The 21st century quality teacher  

By Kofi Ashiboe-Mensah, PhD 

Accra, June 18, GNA-There has been growing emphasis on teaching quality in recent years across various cultures and perspectives where state laws (e.g. Ghana) are being established to direct specific content knowledge for entry into teaching degrees and diplomas with disciplined courses taken within programmes.  

In this sense, the teacher with strong disciplined knowledge and sound disposition towards teaching is the most important variable affecting student performance.  

Among multiple factors within schools, teacher quality is so important to the lives of students such that teachers do matter most in terms of school improvement and student learning (Stronge, 2010).  


In his broad study of factors relating to student achievement, Hattie (2009) describes quality teachers as those who challenge their pupils with problems in different contexts and ask them to apply what they have learnt to new and unfamiliar contexts. 

Shulman (1986) has been instrumental in crafting two clear differences in what teachers need to know in teaching; these are what (content-knowledge) to teach and how (pedagogical knowledge) to teach it.  

He indicated that teachers do not only need the subject-matter knowledge but also need knowledge in pedagogy and students’ needs, interests and backgrounds (Bransford et al., 2000).   

Emphasizing on teaching and teacher education, there is a shared understanding that domain-specific and generic pedagogical knowledge are important determinants of instructional quality that affect students’ learning and motivational development (König, et al., 2021).  

Nevertheless, few empirical studies have directly assessed different mechanisms of teachers’ knowledge and used them to measure instructional quality and student outcomes (Hill, et al., 2007).  

The significant part of problems confronting learners’ low academic performance is the quality of teachers’ instructional strategy and professional commitment.  

Accordingly, Siribanpitak, (2018) asserts that the content of teacher education programme might be lacking in producing teachers capable of ensuring quality education. 

If teachers are to prepare group of students for challenging tasks, such as outlining problems, finding information, integrating ideas, synthesizing materials, creating diverse solutions, learning on their own and working cooperatively, then teachers require substantial knowledge and specialized skills different from what they may already have (Windschitl, 2009).  

In this regard, quality teachers must add value to themselves by attending some professional training programmes to become efficient, effective, innovative, versatile and competitive in their practice of teaching and learning (Asare & Nti, 2004).  

Professional development 

Thus, pre-service and in-service teachers must participate in professional development training workshops apart from receiving higher academic qualifications.  

When these professional strategies are conveniently pursued, the tendencies of teachers adopting good pedagogical skills from their mentors, tutors, supervisors and facilitators are guaranteed. 

The quality of a teacher is estimated on how much the students understand what the teacher teaches (Remesh, 2013).  

However, research has it that negative dispositions to teaching stems from the teachers’ personal experiences when they were in school with a growth cycle of adverse perceptions that is strengthened throughout their school-life (Cross, & Hong, 2012).  

In addition, teachers’ attitudes to, and beliefs and confidence in teaching vary considerably (O’Neill, & Stephenson, 2012), and are often influenced by how they were taught in school.  

Numerous studies have also revealed that teachers’ attitudes and philosophies influence their thinking and behaviour, most importantly with their teaching practices and instructional methods (Philipp, 2007).  The art of teaching does not only involve a simple transfer of knowledge from one person to another, but it is a complex process that facilitates the sharing of knowledge (Remesh, 2013).  

Teaching can therefore, be described as an activity of sharing knowledge, skills, experiences, attitudes and values between facilitators and their learners and ultimately among the learners.  

It is expected that the student learns, when teacher teaches as teaching and learning play complementary roles.  

As Farrant (1980) puts it, teaching and learning go together as they are like opposite sides to the same coin.  

So, Stronge, (2018) states that effective teaching happens when there is attainment of instructional objectives by the learners, for them to function successfully in the schools and communities through the acquisition of skills to transforming self and the social environment.  

Effective teaching is regarded as the provision of stimulus to the psychological and intellectual growth of the learner when the teacher attends to students’ needs, experiences and feelings to understand particular concepts.  

Therefore, teacher effectiveness is the degree to which a teacher achieves the desired effects on their students indicating how much and how well the students achieve this success and for the students to demonstrate commitment and flexibility in the face of difficulty in the performance of an activity.  

