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The ‘essence’ of effective teaching

While there is no single best way to teach, there are still general principles of effective teaching, according to Geoff Masters.

ACER Chief Executive, Professor Geoff Masters AO, suggests that there are essential teaching practices that are effective no matter who or what is being taught.

Writing in Teacher Magazine, Professor Masters notes that, because what works for some learners under some conditions does not work for all learners under all conditions, it is argued that teachers require a broad repertoire of teaching methods that they can call on as appropriate.

‘An interesting question,’ Professor Masters writes, ‘is whether there are general principles of effective teaching, regardless of who is being taught, what they are being taught or the teaching context. I suspect that there are.’

Professor Masters describes four practices that he considers part of the generic ‘essence’ of effective teaching:

  • establishing where learners are in their progress;
  • tailoring teaching to the needs of individual learners;
  • providing immediate feedback to guide action; and
  • assisting learners to see and appreciate the progress they are making.

‘Generations of teachers – from master sculptors to piano teachers to sports coaches to parents of very young children – have used these principles naturally in their everyday teaching,’ Professor Masters writes.

‘But if such principles exist, how well are they reflected in common education policies and practices?’ ■

Read the full article:
Essential teaching practices – do they exist?’, written by Geoff Masters and published in Teacher Magazine, is available at < >

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