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What constitutes a competent teacher?

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What constitutes a competent teacher?

            In our quest for quality education, a teacher who is considered as the key factor in any teaching-learning situation needs to be competent to effectively transmit knowledge, skills and values they gained.  But in so doing, what should really characterize or constitute a competent teacher to be able to accomplish these tasks?  What should be her roles to the learning of the students? What should be her goals to accomplish in the lives of her students?

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            One aspect of a competent teacher is that she has to set goals for her students to ensure that they can accomplish not only to the optimum level of the students’ learning but if possible to the maximum that they can attain.

  This is so for the reason that students will not be under her care all the time for soon they will leave the nest and be on their own to face reality. Hence, preparing them to a literate functional lifelong learning should be one of the teachers’ goals.

  How then is this accomplished?

            A teacher herself is a learner, therefore, a teacher who is willing to learn from her students is competent, in a way that she can enter into the world of her students and is able to allow them to conceptualize and synthesize what they have in mind.  A competent teacher recognizes that the learning of the students is not limited to a four wall classroom, but rather their exposures and real life experiences intertwine with their inbred knowledge to be unfolded in the school setting.  Here, the competent teacher does not look at herself as final and infallible, rather she is open to students’ ideas, and refuses the notion that only she has the final word. Both teacher and students exchange ideas, as Freire (1970) puts it in his pedadogy of the oppressed or his liberation theory that   genuine learning occurs when a teacher and students engage in a shared, ongoing dialogue that creates knowledge. Knowledge is created when teachers and students share and critically reflect upon their experiences. An important moment occurs when teachers and students begin to evaluate critically what they know.  After which, along with the students can draw conclusion and lessons for practical outworking.  In this way competent a teachers is able to develop the critical thinking of students and not just learning by rote.  Although Freire absolutely rejects the idea of the teacher transferring knowledge to students, I still believe there is a room for it, considering that we cannot deny the world operates in certain standards besides the fact that rules and order must be maintained.

            Learning is easier, quicker and more effective when a student has a good and positive attitude.  Usually students have a good and positive attitude or outlook in learning when they are assured that they are being cared of.  A competent teacher leads students to this attitude. It means that the one caring receives the other for the interval of caring completely and no selectively. She is present to the other and places her motive power in his service. Now, of course, she does not abandon her own ethical ideal in doing this, but she starts from a position of respect or regard for the projects of the other.

The feminine view introduced by Nell Noddings (1984) believes that this can be illustrated when a teacher asks a question in class and a student responds. She re­ceives not just the “response” but the student. To some degree what the student says, whether it is right or wrong, matters most and she probes gently for clarification, interpretation, con­tribution, and leads the student to see things clearer so as to arrive at a right conclusion.  For the brief interval of dialogue that grows around the question, the cared-for indeed “fills the firmament”. The student is infinitely more important than the subject matter, and yet I believe that this should be without necessarily neglecting the truth.

The one-caring, as teacher, is not necessarily permissive. She does not ab­stain from leading the student, or persuading him, or coaxing him toward an examination of school subjects. We may force him to respond in specified ways, but what he will make his own and eventually apply effec­tively is that which he finds significant for his own life this makes him to be a functional literate person at present and in the future.  This recognition does not reduce either the teacher’s power or her responsibility.  The teacher’s power is, thus, awesome. It is she who presents the “effective world” to the student. In doing this, she real­izes that the student, as an ethical agent, will make his own selection from the presented possibilities and so, in a very important sense, she is prepared to put her motive and  energy in the service of the students’ projects. She has already had a hand in selecting those projects and will continue to guide and inform the students, but the objectives themselves must be embraced by them, and for the choice they made I strongly believe that the student should be made to understand (by the teacher) that he will bear the consequences.  She is a competent teacher in a way that she is able to train them to be a responsible individual especially in decision making. So as mentors, a teacher should be apt to teach what is right on the basis of standards and rules on what is right and proper.

            Everything teachers do has moral overtones. Through dialogue, modeling, the provision of practice, and the attribution of best motive, the one-caring as teacher nurtures the ethical ideal of students. She cannot nurture the student in­tellectually without regard for the ethical ideal unless she is willing to get involve in the life of the student.


Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of Hope, Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York:

Continuum, 1995. Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Trans., Myra Bergman

Ramos. New York: Continuum, 1984. Gadotti, M. Reading Paulo Freire: His Life

and Work. New York: SUNY Press, 1994.

Noddings, Nel. 1984. Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education.

USA: Univer­sity of California Press.

Cite this What constitutes a competent teacher?

What constitutes a competent teacher?. (2016, Sep 03). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/what-constitutes-a-competent-teacher/

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