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Some people define an effective teacher as someone who achieves the class/course objectives set forth by the administration, and some see an effective teacher as someone can turn on the switch within that motivates children to learn and with intensity. What are some of the characteristics of an effective teacher? Name at least two and justify your view, not only with your opinion, but also with outside research on the topic.


Different people have different perspectives on how they define an effective teacher. The Kentucky Department of Education partnered with teams to establish a list of defined and detailed characteristics of what makes an effective teacher. The teams examined research and organized the results that identified those characteristics in five different categories: learning climate, classroom assessment and reflection, instructional rigor and student engagement, instructional relevance, and knowledge of content (CHETL, 2020). The two characteristics that I will be talking about are learning climate and knowledge of content.

 Effective learning is encouraged in a learning climate facilitated by the instructor in which strong, consistent goals and constructive connections are supported (CHETL 2020). One way that an effective learning climate can be supported is through achievement recognition. This form of positive reinforcement can encourage students to reach their goals. For example, in the child development center where I work, we use stickers to reward students for helping pick up the toys in the classroom. The goal of our classroom is to help the children become more independent and learn to pick up after themselves, and the stickers are a reward for when they meet that goal.

An effective instructor knows the content, values, definitions and abilities of a curriculum and incorporates them (CHETL 2020). In my facility, we train heavily on age-appropriate activities and goals. The goals for a toddler classroom are very different from an infant classroom. Understanding appropriate expectations is so important, especially for lesson planning and when carrying out activities in the classroom. The content of a curriculum is also important to understand as for a teacher to communicate the subject they must understand it as well.



There are many attributing characteristics that can make teachers effective. “Results revealed some lessons about three teacher characteristics: clarity, warmth, and knowledge. “Results revealed some lessons about three teacher characteristics: clarity, warmth, and knowledge.” (Woolfolk, 2019) These three characteristics are just scratching the surface. Effective teachers are also organized, knowledgeable, open-minded, cooperative and supportive. I think having a balance of all of these characteristics would be the ideal situation for an effective teacher, but I know that’s not always practical. If I had to pick only 2, I would suggest open-minded and warmth. When a teacher is open-minded, no matter what comes up or puts a kink in plans, they can still work around it and make things work. Even if it isn’t the ideal or planned way. “You are constantly being evaluated and criticized by your boss, teachers, parents and even children. Instead of feeling bitter when somebody has something to say about your teaching, be open-minded when receiving constructive criticism and form a plan of action.” (Lam, 2014) Having warmth goes hand in hand with being open-minded. If you are cold, bitter and always in a bad mood, the students in the class will easily pick up on that and could potentially exhibit the same kind of behavior or mood. Don’t bring personal problems into the classroom, check the bad vibes at the door so it doesn’t effect the relationship, trust and focus of the classroom.

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