Six elements of great teaching – a pupil's perspective

1st July 2015 at 13:12
picture of student
Declan Kesington is a Year 10 student at Woodside High School, north London. Here, he gives a student perspective on what makes great teaching

What makes a good teacher in the eyes of students? It is those teachers that involve their students and engage with them, allowing students to take control over their own learning. It is those teachers that trust us (believe it or not, kids won’t set the school on fire if they are allowed out of their seat). It is those teachers that genuinely want to help us.

We all know why most students want to achieve their potential: to make their parents and themselves proud. However, as a student, when you are taught by a teacher that you believe actually wants the best for you, you begin to work for the teacher. I hold that as a massive factor on whether students pass or fail.

If students cherish your schooling, there will be no paper aeroplanes strewn around or graffiti on the desks. Students these days have a flip switch. We turn our engagement on or off. What makes us listen and offer opinions and insights to be listened to? What does real teaching look like in the classroom? Here are six things that I think would make a difference.

  1. Break down topics with one-to-one sessions periodically, giving you a chance to understand your student on a personal level and what their views are.
  2. Transform your lessons. Instead of handing out worksheets, why not create an experiment to prove your theory. Allow students to discover your knowledge for themselves, instead of reading it from a textbook.  
  3. Use the outdoors. Treat the environment as a second classroom. A change of scenery can always help.
  4. Ensure your students don’t know what to expect when they walk through your door.
  5. Never move on unless everyone at least comprehends your message. When anyone feels subordinate, it can have a massive negative impact.
  6. Make your lessons fun. Your lessons should be wanted by your students. If they are not wanted, why would you spend hours on end building them? This will create a haven for learning. Isn’t that what you strive to achieve anyway?


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