Seah (2007) stated that effective teaching is the most important objective in teacher education. Even though effective teachers may tend towards student-discovery or teacher-directed pedagogical instruction, they share certain common traits about how they deliver academic instructions.  

In general, the best practice in academic instruction is a teaching strategy that generates interest and produces the desired results with deep understanding of the subject matter for the students.  

Hence, effective teachers do certain things in common, whether they tend towards the student-discovery or the teacher-directed ways.  

So, teachers need to encourage learners to explore, express, exchange and finally expand their views from within.  


Accordingly, Ingvarson et al., (2004) theorize that there are main factors that influence effectiveness of student-learning outcomes are  (a) the school enabling conditions which aims to positively influence quality of care education programmes and services, as focused on creating systemic conditions that enable equitable access to high-quality interactions between learners and teachers to foster positive learning environments. 

 In this connection, early care education exists at the intersection of health and welfare of the learners which is governed by a set of values and political constraints, resulting in policy fragmentation and lack of coherence, which affects access to, and the quality of the programmes and services, to support young learners.  

Organized under a series of major initiatives, school enabling conditions focus on promoting the development of coherent education systems as means of achieving equity, quality, and sustainability to include the support for policy advocacy, policy analysis, and applied policy and systems research. 

(b) Teacher enabling perceptions which has to do with teachers’ ideas, experiences and professional developments, with their mastery or competency over the subject. Thus, the teacher needs to know his subject matter, shares and communicates same by interacting well with the learners. Where teachers’ knowledge is more explicit, better connected and more integrated, they tend to teach the subject more dynamically, represent it in more varied ways and encourage and respond fully to students’ comments and questions.  

Where the teachers have limited knowledge, they tend to depend on the text for content, deemphasize interactive discourse in favour of seatwork and generally portray the subject as a collection of static and factual knowledge.  

(c)  The capacity of the teachers’ knowledge, beliefs and understanding in selecting the best instructional method that will enhance learning. Here, teachers’ experiences to link new learning to the past, correlate learning in one discipline to another and relate new knowledge to real life happenings or situations come into play.  

(d)  the teachers’ capacity to provide drill work, revise and practice lessons with students, provide proper feedback for reinforcement, select suitable learning and teaching methods with the singular aim of ensuring learners’ understanding of concepts. This achievement is to make the learners to demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired during the teaching and process. 

(e) the teachers’ practices in relation to what happens in the classroom as compared to what is supposed to be the accepted norm; thus, teachers’ espoused theory and theory-in-use must be consistent with the set of beliefs, ideas and assumptions about the nature of learning and teaching which is in consonant with effective and acceptable instructional strategies. Therefore, every effective teacher needs to have a philosophy of teaching which gives him a sense of direction in the performance of his or her duty.  

Effective Teachers 

According to Ko, & Sammons, (2013) effective teachers present a range of teaching strategies during instructional processes to help develop students’ positive attitudes by being sensitive to their feelings, interests, needs, contributions, and involvement to create their own learning as the teachers make the subject exciting and interesting.  

Therefore, determining the best strategies for a lesson is an important aspect of teachers’ creative role in the classroom as every teacher is a resource person who determines which strategies will be most effective to the learners.  

This assertion is indicates that there are many attributes of an effective teacher, which involve the learners, as effective teaching reflects effective learning (Tamakloe, Amedahe & Atta, 2005).   

To this end, effective teaching and learning is a function of interactions between teachers and their students, between and among students, and between the class and its environment.  

Effective teaching is illustrated by teachers’ deep knowledge of the subject matter, best instructional classroom practices and teachers’ understanding of what optimizes and stimulates students’ learning (Ismaila et al., 2014).  

These statements are consistent with the ideas of LeTendre, & Wiseman, (2015), who discovered that teacher effectiveness is the dominant factor that influences student academic and intellectual growth, and that the quality of teachers is extraordinarily important to the lives of students as the teachers are at the centre of the teaching and learning process.  

The writer is Quality Assurance Officer at Ho Technical University.