Path to being better
Often, it is asked that what really makes an effective teacher. During my teaching career, there have been several students who have contributed to my understanding the intricacies of a teacher-student relationship. Here are some of the things that I have learned that might help teachers to be more effective and inspiring:
Create interest: A human can travel beyond his or her possibilities only if he or she is exploratory. One of the best ways to make someone explore is to enable them to develop an interest. It is an important task for a teacher to create an interest in learning something. If a student is not interested in Mathematics, for instance, he or she won't obviously give much attention to it. As a result, the performance in the subject will be poor. It is true that the student can easily love the subject only if a teacher can make it look interesting. Hence, a teacher first needs to have interest in the subject he or she is teaching.
Develop creativity: An effective teacher is always the one who develops the sense of creativity in students. The teacher should foster a generation of innovators by encouraging students to experiment with improvisational skills, role play and other active learning techniques. The spirit of thinking creatively is what teachers really need to develop.
Some of the ways to develop creativity is to ask students to make the best out of waste such as using some papers, pins, ice cream sticks, etc. Classrooms should be designed in such a way as to help students to have visual reflections.
Listen well: A good teacher is always a great listener. He or she not only talks but also keenly listens to all what the students have to say. If a certain topic or point is found to be debatable, a good teacher does not hesitate to throw open the topic to the whole class and invite individual opinions on the matter.
Be accessible: An effective teacher should always be accessible to his or her students. There are times when I have seen students waiting to talk to their teachers. This should not be the case. Teachers should always be easily accessible to students to clarify doubts.
Student-teacher relationship: As James Comer, a child psychiatrist, once said "No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship." This holds true in the case of the relationship that evolves between a student and teacher. Most of the times, the things that the students need the most are not in the teachers' lesson plans.
It is essential for teachers to develop a rapport with the students so that they can share their thoughts easily. If a teacher has a good relationship with the students, they are more likely to readily accept the rules, procedures and disciplinary actions. What really makes a positive student-teacher relationship is good communication, a safe learning environment, mutual respect, being patient and fair treatment of students.
Not all students are alike. While some quickly grasp the concepts taught and take an active part in the learning process, others may be shy, uninterested or even downright disruptive. As a result, it becomes essential for a teacher to create an atmosphere that is conducive to make the learning process interesting for all.
The teachers are like sculptors and students are like the soft clay ready to be moulded into a masterpiece. This can have a positive and long-lasting effect on a student's academic and social development. With these tips, having such a positive effect on the students will become easier.
(The author is assistant professor, Vidyavahini First Grade College, Tumakuru)