What makes a good teacher?

Getting started


  • What is my philosophy of teaching?
  • Why is it important to articulate my teaching philosophy?
  • What should I include in a teaching philosophy statement?

A Good Teacher

A satisfactory performance in the delivery of teaching to facilitate learning might be evidenced through the competent use of a range of teaching and learning methodologies to engage students in learning. Merit might be evidenced through innovation in the use of teaching methodologies and through applying appropriate pedagogical frameworks to improve one's teaching. Whilst competency denotes adequacy, innovating and improving are the marks of a good teacher.

A good teacher is inspiring and motivating and enthusiastic and passionate about their subject. A good teacher conveys their love of their subject to their students. A good teacher cares about teaching and is committed to helping each and every student to realise his or her full potential. A good teacher seeks to improve and enhance their teaching practice.

A good teacher:

  • is an expert in a particular subject area;
  • informs teaching with discipline research;
  • is passionate about their subject;
  • wants to convey what they know to their students;
  • is creative and looks for different ways to engage students in the learning process; and
  • has a vision of how they want their students to "turn out" when the teaching is over.

Roger Booth's view on what makes a good teacher: Click here to view the video.

Helen Roberts' view on what makes a good teacher: Click here to view the video.

Wayne Hazel talks about good teaching in the clinical setting:Click here to view the video.

These videos require Flash Player.


You might want to complete the  teaching perspective inventory to get an insight into how you approach teaching. Completing this inventory will help you to understand how you go about teaching.

The teaching perspective inventory is a 45-item instrument that yields dominant and back-up perspectives on teaching. If you can identify your perspective(s) on teaching then you can reflect on your approach, consider the merits and drawbacks of  your approach and look at other teaching approaches that might enhance your students' learning. Completing this activity will help you if you decide to write a teaching philosophy (see below). It takes 10-15 minutes to complete the inventory.

A Teaching Philosophy

The statement below is an expression of a teaching philosophy. A teaching philosophy is a personal view of what it means to be a good teacher. Since a teaching philosophy is personal, each teacher's philosophy of teaching will be expressed in a unique fashion. Writing a teaching philosophy can  help you to think about how and why you teach. Reflecting on your teaching philosophy can help you in your personal and professional development and lead to improvement/enhancement in teaching practice.

My view is that good teaching is a lot like good coaching. It is my role as an educator to encourage students and to coach them for success. I believe that being friendly, approachable, and encouraging is key to success as a teacher. I encourage students to approach and interact with me. I like to celebrate student successes. Enthusiasm is contagious in a positive classroom environment. I believe that an effective learning environment includes goals, group activities, interactive discussions, hands-on exercises, regular feedback, and peer evaluation. This kind of atmosphere engages participants and breeds motivation, which is key to a successful learning experience. As an educator, it is my role to provide these tools for success - which include a realistic set of learning goals, a positive and encouraging environment for learning, effective feedback, and opportunities for hands-on practice...


Joanne, UBC - http://www.joannealisonfox.com

Write Your Own Teaching Philosophy

If you can connect with your passion for teaching, you'll find writing your teaching philosophy to be a real joy. Once you have written your teaching philosophy you will want to re-visit it periodically because your teaching philosophy will change as you learn more about teaching and learning. This means that a teaching philosophy is a "live document" that changes as you change. If you want some help with writing a teaching philosophy, visit the Centre for Academic web page on writing a teaching philosophy. The first link on the page - to Ohio State University - is a good place to start.

Tony Fernando talks about developing his own personal teaching philosophy:

Click to view the video.

If you are interested in finding out more about writing a teaching philosophy, the Taking it Further tab will point you to interesting links and examples.


Writing a teaching philosophy involves you in articulating your approach to teaching.

  • Why not have a go at writing your personal teaching philosophy right now. You might start with a draft on a piece of paper.
  • When you're ready you can put your teaching philosophy into a myEPORTFOLIO record.
  • You may find that your teaching philosophy becomes a living expression of your commitment to teaching and a guiding framework for your approach to teaching.
Achieving a satisfactory standard in Delivery of Teaching to Facilitate Learning might  be achieved through engaging your students in the learning process. We look at engaging students in the next section of this resource. Merit might be evidenced through demonstrating innovation in teaching, through evaluating the impact of innovation on learning and through the application of appropriate pedagogical frameworks to teaching. These areas are covered in the other sections in this resource. Excellence might be evidenced through showing a contribution to teaching at an institutional level along with evidence of the scholarship of teaching to improve learning outcomes. Distinction might be evidenced by an international standing in the scholarship of teaching to improve teaching and learning.

Taking it further

Writing a Teaching Philosophy - Ohio State University

Advice on writing a teaching philosophy statement from Ohio University.

Writing a Teaching Philosophy - University of Auckland
A list of resources for writing a teaching philosophy statement. We would suggest that you start with the link to Ohio State University.

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What makes a good teacher?

“A teaching philosophy can help you to reflect on how and why you teach. If you don’t have a teaching philosophy, you might want to consider writing one. You can take a look at What makes a good teacher to get started. If you already have a teaching philosophy, you might want to reflect on how the work that you are doing here fits with that philosophy”.