Sunday, 4 October 2015

It's the 3Ps Which Make Good Teachers

I've been mystified over the years why our educational bureaucrats don't get it (to this add most Principals and Head Teachers). Get what makes a good teacher.

Well I can now let you in on the secret (it must be a secret because everyone seems to spend their time looking all over the place for something else!).

My Maths tutor at a Melbourne Teachers' College told my group that a good teacher emerged from a complete understanding of the 3Ps ... Preparation, Presentation and Personality but of the three, Personality was the most important. By the way, the tutor's name was Lloyd Senior and he should be revered in the manuals of good teaching.

Let's focus on Personality and what is meant. Throughout your life you meet and interact with people who attract, connect and engage you. It starts in early school days when you were drawn to those classmates who had something special. I bet you can recall teachers you had who were also special throughout all of your schooling years. They had Personality.

Of course this all begs the question as to whether Personality can be learned!! But Lloyd said it could be learned and I believed him.

We all had poor learning experiences when we had a teacher who may have had the best degree yet he/she couldn't manage a chook raffle let alone a lively class. The same goes for those of us with career experiences where natural leaders emerged with Personality. Those who didn't have it didn't make it to the higher levels. We all referred to them as backroom boys etc because although they may have had great thinking skills and were achievers in their more restricted worlds, they lacked Personality.

Here's what I would do:

  • Focus on developing Personality with all teacher-graduates (it's too late for those currently teaching). How this is done is for others to decide but hopefully they will get started.
  • In all supervised teaching of graduates stress with them the key elements of Personality in connecting with students
  • When a graduate starts teaching, assign a mentor who actually does something ... one who has most of the Personality traits (difficult I know because many don't) with which to communicate the key elements
  • Take Professional Development seriously and provide in-school and outside workshops far more frequently. Many schools pay only lip service to it.
That's enough for you to absorb in this Blog. How about joining the movement to provide learning of Personality with all our new teachers? Then our students might stand a chance.

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