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The Learning Journey

by fatweb


As a teacher you are constantly on a tremendous journey of learning. On a daily basis you are walking the path of positive growth – both personally and as a travel companion to your students and colleagues.

So what separates a good teacher from a really great teacher? Sandy Galland asked leading international educator, Joseph Driessen of Education Answers for his thoughts.

His popular seminar ‘Be the best teacher you can be’ offers up inspiring information from evidence studies, research and other international educators. Join us on this short journey through the key points of Joseph’s one day seminar.

Great teachers are masters of their craft.

While a great teacher will be generically very skilled, they will specialise and become truly great in one area – be it teaching new entrants, year 13 physics or working with children with learning disabilities. Their knowledge in the chosen area will become very in-depth and they will know it inside out and will know how to teach it incredibly well.

The great teacher is a highly skilled technician and has every step of the learning journey methodically mapped – every step is set out in advance in great detail. They then present this information with a rich variety of teaching techniques and present a myriad of learning opportunities for students. They know what is essential, and what isn’t. A great teacher gets immense and deep satisfaction from teaching.

Great teachers love learningand love teaching

Moving every student to the next step is top of the priority list for a great teacher. They are totally focused on positive outcomes and won’t take no for an answer. They create a conveyor belt of achievement, specific to each student’s level of ability. They will teach, show, explain, praise, reward, ask and explain again. They also test and evaluate, reflect on the information and teach again.

 A great teacher loves students

Tremendous people skills are a common hallmark of a great teacher. They know the needs, styles and quirks of each of their students and can anticipate problems in advance and deflect many of them, rater than mopping up after a ‘nuclear explosion’.

Great teachers direct and allow student autonomy and they preserve and repair relationships with students. A great teacher will not take personally the negativity directed at them. All teachers have to deal with childhood and family issues and traumas, hormonal surges, emerging mental illness, personality disorders or just the breakdown of a student’s coping mechanism. They will not hold grudges and will work proactively to repair and enhance all student/teacher relationships.

Great teachers are great experimenters

Constantly great teachers are trying something new. When they find something that works, they will file it away in their toolbox, but will constantly look for ways to better enhance that teaching tool.

They observe students and the all lessons. They ask for feedback from the students and their peers. A great teacher is innovative, a deep thinker, a lateral thinker and can place things into context. They can also integrate the excellent new into the excellent old.

A great teacher will never stop experimenting with new strategies, tools, skill sets and units. They are self critical and welcome 360 degree feedback.

Great teachers are great professionals

A great teacher acknowledges they are part of a greater learning community. They have high expectations of themselves, their students, colleagues and the learning community as a whole.

They are accountable and if something is not going right they will look inwards to see what they can contribute to the solution. They understand they are part of a giving and receiving environment and are very positive and supportive of all around them.

Great teachers see the best in all students, parents and situations. They work hard to discover and articulate the good in people, meanwhile they absorb and minimise the negative.

In short, a great teacher is a great role model and guide who understands that inspired teaching produces inspired learning. Have a happy and productive learning journey in 2010.

For more information on Joseph Driessen or any of his professional development seminars and courses, visit

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