Can Good Teachers Be Taught or Are They Made?

Good teaching skills are central to the success of the education system, and the development of smart, informed and inspired children. Every school has its own teaching standards and preferred methods, but can ‘good teaching’ be taught or is it innate?      We take a look at characteristics of effective teachers, and whether it’s…


Good teaching skills are central to the success of the education system, and the development of smart, informed and inspired children. Every school has its own teaching standards and preferred methods, but can ‘good teaching’ be taught or is it innate? 
 
 
We take a look at characteristics of effective teachers, and whether it’s possible to train teachers who may lack these characteristics, but show promise.
 

So what makes a good teacher?

 
Central to any discussion of what makes a ‘good’ teacher is the key tenet that there is no one way to teach that will automatically fit every student. Students may respond to different teaching styles based on their own learning responses, the subject and the environment. 
 
Having said that, there are overarching qualities that successful teachers tend to possess. 
 

Communication

 
Getting ideas and information across is central but so too is the ability to communicate to a wide variety of students of different abilities, backgrounds and personalities. It’s about imparting information in a way that helps students learn while developing social and intellectual skills and stimulating a desire for knowledge. 
 
Communication skills don’t have to align with an outgoing personality or ‘showmanship’. It’s about being confident in the subject matter and able to explain both simple and complex subjects in a clear way. Communication skills do often improve with practice, and the use of visual aids and written notes can be effective. 
 

Organisation

 
It may not be the first thing that springs to mind but a good organiser will find it easier to break a syllabus down into lessons to ensure everything is adequately covered and not rushed. 
 
They will be able to keep on top of marking and individual assessments to monitor student progress. And they can set up systems to ensure good lines of communication with students, parents and fellow staff members. There are plenty of everyday and technological organisational tools (including apps) that can help any teacher improve in this area. 
 

Flexibility

 
Education is continually evolving, so teaching isn’t static. A good teacher is likely to keep abreast of new developments in their subject/s to ensure the material remains fresh. And they need to keep on top of technological advances in and out of the classroom (because the students certainly will). 
 
In recruiting in education, always discuss with potential teachers if they are set in their teaching style, or if they have the flexibility to adapt if something isn’t working or there’s a way to improve a process. Effective teachers do tend to be those that are happy to adapt and take on new ideas.
 

Enthusiasm, dedication and respect for students 

 
In addition to these characteristics, there is one key ingredient that makes a great teacher, and that is enthusiasm. Teachers who have a passion for teaching plus a genuine respect for students and desire to see them learn and develop are central to effective teaching. 
 
If a teacher has all the knowledge but no desire to inspire, then something is missing. If, on the other hand, you have a candidate who is still developing their communication and organisational skills but has an enormous passion for teaching, then there’s a good chance they will turn into a fantastic teacher.  
 

Finding good teachers

 
Good teachers are sometimes born, but often made. It’s the right combination of skills and attitude that matters. If you’re planning your teacher recruitment, then we can help narrow the field with candidates ready to make a positive impact at your school.