Monday, 4 August 2014

What makes a great teacher?

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An opinion poll by TES this week voted Albus Dumbledore of Hogwarts the top fictional teacher.  We liked this story and it got us thinking, what is it that makes a great teacher?

We held our own poll here at NEC, and the results were very interesting. Joint top were Miss Honey from Matilda and Indiana Jones. It was quite clear from the reasons given that having a passion for your subject and being nurturing, encouraging and seeing the best in everyone are really important qualities in a teacher.

A word that came up over and over again was inspirational, Miss Honey in particular seems to spark this in many people. Stephanie, NEC’s Childcare course coordinator said, ‘She's the sort of teacher I would have loved to have been when I was a little girl dreaming of my future career, and I am sure she has inspired many little girls to go into teaching.’

Dewey Finn from School of Rock was also mentioned. One of our tutors, Amanda, said this of Mr Finn: ‘He is a good teacher as he can bring the best out in everyone, make it fun, give them something to believe in and aim for and inspires them to practice and work as a band.’

The teaching staff of St Trinians made an appearance. Both Camilla Fritton and Alistair Simms got votes because of their no-nonsense approach. ‘He was great fun, a wonderful disciplinarian, and everyone loved him,’ NEC tutor Stephanie said of Mr Simms.

Ros Morpeth, Chief Executive of the National Extension College, said, ‘Many of us have good memories of teachers, both real and fictional, who have made a transformational impact on our lives. When we reflect on our own experiences and talk to friends and family about teachers; qualities like enthusiasm, inspiring a love of their subject, care and respect for students comes up often and the other significant quote is ‘my teacher believed in me and wanted me to succeed’.

‘At NEC we often come across students who have to build up their courage to return to study later in life because of a bad experience the first time round. They are indeed taking a big step, but we select our tutors for their passion for their subjects and their commitment to helping our students succeed. These qualities are even more important for the second chance learner.

‘One student said to me, ‘I couldn’t have got through the course without a never ending supply of fresh coffee and a wife with the patience of a saint. But the crucial ingredient was the help of my tutor who gave me a nudge when I was slacking and a pat on the back when I was working hard. With her support, I am even looking forward to taking my exams and if I pass I will be over the moon!’

We’re proud of our tutors and want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one, and share with you some of the wonderful things our students have said about them:

‘When I first signed up with NEC, I was concerned about doing coursework through an online organisation where students don’t have an ongoing discussion with their teachers face-to-face. But I needn’t have worried. My tutors were both terrific. They were always prompt to reply to my emails and consistently gave in-depth responses to my assignments and coursework. What’s more, they really boosted my confidence just before exams, offering kind words and support.’ – Miranda, Former NEC student and future art crime prevention expert.
‘My tutor was very helpful and understanding, and I felt that she did her utmost to cater for my needs – such as sending assignments and coursework via email when I was in Afghanistan – as well as granting me a two-week extension when I was struggling to juggle the fast tempo of operations and deadlines for my course.’ – Mark, Former NEC student and member of the armed forces.

‘He is a brilliant tutor who pays close attention to the individual needs of his student and passes on his genuine interest in and enthusiasm for his subject.’ – Elliott, Former NEC student now studying Law at Cambridge University.

To find out more about our tutors and our work, or to browse our wide range of flexible distance learning courses, visit our website to learn about NEC. You can keep up to date with all the latest NEC news and events by subscribing to our email newsletter or following our blog. You can also find us on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

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