What Makes a Top Teacher?

3-Star learning experiences

Paul A. Kirschner & Mirjam Neelen

What Makes a Top Teacher? This is a question with both a simple and a complex answer (and probably a whole spectrum in between). First, the simple answer. A top teacher is someone whose efforts inside and outside the classroom have a positive effect on a student’s learning progress, meaning an increase of knowledge and skills. The more progress, the better the teacher.

We can already hear some people mocking or expressing their anger and disgust. “Oh, dear!”, they’ll say (if they try to be polite). They’ll go on to grumble that this is such an old-fashioned thing to say and that a school in the 21st century shouldn’t teach kids ‘things’ but should rather help them to become curious, adaptive and engaged individuals with strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills, give them grit, make them flexible team workers, and so forth. They might…

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