What Makes a Good Instructor Student? Essay

Pages: 6 (1683 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … attributes that most contribute to a successful student and instructor are analyzed in this paper from the standpoint of both moving to shared objectives, taking shared responsibility for progress over time. Ultimately, learning is a journey not a destination, and with that perspective in mind, this analysis looks at the relative progression of students to learning objectives over time. A critical component of any instructors' teaching skill set is the ability to tailor training programs to the individualized needs of students. This is a technique called scaffolding (Najjar, 2008), and it has shown to be highly effective in assisting students more effectively over time. From a student perspective, there must be a sense of how the knowledge being shared contributes to the broader set of insights and framework of experience if it is to be relevant (Nevo, McClean, Nevo, 2010). The characteristics of excellent instructors are shared, then those of students.

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Above all, an instructor must have a passion for what they are doing; a sense of purpose and a definite belief that the profession is education is one they are called to do. Studies indicate that when a teaching professional has this level of internal commitment they can overcome significant challenges both in attaining their teaching credentials but also in facing down the challenges of helping students at widely varying levels of development attain educational goals. This ability to take their commitment to educating others and translate it into a daily focus on assisting students to their educational goals takes patience and an appreciation that every student also has innate speeds and styles of learning as well (Goldberg, Parham, Coufal, Maeda, Scudder, Sechtem, 2010). The strategies that many instructors use are the concept of scaffolding, where teaching strategies are specifically designed to compensate for the unique needs of students (Najjar, 2008). Excellent instructors look beyond in-person tools and techniques and compliment teaching strategies with online tools and one-on-one sessions as well to further accentuate the learning process from several different approaches. Best practices in teaching includes the ability to switch between different channels of teaching quickly and with appropriate content to ensure each students' needs are met and they continue to grow in terms of their knowledge of the subject (Goldberg, Parham, Coufal, Maeda, Scudder, Sechtem, 2010).

A second best practice is the ability to be transformational leader in the classroom. An instructor that is a transformational leader is one that is authentic and transparent in their courses, and this makes them much more trustworthy over time (Pounder, 2008). The greater the level of trust an instructor is able to gain; the more effective overall learning will be in their classrooms as well (Pounder, 2008). Excellent instructors then have an ability to create transformational teams of students as well. Their focus on how to create learning teams that have a shared vision of not just attaining a grade but attaining a shared learning objective is widely considered a best practice in teaching as well (Pounder, 2008) (Goldberg, Parham, Coufal, Maeda, Scudder, Sechtem, 2010). Examples of these types of learning scenarios include science instructors that are able to lead student teams beyond just the development of projects for a given scientific concept or theory and actually challenge them to make projects that reflect and expand on the theories taught (Ingram, 1997). An example would be challenging students to create propelled vehicles that have no mechanisms in them, and that propulsion only can happen from either physical or chemical reactions on the vehicle. This leads to exceptionally creative solutions and is an example of how science teachers create a vision of accomplishment over and above just doing the work in a class to get a grade. The focus is on accomplishment of a broader vision with instructors who are transformational leaders (Pounder, 2008) (Ingram, 1997). Transformational leadership also seeks to gain trust by showing that the instructor is willing to create programs and specialized learning tracks for students who need additional resources, time and greater skill development in completing assignments (Najjar, 2008). This type of scaffolding is meant to give students the opportunity to gain greater insight into how, as part of a group, they can attain the vision of a course of field of study. It is different from just moving through a curriculum or learning plan as scaffolding seeks to create long-term learning with students who can internalize the lessons learned and be able to use them in future learning efforts (Najjar, 2008).

A third best practice that excellent instructors have is the ability to create exceptionally rich learning experiences by working to show how their fields of study interrelate with others and capitalize on frameworks already learned. This approach to teaching seeks to also motivate students to be learn on their own, a concept called self-efficacy (Ingram, 1997). Increasingly instructors are relying on technologies to accomplish this, often creating interactive lesson plans and learning platforms accessible over the Internet on a 24/7 basis (Nevo, McClean, Nevo, 2010). This reliance on Internet-based learning platforms is also making it possible to create entirely new approaches to personalized learning programs and making the vision of scaffolding teaching strategies a reality across all grade levels (Najjar, 2008). Excellent instructors are continually working to create personalized lessons that can aid students in attaining long-term learning of key concepts.

Best practices of instructors in creating exceptional learning experiences centers on creating the motivation in students to also learn on their own (Goldberg, Parham, Coufal, Maeda, Scudder, Sechtem, 2010). It is the intention of these best practices taken together to create an environment that gives students the opportunity to find what they have natural abilities are and also gain the motivation to continually improve through self-learning and development as well. Ultimately an instructor is a success if they accomplish the transition of learning responsibility from themselves to the student so they continually, over their lives, look to always improve by learning more in their fields of interest. Ultimately, an instructor has been successful if they are able to create in students the motivation to learn in areas they are interested in and have a talent for contributing to (Goldberg, Parham, Coufal, Maeda, Scudder, Sechtem, 2010).

Best Practices in Learning -- What Makes a Good Student

Contrary to popular opinion, the best students actually challenge instructors to deliver more value in their courses over time than merely be subservient and not participate. To the contrary, the best students have an intense interest in the subjects being taught and continually push to learn more, and from very positive standpoint, this drives instructors to deliver greater value over time. An excellent student then can have a very positive effect on the direction and content of a class in that they contribute to the knowledge shared within it (Goldberg, Parham, Coufal, Maeda, Scudder, Sechtem, 2010).

Second, excellent students take initiative to bring entirely new perspectives to the knowledge being presented by instructors. Again, this is not to challenge the instructor but to assist in bringing complex concepts in the class into a framework that makes them easier to understand and grasp. An excellent student will actively seek out how to take the information and knowledge presented to create a unique approach to associating concepts being taught with other ones that can also aid in making them comprehensible and usable. The focus of an excellent student is not on dominating a class, but instead enriching it with the integration of concepts with those already known by other students, further contributing to the learning process.

Third, excellent students ask questions and seek to put entirely new concepts into context, and are willing to participate in defining theoretical concepts as well. In short, they are active learners (Goldberg, Parham, Coufal, Maeda, Scudder, Sechtem, 2010) and are… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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