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Candace Van Zile
Melody Wentworth
ENG 111
April 1,2014
Teacher’s Impacts on Student Learning.
“The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching” (Aristotle).
Teachers have a large impact on the way of what and how a student learns. In today’s classrooms
teachers need to come prepared not only with lesson material, but with a good teaching attitude
such as a positive and welcoming approach. Teachers are shaping today’s youth, and our world’s
future. Without a well delivered education, our youth will grow up to be a bunch of uneducated
dummies. Who wants dummies to be in charge of our society, let alone teaching our society so
the trend carries on? Jack Mezirow, an emeritus professor of adult education, Teachers Colllege,
and Columbia College would agree. “There is a growing consensus pertaining to the essential
understandings, skills, and dispositions required for an adult learner to become an effective
member of the workforce of the future” (268) It is important that teachers remember the role they
are playing and what a huge impact it will have on their student’s and the future of this world. It
takes a thorough teacher to shape a thorough learner.
A teacher’s ability to thoroughly deliver knowledge to the student body does not
necessarily have to come from their background, such as the college they attended or the money
spent on their education. The ability of delivering knowledge comes from experience and job
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performance. It is important that the teacher shows interest in the subject of study, and has
different ways of teaching it as well. bell hooks, a teacher, an American author, feminist, social
activist, and scholar says it well in the following statement, “To educate as the practice of
freedom is a way of teaching that anyone can learn. That learning process comes easiest to those
of us who teach who also believe that there is an aspect of our vocation that is sacred; who
believe that our work is not merely to share information but to share the intellectual and spiritual
growth of our students” (253) Not every student learns the same, so a teacher needs to be diverse
and has to capture the student’s attention. A lot of the time a student is in a class because it is
required not desired, so in order to gain anything from the class there has to be a way of learning
that will capture the student’s attention and hopefully allow them to learn the material. The
purpose of taking classes is to gain knowledge and achieve good grades to further one’s future.
Some students set goals to achieve both of these, others choose to shoot for one or the other.
These students can be identified as surface learners who are just skimming through the material
and looking for the good grade, or as a deep learner, one who takes the course seriously and is
looking for more than just a good grade. This “deep” learner is looking to leave the class with
memory of the material learned and knowledge. Teachers are a big factor in which category
students will identify with. John Tagg, whom taught composition and critical thinking at the
Palomar College, who has a BA in Political Science, and an MA in Speech from CSU is one
author and teacher who finds himself questioning the ability to teach. He discusses two students
named Jack and Jill. Jack was the student who achieved the good grade, but didn’t take anything
with him after the class. Jill was his other student who had failed the class, but at the same time
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took something with her and learned from the class. John Tagg thought to himself “Jill is the
success story here, she had a learning experience in the class, and it continued after class was
finished, changed her understanding, affected her decisions, her ideas, and her behavior. It
became a part of her and her a part of it.”(3). It is important for every teacher to step back and
take a look at themselves to see what their teaching ability is really about. Teachers who teach on
a more personal level and with more concern for the students have a better success rate.
Although, some would beg to differ and say that it is up to the student to be successful in
a class and not the teacher. Professor David P. Ericson who teaches at the University of Hawai’i
at Manoa would have to agree with this, as shown in his following statement. “Teachers have not
only been blamed for creating low levels of student achievement in the first place, they have also
been accused of sabotaging a multitude of reforms designed to reverse the situation” (6). It is
important for the student to know his or her responsibility in the classroom, a teacher can only do
so much. Teachers are there to supply the material and knowledge to the best of their ability, it is
then up to the student what they want to take from that. Students need to review material learned
in class, do homework assignments, study, ask questions if something is not being understood,
and also making sure their attendance is where it needs to be. If students follow these simple
rules for themselves, the success rate of the student will be much higher. Students who do better
in class than those who do poorly in class are not necessarily better learners. Dr. Lyn Corno, who
is the Adjunct Professor of Education and Psychology at Teachers College in the Department of
Curriculum & Teaching, and also the co-editor of Teacher’s College Record and a contributor to
the Ed Lab project on adaptive instruction has similar views as Ericson. “The students that are
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doing better are taking more of a responsibility for their own learning and performance, use
appropriate tools at their disposal, and navigate the storms of school and classroom life” (Lyn
Corno 71).
