1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The idea of good teacher for each individual is variable. Students´ perception, opinions and/or experiences about a good teacher are different. A good teacher has been considered, sometimes, as a perfectionist, encouraging, approachable and caring, other times as intelligent, but above all, as enthusiastic, funny, clever, affective and understanding, open, and with a relaxed style while teaching. Holt (1964) addressed that learning is enhanced by the teachers´ knowledge, enthusiasm and responsibility towards creating a warm class climate enhancing “the students desire to learn and to accept the challenges of thinking and enquiring into all that is offered by the teacher”. Stronge et al (2004) stated that teaching is vocational, and most good and quality teachers are passionate about their chosen profession. However, he also added that a good teacher is always in a constant learning process due to changes in terms of the students’ characteristics, the curriculum, the community, and finance among many others.
According to Gibbs (2002) “Teachers need to be able to survive the demands, threats and challenges within the diverse circumstances of teaching” He stated that a good and quality teacher needs the capacity to be persistent, flexible, and innovative on new teaching approaches and be prepared in the case of failure. For Stronge et al. (2004) the good teacher has a psychological influence on the students, having a strong influence on their achievement. According to Killen (2006), the good teacher is the one who has clear objectives and own goals of teaching. A teacher can provide the students with the answer of a question, which can be effective only if the main objective is simply to compare and analyze different results.
However, if the objective is to make the student think about the option of providing different possible answers, the teacher, in this case, may be regarded as ineffective. Smith (1995) stated that teachers and teaching need to be creative to allow the students learn naturally. He also added that educational institutions should spend more time on “doing” and less time on “talking about learning and teaching” In addition, Gurney (2007) suggested that instead of reflecting on theory and practice, we should reflect on what we do in the classroom.
A good teachers need to focus on students’ achievement. Alton-Lee (2003) pointed out that an effective link between school and cultural context is needed and this is often times considered as a challenge; apart from being caring, and enhance assessment, feedback and evaluation, as well as being responsible to students learning process, the curriculum goals, the multiple tasks and the contexts. Gurney (2007) suggested that to be a good and quality teacher there should be an interaction among different factors.
One of them is the teacher knowledge, enthusiasm and responsibility for learning. Another factor is that good teachers should provide the students with activities and assessment that encourages them to learn (and learn through experience), as well as having an engaged feedback. Finally, to create a warm environment and a relationship with the students in which respect will enhance learning. According to Borich (2000), the responsibilities of good teachers are to have lesson clarity, instructional variety, teacher task orientation, engagement in the learning process and student success rate.