Seven Essentials of Effective Teaching

(Published in ‘The Journal of English Language Teaching – India [ELT@I] March-April 2010) Conscientious teachers often ask themselves, “Do my students learn what I teach, and how well?” “Am I a successful teacher?” “Are my students happy with my teaching?” I do not know if I am a good example of the class ‘conscientious teacher’, but, motivated by such fundamental and essential questions, I conducted a little informal survey. I asked about a thousand students from diverse academic, social and economic backgrounds to determine who, according to them, was a conscientious teacher. For a start, I proposed that seven traits—qualities or patterns of behaviour or ‘habits’—may be used as framework for responses to my query. So each student surveyed was asked to enumerate seven traits he considered essential to conscientious teaching. The result of the survey was most interesting as well as surprising. Here is a summary of its findings.   The first thing students expect from a teacher is a smile. A smile establishes an instant rapport between students and their teacher, which is a prerequisite for a successful class. Students cannot be bothered about what has happened to a teacher before he enters a class. A teacher must …