Teacher Effectiveness


This section explores those factors that make a teacher effective. Recent research reveals that most variation in overall school effectiveness is due to classroom level factors rather than school level factors. For these reasons it is important to try to identify what makes an effective teacher.

Aspects of effective teaching include:

  • having a positive attitude 
  • the development of a pleasant social / psychological climate in the classroom
  • having high expectations of what pupils can achieve
  • lesson clarity
  • effective time management 
  • strong lesson structuring 
  • the use of a variety of teaching methods
  • using and incorporating pupil ideas
  • using appropriate and varied questioning.

However, effective teaching methods are context specific. What is needed for a teacher to be effective can vary depending upon factors such as:

  • the type of activity in the lesson 
  • the subject matter 
  • the pupil backgrounds (such as age, ability, sex, socio-economic status and ethnicity) 
  • the pupils' personal characteristics (such as personality, learning style, motivation and self-esteem) 
  • the culture / organisation of the department, school and LEA.

This section examines how to build up, encourage and nuture many of the aspects that make an effective teacher.

Publications and Resources:

Creemers B (1994) 'Effective instruction: an empirical basis for a theory of educational effectiveness' in Advances in School Effectiveness Research and Practice, D Reynolds, B Creemers, P Nesselrodt, E Schaffer, S Stringfield and C Teddlie (eds). Permagon Press, pp. 189-205

This chapter discusses how best to implement effective instruction in schools, focusing mainly on the importance of teachers in improving education at the classroom level.

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Creemers B (1999) 'The effective teacher: what changes and remains', in Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education & Development, Vol. 2, No.1, pp. 51-63

In this paper, the concept of a vision is introduced to promote consistency and stability in teacher effectiveness, and more particularly to create a relationship between the changing objectives of education and the instruments of teaching and schooling.

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Creemers B & Reezigt G (1996) 'School level conditions affecting the effectiveness of instruction', in School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 197-228

This article criticises the current status of school level factors as they appear in research reviews and in school effectiveness models from a theoretical and an empirical perspective.  An overview of school level factors that enhance the quality of instruction, time for learning and opportunity to learn at the classroom level is provided.

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Department for Education and Employment: 'From thinking skills to thinking classrooms: a review and evaluation of approaches for developing pupils' thinking'. Research Report, No. 115, pp. 1-36

This review analyses what is currently understood by the term 'thinking skills' and their role in the learning process, identifies current approaches to developing children's thinking and to evaluate their effectiveness, considers how teachers might be able to integrate thinking skills into their teaching both within subject areas and across the curriculum, identifies the role of ICT in promoting a positive approach to thinking skills and evaluates the general direction of current and future research and how it might translate into classroom practice.

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Hopkins D (1997) 'Powerful learning, powerful teaching and powerful schools'. Paper presented as an inaugural lecture at the University of Nottingham, 25th February 1997.

This paper describes the components of a framework for school improvement that builds explicitly on enhancing the learning experiences, achievements and progress of pupils.

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Houtveen A, Booij N, de Jong R & Van der Grift W (1999) 'Adaptive instruction and pupil achievement', in School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 172-192

This article outlines the results of a quasi-experiment on effects of adaptive instruction on reading results of children in the first year of reading instruction in Dutch primary schools.

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Kirby P, Stringfield S, Teddlie C & Wimpelberg R (1992) 'School effects on teacher socialisation', in School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 187-203

In this paper induction experiments of beginning teachers of a similar background in schools that were classified as more effective or less effective on the basis of student achievement are compared.

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Mortimore P (1993) 'School effectiveness and the management of effective learning and teaching', in School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 290-310 

This paper reviews the factors which operate at both the classroom and the whole-school level and which provide guidance for practitioners on how effective learning may be promoted.

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Muijs D & Reynolds D (2002) 'Being or Doing: The Role of Teacher Behaviors and Beliefs in School and Teacher Effectiveness in Mathematics, a SEM analysis', in Journal of Classroom Interaction, Vol.37, No. 2, pp 3-15

Teacher effectiveness has been found to strongly influence student progress. This paper explores the contribution of a number of factors, such as teacher behaviour, beliefs, self-efficacy and knowledge, which have been identified in the research literature as possibly leading to differences in teacher effectiveness. The results of this analysis indicate that teacher behaviour has the most significant effect on teacher effectiveness and therefore that it should form a significant component of ITT.

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Muijs D & Reynolds D (2005) 'Effective Teaching - Introduction & Conclusion'  2nd edition. London: Sage Publications.

Abridged Introduction:    Click here

Conclusions:                 Click here

Reynolds D (1998) ‘Teacher Effectiveness: Better Teachers, Better Schools’, in Research Intelligence, No. 26, pp 26-29

Teacher effectiveness has a significant affect upon student performance. This paper explores ways in which to help teachers become more effective. Ideas covered are: creating an applied science of teaching to provide guidelines on how to teach, aiming some school reforms at the teacher / classroom level instead of at the managerial / school level only, using within school variation in teaching practice to help improve teaching across a school.

