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Student Perceptions of What Makes Good Teaching.

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The Australian Government report Teachers for the 21st Century: Making the Difference (DEST, 2000) highlighted that teachers were central to student learning, and that there was a need for professional development for teachers in order for them to adapt to changing student needs. These ideas are not new and have been have been supported by other reports (DEST, 2003) and other researchers (Darling-Hammond, 2000) over many years and much has been written on the qualities of a good teacher (Center for Teaching Quality 2006, DECS 2005). This paper reports on a study that examined student's opinions about what they believed helped their learning in the classroom environment and how often they believed that they had experienced this in their classes. The information collected was used with teachers to inform professional development activities and directions. The study was done as a two stage process. Initially focus groups of students were asked open ended questions around the idea of what helped them learn in a classroom environment, including what advice would they give to their teachers and what their teachers did that helped them to learn in class. The responses from these groups were then used to develop a list of teaching aspects, where possible student language was used to describe these aspects. The online questionnaire asked the students how important they considered each aspect in a 5 point Likert scale, to select their top five most important aspects and to indicate how often each aspect was evident in their classes in general. Of the twenty one aspects that the students had initially identified two were clearly considered by the majority of students as the most important; teacher explanations and teachers engaging students. Comparisons of the importance and the student's responses to how often they observed it in the classroom will also be discussed. A student leadership group in one school had the opportunity to examine the data and present the results to the staff, their interpretations and explanations of these will also be included. (Contains 3 tables and 3 figures.)

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Author:White, Bruce; Barnes, Alan; Lawson, Mike; Johnson, Wendy
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Abstract
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 1, 2009
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