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Great Teacher: What Makes a Really Great Teacher?
May 082011

Great Teacher: What Makes a Really Great Teacher?

Great Teacher: Written by Joe DiDonato on May 5, 2011, in Elearning Magazine

Happy Teachers’ Appreciation Week !!!  – May 2 – 6, 2011  

Over the years this topic has always made for a lively, and sometimes passionate, discussion.  Back in the early classroom days at Oracle, we decided to profile our top instructors in the classroom to learn their engagement secrets.  Those top teachers were the ones that were getting “very good’s” and “excellent’s” from everyone in our classes – “the smiley sheet.”  We discovered 14 different criteria (i.e., traits, skills, and knowledge), ranging from technical teaching knowledge, to resourcefulness in the classroom, humor, technical product knowledge and so on.  We set up our hiring interviews around these criteria, and if a candidate received good marks on 80% of the criteria, we hired that individual.  And out of the starting gate, these new hires were teaching what we called “The Perfect Class.”

Over the years, as we evolved out of the classroom, we discovered that the best instructors in the classroom were only “so-so” in a webinar format.  It turned out that they received a lot of their ‘spark’ from the audience.  They gauged how to pace the class from the “nods” – the shaking heads and facial expressions in the classroom.  Without that feedback they were lost, and we had to re-discover best practices.

So as we explore this age-old question in our new world of e-learning and social learning, I offer the above video of an elementary school teacher as a paradigm breaker. Let’s hear your thoughts.


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great teacher, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC