Effective Teaching: Definitions

Dr. J. R. Ouyang

Definition #1:

An effective teacher is a good person who meets the community ideal for a good citizen, good parent, and good employee. He or she is expected to be honest, hardworking, generous, friendly, and considerate, and to demonstrate these qualities in their classrooms by being authoritative, organized, disciplined, insightful, and dedicated. However, this definition lacks clear objective standards of performance.

Definition #2:

An effective teacher is one who has an achievement-motivated personality with a strong commitment and rich teaching experiences. He or she is expected to has a motivation to teach, empathy towards children, and good records at college GPA and student teaching.

However, this definition does not reflect a teacher's day-to-day work in the classroom, does not include the most important and obvious measure of all for determining good teaching: the performance of the students who are being taught.

Definition #3:

An effective teacher is one who concerns students' learning outcomes. He or she is expected to demonstrate five key behaviors and five helping behaviors in teaching. Five key behaviors are: 1) lesson clarity, 2) instructional variety, 3) task orientation, 4) engagement in the learning process, and 5) student success. Five helping behaviors are: 1) using student ideas and contributions, 2) structuring, 3) questioning, 4) probing, and 5) teacher affect.

However, there can be no single definition of the effective teacher because there is no simple definition. The effective teaching varies with the age of the student population, background, subject matter etc. The multiple definitions will be more accurate to describe what is the effective teaching.


Borich G. (1992). Effective teaching methods (2nd. Ed.). New York: Merrill.

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