Characteristics of effective teaching

The characteristics of effective teaching can be simply defined as factors which help students to learn. Effective teaching can mean different things in different environments. However, there are some factors that are common to all effective teaching situations. Those factors can be roughly divided into three areas: things that foster a good atmosphere for learning, effective techniques or approaches and personal qualities of effective teachers.

1.    Atmosphere

o    Research on learning indicates that the learning environment has a significant effect on the success of learners. Certainly an efficient, comfortable, well-lit space is important, but the learning atmosphere created by the instructor seems to have an equal or greater impact. According to studies in the USA and Canada, teachers who create a serious, but friendly and open study environment are seen as most effective by both students and administrators. Generally, an effective learning atmosphere is positive, free of stereotyping, and has an orderly yet varied structure.


o    Approaches common to all types of effective teaching include student involvement and interaction, clearly stating learning objectives at the start of the lesson, using questions effectively, and using a variety of instructional techniques, thereby varying the routine. Independent reading combined with presentations and/or demonstrations is an example of using a variety of techniques to handle one set of learning objectives. Another often-used, yet effective, combination is the lecture followed by laboratory work or small-group case studies.

3.Personal Qualities

o    There are numerous personal qualities universally recognized as characteristic of effective teachers. Mastery of the subject being taught and enthusiasm for sharing that knowledge tops the list. Approachability and accessibility are keys to effective teaching, as is respect for the students. While it is clear that teaching style is very individual and certainly an extension of personality, some sort of sense of humor seems to be an essential ingredient of teaching effectively. Willingness to seize
o    the teachable moment--taking advantage of a student's question or observation, or some incident from the world at large, and spinning it into the lesson at hand--is arguably an effective teacher's greatest tool.

4.Instructional Formats

o    Not all techniques are effective in all settings, nor with all groups. Since classes are collections of individuals, effective teachers are those who can assess the needs of a given group of students and adjust their instructional format if necessary. Formats that provide opportunities for interaction on three levels are the most effective: between the instructor and the class as a group, between the instructor and students as individuals, and among students.


   Effective teaching provides feedback for both the students and the teachers. Feedback     in effective teaching is provided in a variety of ways: through discussion, in writing and     non-verbally, never solely through testing. Most importantly, the feedback should serve  to motivate both students and teachers, promoting an active learning situation.