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Effective classroom teaching is not simply a job taken on by someone with a college degree — it is an art that cannot fully be taught by attending classes and receiving a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education.

Of course, college students can and should be instructed in the theories, strategies, and other aspects related to teaching. However, if a prospective teacher truly desires to be an effective instructor in the classroom, he or she must possess the personality, skills, and talent necessary to be a “teaching artist”.

An “artist”, as defined by Google, is a person who produces paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby. But, as we all know, not everyone can be a true artist like Michelangelo or the local artist who sells their paintings at a gallery. In addition, many true artists have never had formal instruction in their craft.

Everyone can draw a picture or paint a landscape, but not everyone is an artist in the true sense of the word. You can purchase the canvas, the brushes, an easel, and take some art appreciation classes, and you may call yourself an artist, but the best artists are more than their tools.

Similarly, the best teachers are more than the knowledge they learned in college, the teacher’s editions of textbooks, lectures, and whiteboards. Just like anyone can be an “artist”, anyone can be a teacher, but the best teachers are much more than the tools they use as well.

With this in mind, not every prospective teacher needs to attend four or six years of college to practice the “art of teaching”. Many successful homeschooling parents are perfect examples. Of course, prospective teachers in the classroom must be able to grasp and understand the skills and subject matter they will pass on to their students. Plus, there is a definite benefit to recognizing different learning styles, variables that can affect student progress and development, and other theories and concepts related to education.

Most important, however, is that every prospective — and current — teacher must become an artist in their classroom. What does this mean? What is or is not the “art of teaching”? Can you recognize it? Are you a “teaching artist”?

IS:IS NOT:
·       Preventative discipline strategies and techniques are used for classroom management, leading to fewer disruptions, incidents, issues, and problems·       Students disrupt the class and disrespect others; the consequences of the student’s behavior are intended to prevent future issues related to discipline problems
·       Students diligently work because they want to learn but also want to please the teacher; the reward for learning is intrinsic; they see learning as useful·       Students complete the work because they receive a grade and it is required; the reward will be a grade based on the quality of their completed work
·       Students view the teacher as a quasi-parent, friend, collaborator; the teacher enjoys what they are doing each and every day; students feel the instructor’s passion for teaching·       Students see the teacher as the boss; a person in the classroom who has to be there because it is required by a higher authority; he or she is just doing a job to collect a paycheck each week
·       Quality and quantity instruction·       Quantity instruction with little regard to quality
·       Creative techniques and strategies are used; teacher adapts to the students’ needs; change methods if needed; are flexible·       “We always do it this way” attitude; change is not an option; inflexible and stringent with techniques and strategies; do not adapt to students’ needs
·       Teachers think outside the box, learn from the past, and see the future·       Teachers think in the confines of the past and do not see the future
·       Organized and efficient because it allows additional time for more quality instruction·       Organized and efficient because it allows for additional personal and free time; less hands-on time with students

 

Teaching is often a challenge even for the best prepared, most experienced teachers. Sometimes, the profession may not be as respected as it should be, and there are some low-quality instructors in nearly every school in the country, public or private, but more teachers must look upon the profession as an art and begin practicing the Art of Teaching.

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