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Reynolds D & Muijs D (1999) Numeracy: An Annotated Bibliography for Schools and Colleges, London: DfEE

This annotated bibliography brings together all the material concerning the worlds knowledge bases about mathematics education and mathematics teaching. It will be a very useful tool for anyone wanting to know more about effective mathematics teaching.

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Short articles written for DfES by David Reynolds summarising the teacher effectiveness literature simply (taken from the www.teachernet.gov.uk pages). Click on the titles to access the documents:

Managing behaviour in your classroom

Creating a good classroom climate

Whole-class teaching

Interactive teaching

Setting homework

Teaching numeracy

Teaching literacy

Individual and group practice

Assessing your student's work

Higher order thinking skills

Sammons P, DeLaMatre J & Mujtaba T (2002) 'A summary review of research on teacher effectiveness', Draft 2, 27 January 2002, pp.1-33

This review explores school and teacher effectiveness research by examining mainly those studies which seek to relate teacher behaviours to student outcomes (social, affective or cognitive).  A number of previous research reviews and selected studies are used to illustrate the main findings of this investigation.

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Schaffer G, Nesselrodt P & Stringfield S (1991) 'The groundings of an observational instrument: the teacher behaviour - student learning research base of the special strategies observation system', in the International school effects research workshop, September 26-27, 1991, pp. 157-197

This paper relates recent research on teacher behaviour and student learning through the introduction of a classroom observation instrument entitled 'Special Strategies Observation System' (SSOS).  The SSOS is an example of an observation system that incorporates quantitative and qualitative data collection.  Included in the paper is a discussion of the value of a strategy that blends these two research traditions.

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Teddlie C (1991) 'The integration of classroom and school process data in school effects research', in the International school effects research workshop, September 26-27, 1991, pp. 71-100

This paper considers joint teacher / school effectiveness studies, examining why they have only recently been undertaken, what can be learned from them and areas in which further research is needed.

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Woodcock, W. (1998) 'Induction Credit Scheme for New Teachers - Interim Report. Written for the Teacher Training Agency.

This report describes the results of an induction procedure for newly qualified teachers (NQTs). The second part of this document contains a handbook designed to offer practical guidance to mentors of NQTs about how to carry out the mentoring role effectively.  The handbook outlines the model NQT Induction programme developed by secondary schools in South Gloucestershire involved in the High Reliability Schools project, in conjunction with the Teacher Training Agency.

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Dr. Muijs' conference papers:

Muijs, D. & Reynolds, D. (2003) 'The effectiveness of the use of learning support assistants in improving the mathematics achievement of low achieving pupils in primary schools, an introduction'. Presented at AERA 2002, New Orleans, USA.

This paper introduces the background to the 'Effectiveness of the use of learning assistants' project and outlines its aims and how they are going to be achieved. 

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 Muijs, D. & Reynolds, D. (2002) 'Classroom factors and student achievement in primary math'. Presented at AERA 2002, New Orleans, USA.

This paper examines the relationship between classroom factors and student achievement. Teacher beliefs, behaviours, attitudes and actions were all found to play a significant role in the effective classroom, and therefore to affect student achievement.

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Muijs, D. & Reynolds, D. (2002). 'Teacher-level effects in school effectiveness research: first findings of a longitudinal study'. Presented at ICSEI 2002, Toronto, Canada.

This paper examines which classroom level factors (such as teacher behaviour, teaching styles, teacher beliefs, teacher self-efficacy and classroom size or setting) affect pupil growth in maths over a two-year period.

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Muijs, D. (2001) 'Effective mathematics teaching: year 2 of a research project'. Presented at AERA 2001, Seattle, USA. 

This paper examines the relationship between teacher behaviours and student achievement. Suggestions are made as to how to improve teacher training on the basis of the projects' findings.

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Muijs, D. & Reynolds, D. (2001a) 'Student background and teacher effects on achievement and attainment in mathematics: a longitudinal study'. Presented at ICSEI 2001, Toronto, Canada.

This paper reports on the findings of the first two years of a study of teacher effectiveness conducted in the UK as part of the evaluation of the Mathematics Enhancement Project.

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Muijs, D. & Reynolds, D. (2001b) 'The teacher effectiveness enhancement project'. Presented at ICSEI 2001, Toronto, Canada.

This paper introduces the Teacher Effectiveness Enhancement Project, which aims to train teachers in the skills identified by the Mathematics Enhancement Project as most important to student success. An outline and description of the planned training course is given.

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Muijs, D. & Reynolds, D. (2001c) 'Effective mathematics teaching: year 2 of a research project'. Presented at ICSEI 2001, Toronto, Canada.

This paper introduces the effective mathematics teaching project, its aims, its methodologies and its main findings.

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Dr. Schaffer's powerpoint presentations:

Questioning Techniques

This presentation discusses the importance of questioning in learning and advises how to use questions effectively in the classroom to get the best results.

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This presentation discusses the reasons why we use homework, what effects it can have, how and what to set and how best to use what is handed in.

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Teaching Functions

This presentation sets out organised teaching instructions intended to insure that teachers attain a high level of student success in the learning of new materials.

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Unit and Lesson Planning

This presentation outlines which data can be used to aid lesson planning and what steps need to be taken in order to get the best results from it.

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