Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Characteristics of a good teacher


Further information

Extracts from recent literature on effective teaching:

These characteristics of effective teachers may help you define your objectives and establish the focus of a peer observation:

  • Begins class promptly and in a well-organised way.
  • Treats students with respect and caring.
  • Provides the significance/importance of information to be learned.
  • Sets learning into a context and shows where the material fits in relation to other parts of the curriculum.
  • Provides clear explanations.
  • Holds attention and respect of students and practices effective classroom management.
  • Uses active, hands-on student learning.
  • Varies instructional techniques.
  • Provides clear and specific expectations for assignments.
  • Uses assessment strategies that fit with the learning outcomes.
  • Provides frequent and immediate feedback to students on their performance. Praises student answers and uses probing questions to clarify or elaborate on answers.
  • Provides concrete, real life and practical examples whenever possible.
  • Draws inferences from examples/models and uses analogies.
  • Creates a class environment that is comfortable for students and allows students to speak freely.
  • Teaches at an appropriate pace, stopping to check student understanding and engagement.
  • Communicates at the level of all students in class.
  • Has a sense of humour.
  • Uses nonverbal behaviour like gestures, walking around and eye contact to reinforce comments.
  • Presents as a "real" person.
  • Focuses on the class objective and does not let the class get side-tracked.
  • Uses feedback from students (and others) to assess and improve teaching.
  • Reflects on teaching to improve it.