Good Teaching: The Top Ten Requirements
By Peter Connor: A Summary
After being awarded the 1998 Seymous Schulich Award for Teaching Excellence, Richard W. Leblanc, professor of corporate governance at York University's School of Administrative Studies (Ontario, Canada), published a short, 10-point article on good teaching practices. It originally appeared in The Teaching Professor, Vol. 12, #6, 1998.
As a keyword search on the Internet quickly proves, many educators have referenced this article. Much abbreviated, the top ten requirements of a good teacher, according to Dr. Leblanc, are:
- Be passionate. Care about the craft of teaching. Convey your passion to those around you—especially your students.
- Keep up in your field. Read scholarly journals, of course, but get out of the ivory tower as well. Embrace real-world practitioners. Assist them. Consult with them. Learn from them. Bring it all back to the classroom.
- Each student learns differently. Listen to them, question them, and help them develop verbal communication skills. Push them to excel but respect them for the individual human beings they are.
- Loosen up. Be flexible. Be ready to roll with the unexpected. When the teaching moment presents something other than what your syllabus demands, embrace it—turn it into a learning moment.
- Look alive. Don't be a drone. Have some style. Work the room. Create an active learning environment. An entertaining teacher is an effective one.
- Learn to laugh at yourself, especially in front of your students. You don't have to take a serious pill every morning. You're a human being. Relax, be of good humor.
- Be devoted. Student minds and talents need nurturing. Learning takes time. Teaching takes time. Give it all you've got. And know that you're not going to get thanked for every hour of preparation it takes.
- Be a doer. Participate in the overarching educational vision of your learning institution. Tune into its leadership, resources, and personnel and use them to your students' best advantage.
- Be about mentoring and be about teamwork. Help your colleagues. Let them help you.
- Being a teacher, you get to watch learning happen. You get to watch people's lives change. Knowing that you helped: can you imagine anything more rewarding?
This, as stated above, is a much abbreviated summary of Richard Leblanc's Good Teaching: The Top Ten Requirements.