Steve Munby, Chief Executive of CFBT Education Trust, in his keynote speech at last weeks Inspiring Leadership conference, drew attention to some of CfBT Education Trusts’ most recent research into inspirational teaching.
CFBT, working with researchers from Oxford and Worcester universities, found that, across different contexts, inspiring teachers consistently exhibit certain key behaviours. Regardless of the age of the children taught or the subject context, observation showed that almost all of them:
Demonstrated genuine warmth and empathy towards all students
Created a sense of security about learning -encouraging experimentation and the ability to make mistakes without damaging self-esteem
Used highly interactive whole class instruction with extremely skilful use of questioning;
Encouraged students to communicate frequently with one another on task-orientated issues
Developed meta-cognitive skills, with students given substantial opportunities for the reflection on their own work.
Steve said where this research becomes really interesting was when researchers asked the students to tell them about the experience of being taught by an inspirational teacher. Young people were given a whole series of statements about these teachers and asked to say whether they agreed with each statement. In all classes – irrespective of age and context – they came up with remarkably similar descriptions of their teachers:
My teacher believes that all students can do well
My teacher believes that learning is important
My teacher seems to like teaching
My teacher expects me to do well
My teacher is interested in what the students think
Steve said “So that’s what the best teachers do. And looking at this list, this is predominantly about mind-set and attitude. I think we have a right to expect this from all teachers”
His speech ,more broadly, focused on the real need, if we want to transform our education system, for learning centred leaders.
The University of Oxford and the University of Worcester research, led by Prof Pam Sammons and Dr Alison Kington, sponsored by CFBT Education Trust ,explores Inspirational and Effective Teachers across primary and secondary schooling-.