A good teacher …..

…… can be personified by many of the qualities demonstrated by Nancy White in tonight’s Elluminate session. I think Nancy said at one point that she was not a teacher, but she showed so many of the qualities of not just a teacher – but a really good teacher. She modelled and demonstrated this from start to finish.

First there was the fantastic start to the session – I thought the idea of having a slide with a ring of chairs which we could all occupy by typing our names into the screen was not only a wonderfully welcoming act, but also showed us how a technical tool such as offered by Elluminate can be used in creatively imaginative and effective ways. It was a motivating, fun and friendly way to start the session. That is the first time I have typed into the screen. The activity was so non-threatening that I never thought twice about it.

Her slides were bright, colourful and attractive to look at. Not too much on them, but with plenty of interest. Visually stimulating and accompanied by an enthusiastic and lively voice. Nancy’s enthusiasm is infective. She is passionate about her work and it shows.

Then there was Nancy’s lovely chatty non-threatening way of talking. Did you notice how many times she talked herself down? As Stephen said, she is recognised world-wide, but her humility and obvious desire to be one of the learning group and not apart from it, is the mark of a good teacher.

Nancy was also so inclusive. She named people she was speaking to, I assume whether or not she knew them. She said hello to people arriving and goodbye to people who had to leave early. She made a wonderfully warm comment to Maru who had to leave early. She took time to read back through the chat and to pick up on what people were saying. How she managed to keep her eye on everything that was going on I don’t know. This reminds me of when the children I taught believed that I had ‘eyes in the back of my head’. They could never understand how I knew what was going on even when I had my back to them. I think Nancy exemplified this by ‘having an eye on everything’ in this online environment. I haven’t mastered this in the online environment. At the beginning of the session I was so intent on the chat that I didn’t notice that people were posting their names next to chairs! By the time I noticed all the chairs were taken!

Nancy was interested in what everyone had to say and encouraged people to speak. (I still haven’t had the courage to do this, but there were a few new people speaking in this session which was great to hear). I loved hearing Maru’s voice; I have had blog contact with her, but it makes a difference to hear a voice. Nancy stopped a number of times to allow people time to gather their thoughts and ask questions, but she didn’t push if there weren’t any. She went with the flow – and she also asked questions herself.

Then near the end, she started summarising by putting up key points on the whiteboard. She didn’t dominate this – others joined in.

She let everyone know how much time she had and when she would have to leave. The whole tone of the session was very relaxed, but at the same time there was loads of interesting discussion in the chat room all provoked by Nancy’s presentation.

I think we can all learn a lot from this session. For me, it just proves that good teaching is not really anything to do with the technology. A good teacher is a good teacher. These qualities will transfer into the online environment. A good teacher is one who wants to connect with learners. This can be face-to-face or online. Online offers the potential to work with more learners, but I think tonight’s session showed that it’s the personal connection that is important.

I really enjoyed the session and I think it showed how the principles of connectivism can be put to good use.

5 thoughts on “A good teacher …..

  1. Sui Fai John Mak November 6, 2008 / 4:52 am

    Hi Jenny,
    After listening to the recordings on change. I found the session pretty interactive and intersting. I could sense Nancy showing her wonderful attributes: listens attentively, speaks in a humble manner, and shows empathy towards others’ views and responses.
    For me, a great learning session that inspires change – in a practical way.
    I have prepared a post on the role of teacher both on my blog and the forum.
    Many thanks for sharing your views on the session.
    Meet you later.

  2. Nancy White November 7, 2008 / 6:15 am

    Jenny, I was stunned when I read your post. Thank you. I’m speechless. I hope I can live up to this standard!

  3. jennymackness November 7, 2008 / 2:47 pm

    Thank you John for your comment.

    My pleasure Nancy – thank you again for the session. I learned a lot!

  4. Maru del Campo November 12, 2008 / 5:46 am

    Hi Jenny!

    I took my time to come here, sorry about it. I got tangled with EVO09 moderation training. Your post is wonderful, Nancy is really a warm kind person and a terrific teacher. I totally agree with you, a good teacher is a good teacher regardless the tools used.

    When I read your post I was surprised too, I don’t remember myself speaking! Voice contact does make a difference. I’ll have to listen to the recording. I was really sorry to leave. I was a totally different session for me. I arrived an hour earlier and I heard her trying to set the voice and finding out about the controls on her own so we could talk before the session started and I felt in the need to tell her I had to leave, how can you leave someone so caring without saying a word?

    I was present on the second session and also for the first time felt free to type on the chatbox, I found myself echoing her thoughts on the chat and herd her reading them aloud to continue. It was the first time in the course that a guest speaker did that.

    As usual, I’m glad to have come by.
    See you around girl. Besos. Maru

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