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Good Teaching Is An Art As Well As A Science

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Autor:  jessica85  06 December 2009
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“Good teaching is a skillful blend of artistic and scientific elements. Teaching as an art involves beliefs, emotions, values and flexibility, while teaching as a science utilizes instructional practices that are proven by research to improve student achievement” (Snowman and Biehler, 2006). According to (Peters, R.) teaching can involve formal methods of instruction as well as informal ways of organizing things so that children will be led to discover things for themselves. According to (Manning, H. 2003, p. 11) “A teacher is the one to impart knowledge to students in different ways to assist learning.” Teaching factors are considered if something must be accomplished. It is practically stating that teaching is what is being taught, who is being taught, by whom it is being taught and to how many individuals on a daily basis. The act of teaching is accomplished by preparation of the designated teacher. The teacher therefore must be thoroughly educated.
The teaching profession can be said to be partly an art as well as a science. Art and science may appear to be vastly dissimilar; however, under close scrutiny we can see that they are actually quite the same. In the Thorndike-Barnhart dictionary, art is defined as “3. Branch of learning that depends more on special practice than on general principles.” (p. 76). The Dictionary of Psychology defines science as “1. An organized and systematic body of knowledge.”(p. 472).
The art of teaching is presentational as well as improvisational. The lesson should be planned and scripted, but the script must allow for the unexpected teachable moment. It is important to be receptive to feedback. An effective teacher develops the art of reading their students and measuring comprehension. The text The Art and Science of Teaching describes a teacher as “an artist whose medium of expression of the spontaneous, unrehearsed and creative encounter between teacher and student.”(Parkay and Stanford p. 115). The art of teaching allows the teacher to be altered by the dynamics of the classroom. The teacher will gain new perspectives and learn as well. The artistic element of teaching incorporates the teacher’s beliefs, emotions, values as well as their flexible nature.
It is very important to recognize and state that what a teacher believes will influence their teaching behaviors. Each individual teacher contains the power to make or break the syllabus. The teacher helps shape the curriculum according to their beliefs; they operate their classrooms in accordance with their own particular definitions of teaching and learning according to Ross, F (1992). The importance of a teacher’s belief is that their development and refinement is one of the goals of teachers. It is important that teachers transform their beliefs in achieving and accomplishing good academic results from students by gearing toward greater cultural competence, through given assignments, working alongside the students as team members or through cultural and linguistic diversity.
Good teachers with high beliefs seek to ignite in their students an enthusiasm for learning through good demonstration of example and leadership. If teachers are faced with current issues or changes their belief pattern maybe questioned by themselves, or their established practices they have rendered towards an individual. Teachers’ beliefs strongly influence students’ development. A statement made in society today is that teachers should examine their beliefs as their belief not only affects how people behave but what they perceive in their learning environment.
Values cannot be taught by a teacher or any other individual as they would teach other parts of the school curriculum but good teachers can help develop in their students value through their teaching behavior and role model. It is essential for teachers to nurture in their students positive values so as to culture valuable citizens for the future. According to (Richard, 2003) a good teacher of either a public or private school should always emphasize on instilling basic values to students such as fairness, equity, tolerance, courtesy, honesty and to be responsible citizens. Instilling or helping students develop values helps shape their lives as to the type of person they become. However the ascertaining of good values is not only dependent on good teaching or the teacher herself/himself, because the children too have a major role to play in this skit of life. Children have to be able to display their values to others and try to rub them off onto others as well.
Emotions are stored in memory along with recorded information entering the individual’s senses at the time. A teacher; being a human being like everyone else, also experiences emotions and can have good days as well as bad days. However, the important thing is that teachers must learn how to turn/temper down or push aside their emotions and concentrate on their task at hand; teaching. It is never good if a teacher enters the class with all their anger or maybe sadness on their mind because they might say or do something that can affect both themselves as well as the students. Emotions trigger the ability of the teacher to think rationally. Good teaching is being able to deal with the emotions from previous experiences. Teachers must remember that most, if not all, children place their trust in teachers, especially those who feel they cannot develop it at home, with their parents, and they depend on their teacher to be their counselors; their psychologists; their friend. It is important that they are able to deal caringly and effectively with the varied emotional needs of the students. It is important for the teacher to prepare a curriculum where emotional skills are developed. Positive skills and knowledge can also be gained. This is so as it prepares students to live in a changing world.