However, it is still up to the teacher to make sure the material is being delivered in the
best way possible, so the student can learn from it. If a teacher can accomplish this and be
viewed as a respectable authority figure and mentor, they have mastered teaching! Students are
looking for a comfortable setting in a classroom, and a teacher who is easy to approach without
intimidation. When a teacher is less intimidating, it creates an easier learning environment for the
student, resulting in a better outcome for both teacher and student. “Educational research of the
last 20 years has shown that climate, as measured by students’ perceptions of their classroom
environment, is a useful construct in predicting achievement and school satisfaction” ( Galluzi,
Kirby Zuchner, Moos, Wright and Cowen) This research shows that a classroom environment
which includes the teacher, does in fact have an impact on the way a student learns and what the
student learns. Teachers need to understand this and have a passion for what they do, because
they are affecting many people’s lives year after year. Teachers could be making a huge
difference in a student’s life and in the future of society in more than one way without even
knowing it. Powerful and passionate teaching is the foundation of thorough knowledge, which in
turn is the foundation of a functional, qualitative and quantitative workforce. Qualitative being
the passion and want for the career chosen, and quantitative being the knowledge and skill for
the career chosen.
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Although, a teacher’s job is to implement education, they can also be viewed as a role
model in the classroom. Perhaps a student has a rough home life and their only escape is the
classroom, and their education. A teacher is more than an authority figure standing up in front of
the classroom teaching things out of a book, they are often leaned on for advice and can play a
number of different job titles. “Teachers must be actively committed to a process of self-
actualization that promotes their own well-being if they are to teach in a manner that empowers
students” (bell hooks 253). Teachers are shaping the young adolescence population in more ways
than just education. So, when an individual is thinking of majoring in teaching as a career choice,
they should be going in open-minded and understand the many roles they may have to play, and
the many roles they should play.
So, with all of this in mind and not just a person’s background and education, what makes
a good teacher? “Teachers should have enough knowledge of the field they are teaching, teachers
should be fair and impartial in his or her treatment of all students in class, the classroom should
be orderly, but also relaxed and friendly, the teacher should encourage the student to raise
questions and express ideas in class the teacher should be able to have a sense of humor, and
share funny experiences of their own, and laugh at their own mistakes, assignments should be
sufficiently challenging without being unreasonably long” (William D. Coats, Lloyd Swierega,
and Jack Wickert 357) If all of the above is being obtained then the teacher is doing their job as
being a great educator, and should result in high success rates amongst their students. If some or
most of these things are not being done then the teacher should reassess themselves and their
career choice, because they have way too much of an impact on a student’s learning to not be
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heavily involved and one hundred percent ready to teach. There are many students that are
depending on teachers for a great education and start in life out there in this world, so the teacher
needs to take the job seriously and be ready to apply themselves in every way they can to make a
successful student body.
The transformative power of a teacher is something that almost everyone can say they
have experienced at some point in time, and carried with them in life. Individuals who have had
the pleasure of an effective teacher have memories of class being exciting, and full of
knowledge. These are the types of teachers that make education fun, and also do a good job of
delivering it and make well-rounded individuals Teachers have a large impact on the way of how
and what a student learns, and will for years and years to come. It is important for teachers to
always carry the good teaching attributes shared above earlier in this reading, in order for
students to gain the knowledge and success needed in their course of study. If these ways of
teaching stay consistent, then there should be a world of well –educated individuals, and a
prosperous workforce. A successful student is the result of a successful teacher.





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Works Cited
Coats, D. William, Lloyd Swierenga, Jack Wickert,. “The Journal of Educational Research:
Student Perceptions of Teachers: A Factor Analytic Study.” Vol. 65, No.8, Apr. 1972. Pp
357-36
Corno. Lyn. “The Elementary School Journal: Encouraging students to take responsibility for
learning and performance”. Vol. 93, No.1 Sep., 1992. Pp. 69-83. Print
Ericson. P. David, Frederick S. Ellett, Jr. “Taking Student Responsibility Seriously:Educational
Researcher”. Vol. 19, No.9 Dec., 1990. pp 3-10. Print
hooks, bell. “Exploring Relationships: Globalization and Learning in the 21
st
Century:Engaged
Pedagogy”. pp. 253-258. Print.
Mezirow, Jack. “Exploring Relationships: Globalization and Learning in the 21
st
Century:
Transformative Learning”: Theory to Practice. pp. 268-274. Print.
Raviv, Amiram, Alona Raviv, Ellen Reisel, . “American Educational Research Journal:
Teachers and Students: Two different perspectives?! Measuring Social Climate in the
classroom.” Vol.27, No.1, Spring 1990. pp. 141-157. Print
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Tagg, John. “Why Learn? What we “Really” may be teaching students”. Vol. 9, n 1, Mar-Apr.
2004. pp. 2-10,Print.