaching is responsive to student learning processes.
  5. Learning opportunities are effective and sufficient.
  6. Multiple tasks and contexts support learning cycles.
  7. Curriculum goals are effectively aligned.
  8. Pedagogy scaffolds feedback on students’ task engagement.
  9. Pedagogy promotes learning orientations, student self regulation, meta cognitive strategies and thoughtful student discourse.
  10. Teachers and students engage constructively in goal oriented assessment.

(Alton-Lee, 2003: vi-x)

These are not easy tasks, and there is no simple way to achieve them. Still less are there any prescriptions that will hold good in all disciplines and for all students. How we teach must be carefully tailored to suit both that which is to be learnt and those who are to learn it. To put it another way – and to add another ingredient – our teaching methods should be the outcome of our aims (that is, what we want the students to know, to understand, to be able to do, and to value), our informed conceptions of how students learn, and the institutional context – with all of its constraints and possibilities – within which the learning is to take place.

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1. The main character of teaching is to provide guidance and training.
2. Teaching is interaction between teacher and students.
3. Teaching is an art to give knowledge to students with effective way.
4. Teaching is a science to educate fact and causes of different topics of different subjects.
5. Teaching is continues process .
6. Teacher can teach effectively, if he has full confidence on the subject.
7. Teaching encourages students to learn more and more.
8. Teaching is formal as well as informal
9. Teaching is communication of information to students. In teaching , teacher imparts information in interesting way so that students can easily understand the information .
10. Teaching is tool to help student to adjust himself in society and its environment.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS of Teaching

Basic requirements of teaching include,

I. The Teacher: The teacher is an innovator of information and knowledge. He is the creator and transmitter of knowledge, values and ethos to our youngsters for latter’s physical, mental, emotional and social development. In the process of teaching-learning, the teacher is the main vehicle, and he knows what is right and what is wrong in the society. The teacher masters over his subject and uses an effective language for the communication in order to bring a positive change in the behavior of the learner. Since, it is the age of science and technology, the teacher ought to have a sound knowledge of science and technology. He should therefore use the latest means of media communication in the process of teaching.

II. The Learner: The learner is a dependent one and immature. He has to cooperate in the teaching-learning process with the teacher and try to get as much information and knowledge as possible from him. He must follow the teacher for understanding and getting knowledge. The learners may be categorized as the students of primary schools, elementary schools, secondary schools, senior secondary schools, colleges or universities.

III. The Subject (Topic): The subject is the main concern in the whole endeavor of teaching and learning process. The topic is generally decided by the teacher but the learner can also contribute in deciding a topic, so that, a balanced and harmonious development takes place. It is for the teacher to prepare necessary charts, maps, tables and models that pertain to the decided topic. Media based technological and scientific aids may also be made available by the teacher to make the teaching more interesting and understandable.

IV. The Environment: The leamer’s growth and all round development are the main objectives of teaching. This is possible only when there is a suitable environment for the teaching-learning process. The teacher as such creates such environment and nurtures the’ learner in that environment. Learners are not passive objects. For long, the child or the learner was viewed as a natural or given category. This undermined the importance of the fact that the development of the learner is intimately linked to changes in the sociocultural and historical conditions in a given society.

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