How a Teacher's Attitude Affects Students

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Being a teacher can be overwhelming. At times, it is easy to let this affect your attitude in the classroom. It's important to maintain a positive attitude, however, because doing so improves your ability to help children learn and understand new material.

Identification

  • A teacher’s attitude generally refers to her disposition, though there are other factors as well. Attitude encompasses a teacher's level of enthusiasm, resourcefulness, willingness to help and knowledge of the content. All of these play an important role in overall classroom performance.

Research

  • Research from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages says that effective teachers have the following four attitude traits: they perceive themselves as effective; they believe all of their students can learn; they see the big picture and broad purpose of the educational system; and they focus on the people, not just the numbers. The trend toward outcomes-based testing makes it hard for some teachers to focus on their students' individual needs, especially when teachers are also required to increase a number score on standardized tests.

Considerations

  • The American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages asked students to look back on which teachers helped them learn best, or the type of teacher they considered their “favorite." The study found that students looked back favorably at teachers who cared about them as people. Students also cited a teacher’s ability to make new content fun and meaningful, and the teacher’s actual knowledge of the subject matter.

Increasing Positive Attitudes

  • Because research shows that students are affected by a teacher’s attitude, teachers should focus on their attitude about content as much as the content itself. At the beginning of a semester, set a positive atmosphere by explaining your expectations to the students. Write your rules or expectations down in a positive way. For instance, instead of saying, “No put downs,” say, “Use positive words.” Have some kind of agreement in writing so students can see that you plan on treating them with respect, and that you expect the same from them. Avoid placing labels on students before they enter your room. While some students might have reputations as troublemakers, let each student have a fresh start when he enters your room.

  • Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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