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Common characteristics of good teaching

According to UNESCO (2004) and Scheerens (2004), the main characteristics of good teaching relate to a number of broad categories:
  • Relevance: of the teaching content, in particular alignment with the curriculum.
  • Sufficient learning time: this refers to the time devoted to actual teaching, as opposed to the official hours set in the curriculum.
  • Structured teaching, in which learners’ engagement is stimulated, their understanding monitored, and feedback and reinforcement regularly provided.
  • A conducive classroom environment with, in particular, a task-oriented climate, mutual respect between the students and teacher and among students themselves, orderliness, and safety.
  • Teachers with appropriate subject matter mastery, verbal intelligence, a broad teaching repertoire, and motivation to achieve.
What research also underlines though is that adaptability to context matters as different countries and students may need different teaching contents (both in terms of subject matter knowledge and of medium of instruction) and different levels of structure tailored to students’ profile. It is therefore important to critically assess the relevance of both current and planned objectives (in terms of the content, structure, and context of teaching and learning) to the national situation.

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