It is Benjamin Franklin who said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin underscores a very critical truth to effective teaching: that when we are involved in the process of learning something is unforgettable.
Research at our schools has proven that a teacher's ability and effectiveness are the most influential determinants of pupils achievement, even after accounting for prior student learning and family background characteristics.
For many years it was thought that a child's socioeconomic background determined their ability to learn but we now know this is not true.
Teacher quality and style has a lasting effect on learning since teachers serve various roles in the classroom such as: building a safe and conducive learning environment, mentoring and nurturing pupils and providing differentiated learning experiences to pupils among many roles.
As candidates and their families continue to celebrate the 2019 KCPE results, we need to celebrate outstanding teachers who work tirelessly to create opportunities for learning for every single child.
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Great teachers have a huge impact on learning outcomes.
At Bridge, we have, through data and research, confirmed Benjamin Franklin's belief and have modelled our teaching on making the pupil the centre of the learning.
The result of this has been evidenced by the exemplary performance of our pupils in the five years they have sat the KCPE exams. Bridge has been proven to significantly improve learning gains for children. This year we had a 3506 KCPE candidates. For the fifth consecutive year, pupils at Bridge International Academies (Bridge) have excelled in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams, with 10 pupils scoring 400 marks and above and over 300 scoring over 350 marks and above. These are pupils from low income areas and yet they are doing as well if not better than children who have doctors, engineers, lawyers for parents. It is for this reason that we continue to make the pupils the centre of our learning for even better results.
Great teachers Motivate pupils to behave and work hard. In a typical classroom, children come from diverse backgrounds and carry with them different experiences ranging from family dynamics, social backgrounds, peer pressure among others.
An outstanding teacher is able to provide a conducive environment for learning despite the impact of the experiences children bring with them to class.
An outstanding teacher has the art of motivating all the pupils in her class towards good behaviour and good performance despite all the noise that may be coming from their surroundings outside the classroom.
Another key component of great teachers is constantly checking in on every pupil’s work. In a typical classroom, children have diverse learning abilities and needs. An outstanding teacher is capable of creating differential learning experiences for all the children in a classroom through their ability to check in on every pupil’s work. Such a teacher creates an opportunity for pupils to feel that their learning effort is valued, appreciated and are inspired to continue learning.
Every child has a sense of curiosity to know if they are on the right track or off track in the learning process. Great teachers respond to students with clear feedback. Feedback has been noted as the most powerful single moderator that enhances achievement. Precise and clear feedback enhances mastery of concepts being learnt.
We believe that for any child to achieve to their full potential, one requires motivation to work hard, teacher’s attention in checking their work; full participation in class and precise and clear feedback that propels them to achieve. It can be difficult, if teachers have not taught this way before but when they do, the learning gains are impressive. We value and appreciate every single outstanding teacher for the commitment they have in driving pupils’ achievement.
Veronica Kimani is the Academics Director at Bridge International Academies, Kenya.