COP (Community of Practice) · Leadership · PLD

Elements of Good Teaching

My own Elements of Good Teaching adapted from Doug Shaw’s original list. I’m not personally keen on all the Pink Floyd quotes but there we are!

I. Management

A. Organizing the information-flow

  1. Policies and expectations about class procedures such as assessment, homework, and student behavior should be clearly stated.
  2. Homework should be announced far enough in advance, collected regularly, marked efficiently, and returned promptly.
  3. Assessment policies should be fair and conveyed unambiguously.

B. Planning the time

  1. Staying with the syllabus.
  2. Publish and draw regular attention to the class Learning Objectives in an open and clear manner for all to see.
  3. Organizing the class period including outlining at the beginning of class and closing with a smooth summary.
  4. Scheduling well in advance for student presentations, quizzes, reviews, etc.
  5. Adjusting plans when suddenly faced with too much time or too little time.

C. Managing the students

  1. Keeping order and focus.
  2. Handling interruptions.
  3. Fostering attendance and promptness.

II. Communication

A. Content

  1. Knows the subject and is well-prepared.
  2. Gives clear explanations.
  3. Stresses the basics.
  4. Sets an appropriate level/tempo.
  5. Anticipates student difficulty.

B. Presentations

  1. Presents with enthusiasm!
  2. Interests and stimulates students.
  3. Exhibits good whiteboard work.
  4. Encourages questions.
  5. Appears self-confident and poised.
  6. Speaks loudly enough and clearly; uses eye-contact.

III. Respect

A. “No dark sarcasm in the classroom

  1. Avoids gratuitous harshness. (“We’ve been over and over this. When are you planning on learning it?” “This is about as easy as it gets.” “Didn’t you learn anything last term?”)
  2. Avoids callous feedback.
  3. Listens to students, never talks down to them.

B. “Teacher leave them kids alone

  1. Promotes gender and racial equity.
  2. Avoids personal criticism; student-instructor, instructor-student, student-student.
  3. Assigns marks fairly.

C. “All in all, you’re all just bricks in the wall

  1. Learns and uses student names.
  2. Shows concern for individual students and attempts to see things from their points of view.
  3. Makes exceptions when appropriate.
  4. Tries to be available.
  5. Individualizes instruction if possible, especially during office hours.
  6. Ensures regular individual feedback and “feeds forward”.

IV. Commitment

A. Devotes the “right” amount of time to teaching the particulars.

  1. 20 teaching hours a week (per Collective Agreement).
  2. Makes appropriate use of  5 non-contact hours for planning and development.

B. Utilizes opportunities to develop professionally

  1. Participates in staff meetings.
  2. Cooperates with co-workers.
  3. Experiments and improves.
  4. Provides Professional Learning opportunities peers within personal specialities.

V. Outcome

A. Students are successful in the course.

B. Students agree that “this is an excellent course”.

C. Students agree that “this is an excellent teacher”.

D. Happy students make successful and generous alumni.


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