As I prepared for my instructional sessions this semester, I went back to my notes and materials from ILU’s PD Day 2013, Reflecting in the Trenches, led by Char Booth. The day was a whirlwind agenda, packaged up perfectly. Char covered reflective practice, educational theory, teaching technologies, and instructional design. Each topic could have been an entire day in its own right, but Char’s pedagogy, modeled in her actions, brought the content together beautifully and provided many practical take-aways.
The first activity of the day was a reflection on what makes effective instructors. Char asked us to think back to the best and worst teachers we’ve had and what made them great or not… So, what did we say made the best teachers? Across the board, we said it was those who taught with passion, engagement, enthusiasm.
Perhaps not surprisingly, our least favorite teachers were those we saw as boring and unprepared.
If you missed PD Day (or if you just want to enjoy it again) you can view/review Char’s presentation slides here: https://www.slideshare.net/secret/mD9wAq8k3On7cV
Char has also kindly shared her Learning Theories Summary Handout (PFD) as well as the Workbook (PDF) that provided the framework and activities for the day. These materials are also part of Char’s book, Reflective teaching, effective learning: Instructional literacy for library educators (http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7411733).
My favorite take-away from the day was Char’s 3QR, or Three Question Reflection (see Workbook link above). The 3QR is a simple and quick way to self-assess. After each of my sessions, I now makes notes on (1) what went well, (2) what bombed, and (3) what I need to improve/follow up on. I hope my 3QR notes, especially over time, will inform my practice result in better sessions for the students I teach.
So, in answer to the question of what makes a great teacher, I think it is also one who reflects honestly on his/her practice and endeavors to always, always make it better.
Thanks again to the ILU PD Day 2013 organizers Eveline Houtman, Richard Carter, Susan Barker, and Kathleen Scheaffer for a great day.
If you aren’t already following Char, do it now!