On Mr. Teachbad and Bad Teaching

teachbadI have to admit…. I’m a huge closet Mr. Teachbad fan. In my years in a traditional building, his humor, sarcasm, and wit often made the day bearable. I’m not secretive about it because I’m ashamed, but because I’d be all too tempted to tag people in his posts. We all know those people, right? The BAD teachers. When someone says “bad teacher”, each of us has a visceral reaction- we can see/hear/smell/feel what it was like to be in the presence of that person who most embodied the term in our personal  or professional lives.

One challenge presented during this course is to define what we feel is good teaching (and what makes a good teacher) as well as the opposite. What is bad teaching? What makes a bad teacher? I found these questions interesting, because they are highly subjective and politically incorrect. The examples in the course were things like “is mean, unkind, does not offer feedback”. Rather stereotypical responses. I really had a difficult time quantifying “bad teaching”, which surprised me. However, it was easier to jot down my thoughts on good teaching.

Good teaching:

  • allows for student discovery.
  • promotes inquiry.
  • is interesting and relevant to the student.
  • uses multiple modes (video, imagery, audio, text).
  • challenges the student to think.
  • links new knowledge with existing.
  • defines goals and expectations.
  • assesses based on full understanding, not just recall.

Bad teaching:

  • requires rote memorization.
  • doesn’t check for understanding.
  • moves on rather than stopping to reteach.
  • teaches at the student.
  • believes knowledge is held by the teacher and transferred to the student.
  • negates student experiences and thoughts.
  • puts students to sleep. (see video below)

There was an article in The Wall Street Journal this weekend entitled “Tough Teachers Get Results” that really begs the question “What makes an effective teacher?”. This adds another dimension to this question of good/bad. The article is well worth the time to read.

What would you add to the “good” or “bad list? Can you share a positive or negative reaction to teaching? Can you have a bad yet effective teacher? 

[1.1 Coursera “Foundations of Teaching for Learning 2: Being a Teacher”]

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