A good teacher...ingredients list?

A good teacher can turn the hardest concepts into the seemingly effortless learning

Everyone has sat in lectures eyes drooping, getting comfy, wondering if the sound filling the room is the lecturer or air conditioning. On the other hand being sat in lectures where you instantly connect with the speaker, following concepts, thinking along the story and walking out wondering what all the fuss is about.

Teaching - current state of affairs?

Good, the bad and the ugly

Lectures - the bad

Most teaching these days is done by PowerPoint - death by bullet points
Essentially there are:

  • loads of slides - so much info you get lost
  • Lots of text - cant listen and read
  • Font tiny - straining eyes or just not bothering
  • (Often) No enthusiasm!

Tutorials - the ugly

Here is a mixed bag in my experience! Either it's a dry discussion, or there are a couple of people who have prepared and they do all the work. The facilitator may or may not know what's going on in the session and might know the answers away from the sheet but rarely expands on the topic.

The two scenarios above are extremes, and the majority aren't that bad. Unfortunately too many are! So what makes a good teacher?

The Good

Good teachers seem to have that connection, they walk in the room and or they start speaking and you are are drawn to what they say. Exactly what causes this is probably a few things such as confidence, charisma, but probably for me its a real enthusiasm for what they do.
If you have a teacher of any capacity pass on information in way that is infectious in its intensity and engagement its almost certain to make an imprint of some kind. Contrast that to the "teacher" who is monotone, forced into doing it as part of their job or by their seniors and its instantly a turn off.

What's you experience of a good teacher?

I can think of several personally - some lecturers, some just people I have met. All had a burning passion for their work, and whether they knew it or not, let it shine through in their delivery. In this day and age of powerpoint slides and screens, its easy to forget what really makes teaching - connecting with your audience however small. Interesting that with technology reaching further than ever before - we are also somehow so much more distant. A conundrum indeed.