The 4 Properties of Powerful Teaching

Article in the Chronicle of Higher Education outlines four broad characteristics of powerful teachers: Personality,Presence, Preparation and Passion.

Using their article as a launching point, I have added a few tips and tricks below.

Powerful teachers have personalities that are, in general, good natured and approachable.  Students are not intimidated by you and all that you know; instead students feel welcome to ask questions and seek your support.

Presence” refers to the teacher’s engagement in the course.  Students can easily discern whether the content and teaching is of interest to an instructor.  If you are burned out on teaching a particular course, talk to your chair to see if you can get some renewal by designing and/or teaching a different course.

Preparation, as you might guess is the longest entry in this article.  Because knowledge is generating so quickly now,it is critical that teacher’s revisit their courses to ensure modernization of content. But modernization is not the only thing to analyze about your course design.  think about the course as a whole and identify the points in the course that are consistently difficult for students and consider ways you can further scaffold or support their understanding.  Often the incorporation of analogies and metaphors work, or perhpas a visual demonstration will assist students in making the connections you intend.  Most importantly however, is to ensure your course activities and assessments are directly aligned to what students are supposed to learn in your course (the course objectives).  When the alignment is off, all kinds of issues arise: students may not learn what you intend, tests may be contested, and most assuredly student success is jeopardized. Powerful teachers are well prepared and enter the classroom clear about what the students are to learn during the upcoming class.

Passion, the magic behind the personae, can be simply defined as the love a teacher has for the subject matter and for the act of teaching.  For those of us who love teaching, we are familiar with the creativity and joy that can be a part of the teaching experience.  We are also well aware of the sorrows and disappointments as well, but much like childbirth, we forget the pain and focus on the rewards.  If you aren’t feeling more joy in your teaching than overt frustration, then consider coming to the Center for Teaching and Learning to re-ignite your teaching and discover professional renewal.

We have a dine and discuss next Wednesday.  Please join us and preregister at:

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