Building on the work of Frank C. Pearce, who identified the seven characteristics of an effective adult educator (see post here), Colorado Mountain College (CMC) has provided a list of seven characteristics of a “good educator.” In the earlier work, Pearce stated:
The teacher’s foremost concern must be the adult student, and his effectiveness in this concern must be judged on his ability to help the student to develop and maintain self-confidence. The ideal teacher could be described as people oriented, more interested in people than things, more interested in individuality than conformity, and more interested in finding solutions than in following rules. He would be considered a mature, integrated personality that had chosen his own role and relationship to society and coveted for everyone else the same privilege.
The updated list by CMC of “A Good Educator” is as follows:
- Listens – Listening is as important as effective speaking. It is an important aspect of effective teaching because much learning takes place when the student is expressing an idea.
- Helps insecure learners – Learners who lack confidence in themselves are common in adult learning. A secure environment is important and positive reinforcement keeps the desire to learn alive.
- Uses Humor – Humor is good therapy. It puts people at ease, allows them to relax and lets tension disappear. Humor helps promote learning.
- Maintains a positive climate – By carefully bringing in each member of the group, you can create a good climate. By welcoming diversity and encouraging the expression of cultural differences, you can enhance the learning environment. By positive reinforcement and by welcoming disagreement, you can promote learning and the stimulus to learn.
- Offers a genuine friendship – This can be effective if you know your students and allow them to know you.
- Changes approaches – Using a variety of teaching methods will increase interest and help to eliminate boredom. This takes careful planning and knowledge of available resources and media.
- Gives regular feedback – This can be in the form of positive reinforcement or evaluations such as tests or oral communication. Continued feedback helps the students understand their progress and can be a tool to help you understand how well the needs of the students are being met.
Colorado Mountain College. Faculty Manual 2012-2014.
The CMC Faculty Handbook is available here.