ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Elementary, Middle School & High School

Effective Teaching Methods

Updated on January 24, 2015
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.


There are teachers and then there are …. teachers? That’s what they call them. To be honest, I’ve sit in many classes and there are some who need that title taken away. Now do not get me wrong. They could be very nice people, but teaching was NOT their calling. When you sit in a class and you are fighting to keep your eyes open, there might be a problem with the class. I got very frustrated over the years listening to people teaching me that could not communicate anything clearly. I rarely retained anything from my time spent with them. In fact, I dreaded those classes. That made the really good teachers stand out.

Characteristics of Effective Teaching

What made those teachers great? They knew who their students were. A good teacher feels out their students and can adapt their teaching to reach those sitting in their class. The link Characteristics of Effective Teachers shares some great notes on what makes up a great teacher. Some noted characteristics of an effective teacher are:

· Clearly explains things

· Organized and well-prepared

· Flexible

· Variety of strategies

· Adapts to individual learning styles

· Enthusiastic of subject

· Approachable

· Interested in students

· Relates to students

· Enjoys teaching

· Sense of humor

· Encourages class discussion

From my personal experience a great teacher is also one that can admit that they don’t know an answer and is willing to look for it. When I’ve taught a class, I’ve noticed that I get more respect from the students (adults) when I can admit that I’m stumped and will defer to someone in the class if they knew the answer. In my opinion a teacher learns with the students.

A teacher also needs to be able to read facial expressions on students. Though each person is unique and have their own way of communicating, there are very common traits that you can use to help identify potential confusion. I’ve gotten better at watching facial expressions so that I can tell when someone doesn’t quite understand what I’m saying or disagrees with what I’m saying. That really helps when making sure that the students are all on the same page and no one leaves the classroom confused or misinterpreting what was discussed. Some teachers just assume that since everything was covered in the time that they had that everything is fine. I’ve learned a long time ago that it works better for the instructor if they are willing to be flexible on their lesson plans and adaptive to each student.

Many classes, whether children or adult, suffer from teachers who will not realize that every student is different and unique and adapt their teaching to it. How many students have been shoved aside, flunked, or labeled incorrectly because they did not fit into the mold that traditional educational system have created and forced students in? Many have had opportunities to grow moved right past them because they learned things a little bit different. Albert Einstein was one example of someone who had just a few brain cells working in his favor, but most teachers would have said that they were sound asleep. He just was a very unique person who needed unique teaching. Most teachers are not flexible in their teaching styles. That is not to slam the teaching profession. Most humans are not flexible in our day to day lives and that spills over into our chosen professions. We need to look beyond our own ways and see how the others around us function and inter-relate. That is when someone good becomes someone great whether it is teaching, leading a country, or rescuing someone in a burning building.

I enjoy teaching and that makes a difference. I’ve had teachers that you could tell were just there to collect a paycheck. If you learned anything or not, it did not matter to them. They are not fooling anyone. Teaching should be a passion and that passion should flow forth to those being taught.

Teachers in Your Past

How would you say most of the teachers in your life have influenced you?

See results

Thank you

Teaching is a very honorable calling but it also carries with it a heavy burden. Teachers are passing on their knowledge and enthusiasm and if it is done incorrectly they are the ones responsible. Teachers make lasting impressions. Ask anyone about their most influential teacher and it will more than likely be someone who looked at them as someone and went out of their way to make sure that that student left their instruction with more than a grade. They left with tools that they were to use decades later.

I thank several teachers that even today when I’m trying to do something or help my own children with their work, thoughts of them rise to the forefront of my brain and I can remember vividly their instructions. Thank you, Mrs. Palmer, for teaching me that I can do anything if I really try even drawing. Thank you, Mrs. Whitestone, for showing me that grammar wasn’t so boring. Thank you, Mr. Ivy, for preparing me for those college courses in which I was expected to understand the subject not just regurgitate it. Thank you, Alfreda, for showing me that I didn’t know it all and that even as an adult I can still learn. Thank you, Pam, for bringing the written Word to life before my eyes. I began to read it all with a different soul. You all changed my life. Thank you to all the teachers out there that step out of the molds and show us all that there is still passion in this world that is true, pure, and powerful.

Gems I've Found

Here are some more sites I've found that you might find interesting. I'll be updating this as I find new gems to share.

Teachers can do More Than Teach


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Jacob 2 years ago

      Going off of the previous conemmt discussion, how do you feel about a very shy, introverted student attempting to get the same sort of information from a teacher as an open and outgoing one? I myself am not a very good speaker, and am very introverted to say the least. In fact, I have some major social phobias which have led me to skipping classes altogether for fear of being called on. For some people this makes sense if you are unprepared, but I typically am up on all my work to the best of my abilities. In response to your video, do you agree with how school systems function with normal test procedures? I find studying specifically for a test is rather self-defeating to actually learning something. If everything not on the test is thrown aside, and a person is really only studying for a good grade, then nothing is really be learned (and more importantly, retained).

