The teacher that inspired me was a teacher that taught me for two years – so she knew my strengths and weaknesses. She pushed me to my limits and made me improve, not just academically but in confidence. She seemed to understand each and every one of us and it was amazing how she did that. Every subject that we did, whether we were good or not at that particular subject, there would always be positives with your work.
She used different teaching styles and gave us different learning styles and taught us in separate groups, either with the teacher or a teaching assistant. We would also swap around classrooms to different teachers for the three core subjects: English, Maths, and Science.
The aspects of the lessons that were successful were her behaviour management skills and use of differentiation. For example, when we were out for PE she would pair a weaker student with a stronger student to improve and challenge them or she would go with the weaker child so that the stronger students would be more challenged.
She used different strategies to make lessons engaging. Once we had a “Victorian Day” when we did a case study about Victorians. We had Victorian Lessons which were cross-curricular. This was across the year group and classes were mixed up a bit, so it improved our ability to work in different teams and abilities because we also sat in ‘friendship groups’.
Differentiation of resources, activities, outcomes, levels of support to ensure that needs of all learners are met was used well. Weaker students were doing a different activity with the teaching assistant and middle to high ability were challenged by the teacher giving them separate activities. The outcome of this is that everyone was challenged and everyone learnt something. She always made sure that everyone was progressing, after discussion with parents. She always seem to have good subject knowledge because she worked as a team with the rest of the year group teachers.
She seemed to use VAK as a way of teaching but I’m not sure if this is good or bad because this theory has many criticisms.
She also included Gardeners Multiple Intelligences, which also has its criticisms. Also, children are usually better at one than the other. Gardener’s multiple intelligences include: Intrapersonal (self-smart), linguistic (word smart), logical-mathematical (logic smart), naturalist (nature smart), spatial (picture smart), body-kinetic (body smart), Musical (music smart) and Interpersonal (people smart).
I think the aspects of learning that an inspirational teacher should include and I wish to include in my classroom is:
- Creative thinking
- Social skills
- Information processing
- Problem solving
I don’t recall her teaching all four of the child development rules: social, cognitive, physical and emotional. She taught us socially because we worked individually and in teams. The cognitive part was all the different academic subjects in one. Finally, the physical was in Physical Education. The one I don’t remember was emotional, how would you teach this?
But when you are thinking about a good teacher and how they help the children to learn, it is worth thinking about what learning actually is? It could be human survival or a way of making sense of the world but there is no infinitive definition but does the teacher need to know what the meaning of learning actually is in order for them to teach and their children to learn effectively?
I emphasise the word ‘she’ throughout this blog, as I only had one male teacher in the whole of my primary school life and I think this is progressively changing to have more male teachers. I think this would benefit males in the classroom because they could relate to them more.
Finally, there are barriers to learning. The information the children receive from the teacher is new ideas. The learning is actually working to make sense of it all. From the learning you have the understanding and applying it to life. A lot of things can affect it: concepts and words which is affected by amount of sleep, allergies and other reactions, low self-perception, puberty/hormone level swings and physical injuries, fear, poor diet and exercise, learning language differences, amount of time on electronics, chemicals and medications and duration of learning/thinking without a break.