Having the advantages of being in 2 schools and also in the vantage position of able to observe lessons of different teachers in action, I think I can start to see some common traits of highly effective teachers.
By "Effective", I mean able to value-add in terms of marks. It is scientific and easily tracked, but I am not discounting the intangibles. So here go.
1) systemic approach with the end in mind.
All teachers have an approach to writing, reading, or whatever skills u are talking about. It's never about a lesson, it's about the year. There are various milestones to achieve, the work done by pupils are progressive and structured.
2) Practicality trumps innovations.
It might be counter-intuitive here. U don't see these teachers pursuing "flavors of the month", going for rara showmanship. One of them told me very bluntly, I use no ICT for my graduating class, very minimal unless mandated. She teaches a spectrum of pupils, both high progress and low progress, and are able to produce excellent results for any group.
This is not to say these group of teachers are not receptive to feedbacks. To begin with, they would have given much thoughts to a lesson or a concept. When u give valid feedbacks, they are excited and adapted very quickly.
If it is a new concept, they will try, and if does not produce "results" they will axe it and say it is useless.
They dun spend time discussing, they do it and refine it.
3) They "waste" a lot of time talking "male chicken" to their children
Again, counterintuitive. Ladies also do "make chicken" talking. They talk about their past, relate their experiences, in short, they work on the emotional aspect of their children, and not just their cognitive aspect.
4) They customize their work for their children.
A file check on these teachers, or lesson observations all show the same thing. We might have already jointly develop resources, discuss what is needed to teach a certain skill properly. They will go back, create additional PowerPoint, different practices, extra resources so that it suits their style and belief when executing those lessons. Same same but different.
5) Drill to the last detail and pursue the last enemy
This is the most ruthless trait of all. In writing, it goes down to the spelling of common words, daily spelling of it, frequent writing of it, staying back to teach slowly, finding whatever time possible for additional lessons.
In oral, it goes to memorizing of conversation structure,1 to 1 coaching, reading of samples, fluency, confidence level and etc
I just finished my mid-year review for myself and my department. The results was rather bad, my pupils' included.
My P ask me to consult the "effective" teacher and ask how. I knew the answers but nonetheless have a talk with her.
Well, I did gain some additional insights but her suggestions are more aligned to my beliefs than my P. My P ask if I want to deploy teachers to co-teach? Or get them to emulate "successful teachers" tactics. I said it will not work that way.
The effective teacher said the same thing as me, it's about the teacher pursuing the last pupils down to the last details. He and she must be willing to spent extra time if necessary (do whatever I takes) to have enough frequency in whatever is done so that pupils can achieve competency/ mastery in what they need to do.
It is never about a lesson plan. Never about the tool of the lesson. They are important, but the teacher behind them
Make all the differences.
Both the horse and the cart are important. Just don't put the cart in front of the horse. There is too much focus on methods and tools and too little focus on the teachers.
Same same but different.