How to Be an Engaging and Highly Effective Educator

Anyone can teach. We teach each other every day. For example, we instruct each other to cook, put together furniture, and complete other household tasks. However, teaching someone is different from the process of educating someone. Consider the difference between informal education and formal education. An example of informal learning would be to follow a recipe to learn to cook. In contrast, formal learning takes place within the classroom and is usually accompanied by assessment and evaluation. It may seem that teaching and learning are the same things; However, the difference has nothing to do with the place or context of learning.

The same distinction can be made for teaching informally (instructing) and teaching students in a formal classroom environment. A person enters the field of education as a profession – either full-time in traditional educational institutions or as an assistant (or part-time) instructor. The reasons why someone would choose to be in a classroom vary. A traditional full-time professor may be responsible for researching, teaching, and publishing scholarly work. An adjunct instructor may teach at a community college, traditional college, or an online school. When one teaches students in higher education one may be called a facilitator, instructor, or professor. This is important because there is no job with the word teacher in the title.

The questions I want to answer include: What does it mean to be a teacher? Does it signify something different than the job title specified? What I have learned from my work in higher education is that becoming a teacher is not an automatic process. Not everyone who is teaching students is acting as an engaging and highly effective teacher. However, it is possible to learn how to educate rather than teach and this requires a commitment to the profession.

What does it mean to teach?

Consider teaching as part of a system of traditional, primary education. Those classes are teacher-led and children as students are taught what and how to learn. The teacher is considered the expert and guides the learning process. A teacher is someone who is highly trained and works to engage the minds of his students. This style of teacher-led teaching continues in higher education, particularly in traditional college classrooms. The teacher still stands at the fore and center of the classroom delivering information, and students are used to this format because of their experience in elementary education. The instructor disseminates knowledge through a lecture and students study to pass required exams or carry out other required learning activities.

Within higher education, teachers may be called trainers and are appointed as subject matter experts with advanced material knowledge. Job requirements usually include having a specific number of degree hours in the subject being taught. Teachers may also be called professors in traditional college classrooms, and those positions require a terminal degree with additional coursework requirements. For all these roles, teaching refers to someone who is guiding the learning process by instructing, telling, and instructing students. The instructor or professor is in charge, and students must comply and follow instructions. Here’s a thing to consider: If this is the essence of teaching, is there any difference between that and educating students? Is the role of a teacher the same as that of an educator?

What does it mean to be an Educator?

Consider some basic definitions to get started as a means of understanding the role of a teacher. The meaning of the word “education” is to give instruction; “Teacher” refers to a person who provides instruction and is one who is skilled in teaching, And teaching is aligned with providing an explanation. I have expanded these definitions so that the term “teacher” includes someone who is proficient with instruction, has highly developed academic skills, and possesses both subject matter knowledge and knowledge of educational principles.

Skilled With Instruction: A teacher is one who must be proficient in the art of classroom instruction, knowing which instructional strategies are effective and the areas of convenience that need further development. An experienced teacher develops methods that will bring course material to life by adding relevant context and motivating students to learn through class discussions and other learning activities. Instruction also includes all interactions with students, including all forms of communication, as each interaction provides an opportunity for learning.

Highly Developed Academic Skills: A teacher should also have strong academic skills and writing skills should be at the top of that list. This requires attention to detail on the part of the teacher and of all types of messages, including anything written, presented, and sent via email. The ability to demonstrate strong academic skills is especially important to anyone who is teaching online classes because the words represent the instructor.

The use of proper drafting guidelines according to the style set by the school is also included in the list of important academic skills. For example, many schools have implemented APA drafting guidelines as the standard for drafting papers and working with sources. A teacher cannot adequately guide students and provide meaningful feedback if the writing style is not mastered.

Strong Knowledge Base: A teacher needs to develop a knowledge base that has subject matter expertise along with knowledge of education principles as it pertains to the course or courses they are teaching. I know of many teachers who have the required credit hours on degree transcripts, yet may not have extensive experience in teaching. This would still allow these teachers to teach the curriculum, provided they take the time to read the course textbook and find ways to apply it to current practices within the field.

Many schools employ assistants with extensive work experience as the primary criterion, rather than knowledge of teaching principles. The instructors I’ve worked with who have a strong education knowledge base have typically achieved this through ongoing professional development. It was my goal, when I decided to major for my doctoral degree, to understand how to learn so that I could transform from an instructor into an educator.

Becoming an Attractive and Highly Effective Educator

I don’t believe that many instructors consider the need to consciously transition from acting as a coach to acting as a teacher. When someone is hired to teach a classroom, other than a traditional college professor, they often learn through practice and time which works well in the classroom. There are likely to be classroom audits and recommendations for ongoing professional development. Gradually the typical instructor will become a teacher as they look for resources to help them improve their teaching practices. However, I have worked with many helpful online instructors who rely on their subject matter expertise alone and do not believe there is any reason to grow as a teacher. There are a few steps that can be taken and practiced for anyone who wants to make a change and become an engaging and highly effective teacher.

Continue to Develop Your Instructional Practice

While any teacher can learn on the job over time, it is possible to be intentional about this growth. There are many online resources, publications, workshops, webinars, and professional groups that will allow you to learn new methods, strategies, and practices. There are also social media websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter that allow the exchange of ideas and resources within a global community of teachers.

You can also use self-reflection as a means of assessing your effectiveness. I have found that the best time to review my teaching practice is immediately after class ends. This is a time when I can assess the strategies I have used and determine whether those methods were effective. Student surveys reviewed at the end of the course can also provide insight into my students’ perspectives.

Continue Developing Your Academic Skills

I know from my work with online faculty development that this is an area of ​​development that many teachers can use. However, this is often seen as a low priority – unless it is noted in a class audit. If a teacher has weak academic writing skills, it will interfere with their ability to provide comprehensive feedback for students. For online trainers, when posted messages contain errors with spelling, grammar, and formatting, it has an even greater impact. Educational skills can be developed through the use of online resources or workshops. Several online schools I have worked for offer faculty workshops and this is a valuable self-development resource.

Continue to Develop Your Subject Matter Expertise

Every teacher has subject matter expertise that they can draw on. However, the challenge is to keep that knowledge current as you continue to teach for many years. The best advice I can give is to find resources that allow you to read and learn about current thinking, research, and best practices in your chosen field. This is essential to your teaching practice as students may find that you are current in your knowledge, or seem out of date and out of touch. Even using the necessary textbooks does not ensure that you are using the most current information as knowledge develops rapidly in many fields.

Working as a teacher, or someone who is highly engaged in the process of helping students learn begins with a commitment to make it a career rather than a job. I have developed a vision for how I want to be involved in each class I teach and I recommend the same strategy to you. You may find it useful to develop learning goals for your career and to link your classroom performance to those goals. For example, do you want to complete the required facilitation tasks or would you rather spend the extra time needed to nurture the classroom situation?

After developing an attitude and learning goals, you can create a professional development plan to fuel your learning and growth in all of the areas I’ve addressed above. While this strategy may require an investment of time, it is useful to remember that we always make time for what we consider most important. Being a teacher is not about focusing on job tasks, but it’s about cultivating a love for what you do and learning to excel for the benefit of your students. Becoming an engaging and highly effective teacher is when you decide that teaching students is only part of the learning process, and that who you are and how you act while working and interacting with your students. work to change it.

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