According to William, C. (2007) good teaching is so much more than directing instruction. Students are being academically challenged and are performing at a higher standard. Their self esteem is increasing and this is because of the teaching curriculum and the teacher. Flexibility is crucial for a teacher to become successful in the classroom. It is essential for teachers to utilize varying methods of teaching as this will encourage greater success of the children learning. The teacher may find that a certain class is full of visual learners whereas another is full of auditory learners. The art is adjusting the lesson to accommodate each respective group.
When Wasserman states that teaching is not a matter of clear-cut answers, she is urging teachers to be flexible. Flexibility allows the teacher the ability to improvise or the feeling of “doing the right thing” at a particular point in time. It is all well and good to have your lessons planned out but an expert teacher must be able to analyze a situation quickly and work to suit. It allows the willingness and resourcefulness to work around impediments. Teaching does not allows occur under ideal circumstances, and teachers must sometimes cope with inadequate facilities, insufficient materials, interruptions, and other difficulties; flexibility. The characteristics mentioned earlier, values, emotions, beliefs and flexibility, are intangible, they can be very difficult, if not impossible, to teach. Teachers must find these qualities within themselves.
Mastery Learning, as described in The Art and Science of Teaching, claims, “students learn best when they participate in a structured, systematic program of learning that enables them to progress in small, sequenced steps.” (Parkay and Stanford p. 63). This methodic approach is scientific. The science of teaching focuses on the experimental aspect of teaching, facts, and cause and effect. In good teaching it is important to have a variety of instructional practices displayed by the teacher to students. It is somewhat similar to flexibility. According to William, C. (2007) instructional practices refer to those curriculum related, professionally- informed decisions that teachers purposefully enact to enhance learning opportunities for students. Effective instructional practices of the teachers in the classroom should extend to different ranges of skills and methods. It is very important that a variety of practices be used. As earlier stated in the paper each child is different and so the teacher should teach in such a fashion as to reach out to each child through the use of various teaching strategies. Effective instructional practice is directly connected to the success of each student’s learning experience. The teacher should possess a good rapport with the students where they can all participate in being active members in the teacher-student learning experience. The teacher should be able to integrate the component of different instructional practices in the school curriculum, as this will help her to be able to set papers and exams, where the content is considered for the students’ ability and their area of their study, taking into consideration their age group.
A teacher who displays effective instruction acknowledges a comprehension understanding of the instructional cycle. A good teacher must know her students, for example their names and social conditions which shape their lives. The teacher has to make the instructional cycle by understanding and assessing the students learning needs, their strengths. This can be done through observation, practice and with spending teacher student time together in the classroom setting. It is very important that the teacher’s instructional methods are improved through sustained and continued development of studies. Teachers can improve their own instructional practices by attending programs, consulting with other teachers to help them to educate themselves to the current studies in their field of education. The manner in which a teacher delivers a lesson and performs their duties can have a lasting impact in the minds of the students, as the teacher is the one to make a change in the lives of the students.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards helps in the building of the foundation and framework for teachers. The Board is characterized by knowledge, skills, disposition and beliefs. The Board has devised five core propositions which teachers should be aware of. The first being that teachers should be committed to students and learning. As part of the Board’s decision to create a holistic teacher, they are dedicated to helping students’ access information. The Board believes that every student can learn however they may learn differently and their culture has something to do with this. Therefore teachers should be able to develop the best method, as well as the skill to deliver their information to students which leads us to the second proposition whereby teachers know the subject they teach and how to teach those subjects to students. It is not only a history of the subject area they should know, but should be able to integrate the curriculum in which quality education is given.
The third proposition is that teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning. According to (NBCT) teachers should be able to move fluently through a range of instructional techniques always keeping students motivated. Another proposition of the Board is that teachers should think systematically about their practice and learn from their experience. It is simply saying that teachers should not only stop at where they are qualified but should always look for ways to improve themselves and keep abreast of current issues in education. They should be able to try and create new things for students to help them to become successful in their education. They the teachers should look for ways to expand their knowledge and skills that they already have. The last proposition states that teachers are also Members of Learning Committees. They work alongside other teachers or with the curriculum so that they can plan properly. Each teacher is unique in their own way, so by the interaction of various subject teachers, each teacher can broaden their horizon and way of teaching. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has developed those standards to ensure that teaching is put into practice of the school’s vision and values. They believe that quality or good teaching can be integrated within the school’s curriculum.
