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What is great teaching to you?

Great teaching is difficult to define as it is at least partly subjective, varies based on the discipline, and often varies in the results produced. It also might vary due to other factors, such as parental resources and support of students, school resources, attitudinal differences, etc. Answers can try to provide definitions or explanations of great teaching, and examples of great teachers they have known or who have taught them.

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    Feb 10 2013: Everyone knows that great teaching is about WHO not about WHAT. Great teaching therefore does not depend on the external qualities of the teachers such as their workshop, knowledge or number of certificates, but solely on their personal qualities.

    Jesus, Buddha and Mahomet were all great teachers thanks to their inner qualities, not because they made everything seem plain and simple.
  • Feb 22 2013: Great teaching for me is when a teacher don't give you all the answers but help you find them by your self. Great teaching for me is encouraging the questioning attitude, reasoning and deduction, which exercise your brain, enriches your mind and give you the tools to confront the different challenges of your life.
  • Feb 16 2013: Great teaching requires a connection between student and teacher. The teacher must be able to recognize the strengths and weakness of their student and help guide them to resources. The goal is to help the student learn how to learn.
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    Feb 16 2013: For me, great teaching happens when your students see you as someone they needed because they themselves want to learn rather than seeing you as a terror freak who scares the hell out of their nerves.

    I believe that there are great teachers (like those awesome and really intelligent ones) but still fail to CONNECT to their students. An effective teacher is a great messenger of ideas. CONNECTION that is. We need to be able to connect to our students. If we are successful in connecting with them, it is safe to say that they will have grasps of whatever we teach them. Thus, creating "new kinds" of individuals who can take part in building the society.

    I guess that's the measurement of great teaching. It must be able to sustain lifelong relevance to the kids.
  • Feb 14 2013: The ability, as a student, to be drawn into a subject by a passionate and dynamic teacher who gently guides you to uncover pertinent information and leaves you hungry to continue learning past the primary objective.
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    Feb 12 2013: As Kate Blake said, it is about passion. Not just a passionate teacher, which is essential though, but the ability to create this passion in the students. To really get them emotionaly involved in the topic will create a desire for more knowledge. Not everyone can be able to be inflamed with every topic, but they will have something else which is 100% their thing. And this passion, in whatever area it lies, should be identified and encouraged.
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    Feb 10 2013: When there is great learning, there is great teaching.

    When you can affect a persons values and have resultant changes in behavior, decisions, and actions, you have done some great teaching.
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    Feb 10 2013: To me it is great communication. This is rare and so is great teaching. Take a look at Fritzie Reisner's comments I think, she is starting to get the hang of this teaching thing.

    You ask what is great communication? Being interested, while being cheerful, with out evaluation of the student, without invalidation of the student, stated at an appropriate way so the student understands, with a proper acknowledgment of the student, and most of all getting the student to receive the idea and measure and weigh the idea and be able to use it.

    The opposite of this is memorization. Knowledge by definition is applied, no application = no knowledge
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    Feb 10 2013: For me great teaching is making one's mind ready and capable of learning fast and if required unlearn even faster.
  • Feb 22 2013: I see themes of passion and connection in this thread. While connection and passion are amazing qualities of teachers, i believe the absolute pinnacle of teaching is the ability to spark a student's interest. Passion and connection are means to this end, but even the most passionate and connecting teacher can go wrong if they don't provide practical or real world problems.
    As a logical extension of this idea, a great teacher is never afraid to admit they don't know something, or that they haven't fully explored a topic. The best teachers are those that give enough information to develop a knowledge base, and then ask hard, thought provoking questions.
    And obviously, even the best teacher can't teach a student that just doesn't want to learn. But the most impacting teachers are those that foster curiosity.
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    Feb 12 2013: Teaching is an attitude. Where there is somebody teaching, there is a need for someone ready to be taught. Once you have that, you have attention and interest. With that on display, you can go on and offer the right amount of information, knowledge and guidance and build that wonderful and mysterious aura around anything, usually called 'topic' but better if perceived as the 'wow' moment. The final touch would be freedom, for them to go and find out more about it and for you, to build on it and endlessly improving yourself and your teaching.
  • Feb 11 2013: End driven, teaching for the sake of more than just teaching
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    Feb 10 2013: I slightly believe I teach my eight-year-old niece things, but it's mostly just by talking to her, playfully talking to her, calling her out when she says something illogical and making her keep talking until she cleans up her thinking (or I find out she was right and I was wrong.)
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    Feb 10 2013: G'day Catherine

    Wisdom within the knowing!!

  • Feb 10 2013: I think one of the attributes of a great teacher is having the humility that would allow a pupil to outgrow or outshine oneself.

    One of the things it is not is simply imparting information that is easily available elsewhere.
  • Feb 10 2013: Great teaching is when a teacher exceeds his/her objectives.

    If those objectives are not clearly defined, great teaching will be undefined.