Teachers are one of the most important components of the educational process because they are the facilitators of many processes that take place in the classroom as they conduct their teaching. Thus, many researchers have been interested in what teachers think before or during the lesson; what qualities do constitute good teachers, or what are their feelings about particular issues, etc. Tsui (2003) states that classrooms include “multidimensionality, simultaneity, immediacy, and unpredictability…and teachers need to be able to process simultaneously transmitted information very quickly, to attend to multiple events simultaneously” (p.30). Therefore, to handle academic, behavioral and other processes that take place in the classroom teachers should have a particular set of qualities and experience. However, not everyone is able to do that, except for “experts”.
Some say that an “expert” is a person who can do or perform his or her job on a very high level without putting efforts so much so that it looks automatic and easy. Others would state that “experts” are the best representatives of their field and are very experienced and knowledgeable (Farrell, 2013). If the question of knowledge is undoubtedly connected to expertise, as Johnson highlights it “it is the quality of knowledge that is important” (p. 13) the link between being an expert and experience has now been questioned by some scholars (Tsui 2003, 2000). Because this two characteristics (knowledge and experience) are not the only ones that embrace experts in any field, including teaching.
Continuing the definition of expertise many scholars add a category of reflective practices (Smith and Strahan, 2004; Farrel, 2003) as the realization of one’s strength and weaknesses and willingness to grow, develop, and build on the experience they already have. Moreover, it is the “only way to achieve the change from an experienced teacher to an expert teacher” (Gun, 2014, p. 4). As we can see, there is no “exact” definition of expertise in teaching as it involves many factors.
However, as a current student and a future professional in the sphere of education, I would like to investigate what qualities and characteristics constitute an expert teacher. Moreover, I believe that being an expert teacher is more than just having knowledge and experience. What do you think?
Farrell, T. S. C. (2013). Reflecting on ESL teacher expertise: A case study. System, 41(4), 1070–1082.
Gün, B. (2014). Making sense of experienced teachers’ interactive decisions: Implications for expertise in teaching. International Journal of Instruction, 7(1), 75–90.
Smith, T. W., & Strahan, D. (2004). Toward a Prototype of Expertise in Teaching: A Descriptive Case Study. Journal of Teacher Education, 55(4), 357–371.
Tsui, A. (2003). Understanding expertise in teaching: Case studies in ESL teaching teachers. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.