Teaching is an art as well as a science; however, the two are closely related. It is the job of the teachers to balance the both of them. Good teachers balance both elements by the way or the art of effective teaching. Teaching as an element is much more than the scientific aspect, but it is the teacher’s duty to discuss and explore them on a daily basis. It is the teachers’ technique, skills, procedures involved that balances the art and science of teaching. The method by which the teacher breaks down material into smaller units for students to learn combines both the art and science of teaching. Good teachers must be concerned with the rounded performance and quality of performance of the students. The teacher should be able to communicate and reach out to students to be able to make a good difference for change in their lives. The teacher’s perception, cooperation and appreciation play a major role in the way they balance both elements.
Good teachers can balance both by the instructional decision making, when making informed decisions. They can balance both the elements of art and science in teaching if there is sound knowledge base of teaching, instructional practices and the ability to create change in the learning environment. Teachers can help students to become more successful learners. As it is said that the quality of education given to a child depends not only on what teachers teach, but also on what is being taught to them. Their developmental level, their interests and experiences, but these elements can be guided with the help of good teaching.
Teaching is a full time job. Teachers who excel and impact the lives of their students put a great deal of time and energy into their teaching. It is quite easy to identify a truly outstanding teacher who seems to get students to perform at a high level. One of the elements that is apparent in all great teachers is their level of caring and thinking. They spend a great deal of time thinking about the lessons they have presented in order to find new and better ways to get students to respond. This process is often referred to as reflection. “How could I have done better so students would have learned more?”
Many things make teaching difficult, for example, the weather, having to teach outside, having a limited amount of equipment, not knowing how certain young people will respond to your discipline techniques, etc. There are no simple answers to be found. What works one time may not work the next. Some teachers like to put in an eight o’clock to three o’clock day, and there had better not be anyone in their way when the “clock strikes three.” These teachers will teach the same way and the same thing year after year without changing.
Quality teachers find time to reflect on all factors related to their lessons. Most teachers admit that their first lesson of the week is not as polished and effective as one taught at the end of the week. A lesson taught during the first period of the day does not include all the finer points learned through trial and error. Instruction improves when teachers reflect on why some things worked and others didn’t. Teachers should leave time at the end of the day to reflect and note ways the lesson can be improved. Keeping a portfolio related to inspiration and insight uncovered during the reflective process can be quite useful to teachers. Reflection steers teachers away from old teaching tradition to employing the techniques of integration. It is good for them to utilize it also as it not only has an impact on the students lives but also on the teachers. If the teachers teach with enthusiasm and proper balance, the art and science of teaching can make a difference in shaping the society. It would enhance academic success of students and would yield virtual accomplishments for the teacher. It will create a change in each student’s mind; life’s and helps them to become educated citizens in the academic achievement ladder of life. The teacher’s methods of teaching can utilize and bring about a desirable liking of education from students, if effective teaching is used. It would also aid teachers to broaden and deepen their instructional approaches.
The power to change education for better or worse is in the hands of teachers. Teachers should be able to teach with wisdom and compassion to their students so that the students will want to learn. Good teaching incorporates the teacher as a holistic individual and helps aid the teacher to act as a facilitator, towards them. Good teachers will provide a basis for good teaching as they have their own individual style of performing. The teacher in a classroom setting is not only a teacher alone but assumes the duties of many other professions towards the students. She also leads the students in a variety of ideas, which in turn motivates them to think of all aspects of life. Instruction would also be given to aid in the learners’ personality and tightly focused on individual weaknesses and strengths. Good teaching is about substance and treating students as consumers of knowledge. It is about teachers doing their best to keep on top of their field, by reading sources inside and outside of their area of expertise. Good teaching is about bridging the gaps between theory and practice. It is about immersing oneself in the field, consulting with effective practitioners and communities. Good teaching is connected with effective instruction where its results from a skillful blend of the artistic and scientific elements of teaching.

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Saskatchewan, E. (1985). Chapter 1: The Foundations For Refining Instructional Practice. Retreived May 28th, 2008, from Website:

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