Our Wednesday blog posts are a smattering of ideas from a wider variety of sources than we cover on the other days of the week. I’ve been told often that people want to see a pastor or presenter “being genuine” or “authentic.” What does this mean? Which “real me” did you want to see? Dr. Allitt explores this idea in the context of the persona of the teacher.
The Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator. Performed by Patrick N. Allitt. U.S.A.: The Teaching Company, 2010. DVD. Lecture 4, “The Teacher’s Persona”
Allitt speaks about how the teacher’s persona can establish respect and leadership. It needs to fit both the teacher and the learning environment. Each teacher will be a bit different. The teacher does have to act differently in the classroom than in most other interactions. This includes administering correction and discipline.
Discipline which is consistent leads to respect and diligence. The teacher also wants to be slightly removed from the bulk of the class, though not radically different. Having a consistent teacher persona helps students know how to act. Allitt calls this distance and persona “benign inequality.”
Students benefit from knowing that they are not the equal of the teacher in knowledge or experience. An appropriate teacher-student relationship is not that of friends, but requires impartial and dispassionate evaluation.
The best teachers can create some dramatic tension in the classroom, helping students experience their subject firsthand. This ability engages students more actively in the learning project. Allitt urges creation of an enthusiastic atmosphere.
Allit also reminds his audience that good performance should be praised. Sometimes we will also say something positive which encourages students to try harder, even if they have not done so in the past.
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