The Criteria for Effective Teaching (2000) is based on a large-scale research study carried out by Deniz Kurtoğlu Eken with students, instructors and teacher trainers at Bilkent University School of English Language (BUSEL) through the use of individual and group interviews, classroom observations, analysis of feedback documents on observed lessons, questionnaires, video-based observations and video-based group discussions. The Criteria for Effective Teaching has also been used on the Bilgi University, English Language Programs Trainer Training Certificate Program; on the Sabancı University, School of Languages (SL) Trainer Training Program; and as a reference and guide for developmental lesson observations in the SL since 2004.
The Criteria for Effective Teaching is NOT a checklist. It is aimed to act as a guide and a reference document for both analytical and all-encompassing reflection, discussion and feedback on teaching both at an individual level (i.e. through self-observation and reflection) and at a shared level (i.e. peer observation, formal observation, three-way observation, team teaching, learner observation).
Although there is a certain amount of overlap among the five areas presented, considering the complex nature of teaching and learning, this is both natural and desirable. It is also important to note that an affective thread runs through the Criteria for Effective Teaching with affective-level qualities and skills embedded in all five areas. The qualities and skills in The Criteria for Effective Teaching are NOT presented in any order of priority. They have, however, been bulleted with the use of letters for ease of reference and practicality.
The Criteria for Effective Teaching was revised several times with small updates between the years 2001 and 2005. This version has been created following a detailed analysis of data from SL developmental lesson observations over the last three academic years i.e. 2014 to 2017 inclusive. The latest revisions involve additions of sub-desriptors (e.g. ‘opportunistic teaching’, ‘variety of work modes’, ‘exploiting content/developing content knowledge’); combined and/or regrouped aspects; rewording for consistency in language use (e.g. with the use of gerunds, freeing of the few adjectives of ‘good’ and ‘effective’).
Key determinants in the assessment of teaching effectiveness
Our research studies and lesson observation analyses have shown that the following aspects from the SL Criteria for Effective Teaching play a key role in determining the effectiveness of a lesson:
- Teacher knowledge and awareness
- Lesson planning and preparation
- Rapport and communication with learners
- Learner engagement and involvement in the lesson
- Provision of scaffolding and challenge in learning
- Exploitation of materials and tasks
- Principled variety of techniques and work modes
- Monitoring learning
- Adaptability and flexibility to support learning
- Lesson unity and a clear sense of direction in the lesson
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