What is more important for a Teacher – Knowledge or Approach?
What makes a good teacher?
At the end of the long period of our schooling and college, most of us reminisce only one or two teachers, who have impacted us in some way or the other. Have you ever thought, why are we immortalise them in our minds? They might have even taught us the most boring or subjects that we were least interested in.
Were they remarkably intelligent teachers? Did they possess exceptional qualifications? Or had any of them given away a few extra marks to you to make them special? Surely, it was for none of these reasons that these teachers left an indelible impression on you.
Wouldn’t you agree it was with their unique approach towards teaching and imparting their knowledge that made the difference. That single aspect made all the impact.
Even I have been influenced by that. In fact, it was only due to the effort of one of my teachers that I started liking a particular subject and performed well, too. The way she put across concepts was amazing and even today, I try to include her style in my teaching practices. Some teachers have the right teaching skills that complement their subject knowledge.
A teacher with an exemplary university degree could fail miserably whilst delivering her subject knowledge. One of the reasons for this failure could be that she teaches with an assumption that the entire class has the same level of subject knowledge and struggles to find new approaches to reach students across varying levels of understanding. A teacher who has the knack of judging the students’ level of learning in her classroom, will try different avenues for putting across a concept. She might not have been the gold medallist from her university but with her right teaching methodology, she will end up a far better teacher than most.
So, now what is more important – Knowledge or Approach?
First and foremost, as a teacher try to understand and connect with each & every student in your classroom. Try to find out, what kind of learners they are. Secondly, try to evaluate yourself, whether you have right knowledge to teach a lesson. For example, you can be a Grade 2 Teacher, teaching Science. In that case, your knowledge should be at least to the level of Grade 5. If not, try to enrich your knowledge. There are various means of acquiring knowledge. Maybe you can think of doing a crash course or attending workshop or just read up on the required content. Thirdly, find the right approach to deliver the content. You might not be successful in the first attempt but eventually you will find the correct one. You need to keep trying until you find the success with all your students.
Always remember- A teacher, wishing to be successful in her field, should strike the right balance between knowledge and approach. That will provide a complete and fruitful learning for her students. She can always find new approaches in her teaching style and make the students’ learning experience an enjoyable and enriching one. Such Teachers are “Innovative Teachers”!
– Sowmia Raguraman, Principal, Glentree Academy.