    • opismedia profile image

      opismedia 7 years ago

      I must say that only 1 teacher really had an influence on me. And all the discussions i had with him really helped more or less in the after school/college years. As for the topic of the hub i must agree totally with RGraf, there are many teachers who don't deserve this title based on the simple fact that the only way to pass their class was with a bottle of expensive alcoholic drink, no matter how good you might or might not be.

      Anyway, my math teacher has all the respect i can offer as for the others... well i just see them as some random people along my life. Great hub, ty.

    • Ryan Clinton profile image

      Ryan Clinton 7 years ago from

      Thanks for your perspective. I think you are right for the most part. We have all had 'Not so great' teachers. As an experienced teacher that has watched many come and go and knows the challenges that teachers face let me add one thing. Being a great teacher is not so easy as one might think. It takes some time. It is best to support young teachers and help them plant their feet. Many may become great teachers. One of the current problems in teaching is the high turn-over rate. Support young teachers. Thanks for a great hub you hubberroo you.

    • profile image

      eauk 8 years ago

      Thre are teachers, and 'teachers' -indeed, good teachers and great teachers and truly great teachers and educators ~their teaching skills are acquired with interest, whether with or without the inherent universally popular personal qualities -one of the marks of a great teacher is indeed that his pupils and students even years later keep in touch with them and a good teacher is always remembered with fondness -from a (translated) poem of the teacher, the late, O S Ari: "Never a thinker/teacher expires... Who in others thinking inspires."

    • profile image

      Eddie Perkins 8 years ago


      This is very inspiring for me.  I was not a good student in school, in part because very few teachers saw potential in me or cared. But I do remember the ones who went out of the way to encourage me or (if necessary) confront me.  I doubt that I will forget them.

      Someone said that there are no great teachers, only great students.  If there is any truth in that it must be because the teacher inspires a student to be great.

      I do believe that a great teacher must be a great student – always learning.Thank you for this great hub. ~ eddie

      P.S. Repetition is a good teacher and I see you repeated two paragraphs, separated by a poll.  (mmm maybe that is why some of my teachers didn't like me:)

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Good for you. I know you can do it.

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 8 years ago from London

      It sounds as if you're very sensitive to your students' needs. That's the kind of teacher that I aspire to be one day!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Dr Jim, thank you. Teaching is honorable and should always be approached so.

      Moon Daisy, I'm glad it could help. I teach (not in an "official" capacity) a lot and am always conscious of my students facial expressions and body language. That says so much and sometimes sends me in a different course than I had planned for that lesson. To just cover a lesson is nothing if the students walk out not learning a thing. But to stop and focus on them to absorp it can make a world of difference. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 8 years ago from London

      This is a great hub. You're right, good teachers do so much else other than just covering their subject! I remember some very inspiring teachers, and some very bad ones, who were not at all interested in us as students. This info is especially useful for me, as I'm considering doing some teaching, thanks!

    • DrJim profile image

      DrJim 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Good Hub. My entire career has been teaching graduate and undergraduate school. I always make a point that on the last day of class to tell my students "I got a better deal this semester than you guys did. I learned more from you than you did from me and I didn't have to pay for it." It was true and they appreciated it. I still get Christmas cards from many of them. You are right. Teaching is an honorable profession but we need to police our own. Anyone who teaches for the money or the power or the praise is welcome to leave my profession. In fact, I would write them a reference. Keep up the good work.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 9 years ago from Wisconsin

      I believe that a truly gifted teacher is one that can reach to some degree not just the gifted ones but the ones who need the attention even more.

      Thank you for stopping by.

    • Barbie-Perkins profile image

      Barbie-Perkins 9 years ago from Cincinnati, OH


      Most of the teachers I had from grade one through grade 8 were from the old school. They honored the brilliant kids and left the rest of us struggeling. I do remember 3 gradeschool teachers who were loving, caring and nurtering.

      On the other hand, my children had many wonderful grade school teachers in which made a positive influence upon their lives.

      Thanks for sharing.  ~ Barbie Perkins

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Very true. The teachers that I can name as ones that influenced me had those good qualities. The others I try not to remember.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I agree! The things you listed above are the characteristics that make up a good teacher. I've met boring teachers in my life and some pretty good ones. Some have made a positive impact too. Enthusiasm, preparedness, flexibiity, sensitivity and love goes a long way! :)