The #1 …… article about teacher development

** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.

                          The Making Of An Expert


I’ve been involved in teacher training and professional development for a long time. A lot of the time, I’m trying to keep up the good fight against so many preconceived notions about what makes a better teacher. Right now, we are having an energetic conversation HERE about the issue of whether certification/degrees make a better teacher. Despite my own career, I’m convinced that certification actually hurts teachers and detrains them – especially language teachers. There is nothing but a lot of perpetuated misinformation about what makes good teaching.

I am not going to outline them all here but rather want to point those interested to a stellar article that I’ve often returned to and digested for thought – What Makes An Expert. Though not directly related to teaching, it focuses on what makes someone rise to the top of their profession/interest. So many valuable lessons for teachers all revolving around the notion that “teachers are made, not born” (another big myth we have out there). Please read at your leisure and comments welcomed.

To end, here is my own list of the myths that exist about – “A Better Teacher”. I’ll refrain from commenting on them and leave this for another post.

1. Teachers are of a certain character type/personality.
2. Professional development always is beneficial and teachers never “get worse”.
3. There is a relationship between increased subject knowledge and increased teaching effectiveness.
4. Teacher pay has no bearing on how effective they will teach.
5. Teaching is an academic subject and there is a set body of knowledge all teachers should know.
6. What a teacher thinks about their student’s abilities does not influence their teaching or educational outcomes.
7. A degree represents a better teacher than one without, all other things equal.

If you liked this post, you’ll be interested in this one: The #1 teaching factor affecting student success.


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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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5 Responses

  1. I’m not a teacher but a psychologist. I am certainly not a fan of this frenzy to improve teaching by putting teachers under the gun. The result only serves to diminish morale. I have one comment regarding teacher education, as an outsider, and that has to do with homework. If there is one area where I think the education of teachers is lacking and where I believe there should be change, it’s in how teachers are taught to use homework as a tool. To the best of my knowledge, there are no courses called “Homework” in schools of education. I believe teachers do not get introduced to the concept until they begin their student teaching. This is the one area where I feel that, for something that is given such large weight, the profession should put more effort and attention into its research, theory and practice. Kenneth Goldberg, Ph.D.

  2. Tom says:

    The link there to the “What makes an expert” article is broken, David. Could you repair it, I’m very interested.

  3. ddeubel says:


    Sorry about that. The top link was working but the one I directed others too, got broken. My bad. Here it is – the only copy I’ve found outside the walled prison we sometimes call the internet! I’ve saved a copy for reference, others should too. They want 49.95 for this article on many other sites that profit from us academics and our thought! Enjoy – lots of valuable metaphors that apply to teachers as “experts” and the concept of the master teacher.

  4. Tom says:

    Thanks David 🙂 !

  5. richardavie says:

    I agree with point 4 about the pay, it’s a shame that in many EFL jobs there is no pay incentive. I worked in one company where the pay had stayed exactly the same for 4 years despite me being ‘promoted’ to do various teaching and development projects.

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