Before one can be a great teacher, a master teacher, or one of the best teachers, there are basic fundamentals the teacher needs to have. When I started teaching, I somewhat simplistically looked to only one place to get a sense of how I was doing: my student evaluations. Sure, I also paid attention to if students seemed excited in class, happy to come to class, and how many of them actually did come to class. But clearly, that is not all.
In 2011 I was honored to be President of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP). One of the many cool things you get to do as President is tackle the problems you see in need of solutions. My issue? What exactly are many facets of model teachers? I had a gut sense there were many components, but what were they?
For two years a working group (crack team of passionate teachers) chaired by the superbly talented Aaron Richmond (Metropolitan State University of Denver) dived into this question. Their report is a detailed review of the research literature of what makes good teachers (see Teaching Competencies).
Aaron, Guy Boysen (McKendree University), and I have spent the last few years doing some extensive research on the competencies. We published in peer reviewed journals (Richmond et al. 2014; Richmond, Boysen, & Gurung, 2015) but the journal format only allows you to say so much. Unpacking the importance of each of these six characteristics and truly summarizing the research that underlie them needed a larger canvas.
Looking for a handy roadmap to being a Model Teacher? Consider perusing “An Evidence-Based Guide to College and University Teaching (Richmond, Boysen, & Gurung, 2016). Here you will find a useful overview of the Model Teaching Characteristics (MTC) and ways to use it to sharpen your own skills. Of course we think it’s great, but we are to see it got some pretty good reviews too:
“The book identifies excellent teachers in terms of their impact on students, shows how to use various methods to see one’s impact, focuses on how students go about successful learning, highlights how to construct assessment to provide feedback to teachers about their impact, and demonstrates how to become an excellent teacher. The rare beauty of this book is that it is based on evidence, not anecdotes.” –John Hattie, the University of Melbourne, Australia
“What an incredibly interesting and thorough account of what it means to be a model teacher. The book masterfully integrates the literature on university teaching into a highly readable and useful guide. This book is one that all graduate students and faculty who aspire to improve their teaching should read again―and again!” – William Buskist, Auburn University, USA
“We all want to be better teachers but often don’t know how. The present book provides a solid base of evidence-based practices from experts in learning and teaching to help postsecondary teachers reach that goal.” – Marilla D. Svinicki, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
“This book is the perfect resource for professors who care about their craft. It is scholastically sound and comprehensive in scope. The engaging and humorous style, coupled with its no-nonsense assessment focus, make it a must-read even for the most seasoned professor.”– Jane Halonen, University of West Florida, USA
“The authors are renowned scholars in the field. … Both novice and experienced teachers will benefit from this book. … I … would definitely add this book to my collection and recommend it to colleagues. … I find it especially appealing the book rests on the work of a task force of one of the leading society‘s in the field of teaching of psychology. … It will add substantially to the literature.” – Birgit Spinath, Heidelberg University, Germany