Elements of Good Teaching and Good Teachers: A Theoretical Framework and Effective Strategies for Special Educators

Vance L. Austin, Ph.D
Manhattanville College

Abstract

Within schools in the United States, teachers must now acquire the skills and dispositions necessary to effectively teach students with a wide variety of needs. As an important first step, the effective behaviors of successful teachers need to be considered. The author has identified three key components that are integral to that process; namely, (a) relationship-building, (b) pedagogical skills, and (c) subject knowledge. One framework that appears to be useful in identifying specific skills common to “good” teaching and good teachers is Kennedy’s (2008) three criteria of effective teaching behaviors: (a) personal resources; the qualities that the teacher brings to the job (b) teacher performance; teachers’ everyday practices that occur in and out of the classroom and (c) teacher effectiveness; the relational teacher qualities that influence students. In a relevant investigation, the author and colleagues conducted research that identified effective teacher strategies, such as awareness of body language, flexibility in accommodating different learning styles, active listening techniques, the use of eye contact, teacher availability, and incorporating a variety of teaching methodologies. Other research-based strategies are discussed relative to their implications for effective (good) teaching.

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