Competencies for Teaching

  • First Online: 19 October 2021

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teaching competencies essay

  • Pradeep Kumar Misra 2  

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Teaching is a challenging task. The reason is that teaching is supposed to bring intended changes in the behavior of learners, and bringing change is never easy. Teachers are destined to play a variety of roles to accomplish the task of teaching. These roles portray the teacher as a humane professional; a planner, manager, and leader; a transmitter of knowledge; a counselor; an innovator and action researcher; a reflective practitioner; a lifelong learner; and an adapter of technologies. Research has proved that these competencies help teachers to carry out teaching effectively and efficiently. Besides, these competencies also offer many other opportunities to support the teaching and learning process. In reality, not all teachers possess all these competencies. But, any teacher can acquire these as well as other competencies by learning and practicing. Following this argument, this chapter discusses different teaching competencies in detail. Proper knowledge and understanding about teaching competencies will help you as a teacher to successfully use them for further gains in teaching.

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Pradeep Kumar Misra

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Misra, P.K. (2021). Competencies for Teaching. In: Learning and Teaching for Teachers. Springer, Singapore.

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The Wing Institute

Education Drivers

Teacher competencies.

There currently is an abundant knowledge-base to inform us that in schools teachers play the critical role in student learning and achievement. Research reveals that how teachers instruct and these interactions with students is the cornerstone around which to build effective schools. A summary of the available studies accumulated over the past 40 years on a key education driver, teacher competencies offers practical strategies, practices, and rules to guide teachers in ways to improve instruction that improves student performance and the quality of the work experience. Four groupings of these competencies can help organize and simply for teachers what they need to master to maximize their performance: classroom management, instructional delivery, formative assessment, and personal competencies. These four categories also provide the essential core around which decision makers can construct teacher preparation, teacher hiring, teacher development, and teacher and school evaluations.

What are teacher competencies? Competencies are the skills and knowledge that enable a teacher to be successful. To maximize student learning, teachers must have expertise in a wide-ranging array of competencies in an especially complex environment where hundreds of critical decisions are required each day (Jackson, 1990). Few jobs demand the integration of professional judgment and the proficient use of evidence-based competencies as does teaching.

Why is this important? The transformational power of an effective teacher is something many of us have experienced. Intuitively, the link between teaching and student academic achievement may seem obvious, but what is the evidence for it?

Research confirms this common perception of a link and reveals that of all factors under the control of a school, teachers are the most powerful influence on student success (Babu & Mendro, 2003; Sanders & Rivers, 1996). What separates effective teachers from ineffective ones, and how can this information be used to support better teaching? We can now begin to build a profile of exemplary classroom instruction derived from effectiveness research (Wenglinsky, 2002; Hattie, 2009).

Which competencies make the biggest difference? An examination of the research on education practices that make a difference shows that four classes of competencies yield the greatest results.

  • Instructional delivery
  • Classroom management
  • Formative assessment
  • Personal competencies (soft skills)

Further, the research indicates that these competencies can be used to organize the numerous specific skills and knowledge available for building effective teacher development.

Instructional delivery: Research tells us what can be expected from a teacher employing instructional strategies and practices that are proven to lead to increased mastery of lessons. Better learning happens in a dynamic setting in which teachers offer explicit active instruction than in situations in which teachers do not actively guide instruction and instead turn control over content and pace of instruction to students (Hattie, 2009). 

Comparing Instructional Approaches

Is there a diverse set of practices that teachers can efficiently and effectively use to increase mastery of content for a variety of curricula? The structured and systematic approach of explicit instruction emphasizes mastery of the lesson to ensure that students understand what has been taught, become fluent in new material, and can generalize what they learn to novel situations they encounter in the future.

The following are hallmarks of an explicit approach for teachers (Archer & Hughes, 2011; Knight, 2012).

  • Teacher selects the learning area to be taught.
  • Teacher sets criteria for success.
  • Teacher informs students of criteria ahead of the lesson.
  • Teacher demonstrates to the students successful use of the knowledge/skills through modeling.
  • Teacher evaluates student acquisition.
  • Teacher provides remedial opportunities for acquiring the knowledge/skills, if necessary.
  • Teacher provides closure at the end of the lesson.

A common complaint of an explicit instruction approach is that it does not offer sufficient opportunities for students to build on acquired knowledge/skills in creative and novel ways that help them to assimilate the material. The reality is that all effective instruction, regardless of philosophy, must aid students in generalizing newly taught knowledge/skills in a context that is greater than a single lesson. An explicit model accomplishes the goal of building toward “big ideas” by first emphasizing mastery of foundation skills such as reading and mathematics, and then systematically introducing opportunities to integrate these critical skills in discovery-based lessons to maximize students’ experience of success.

Effective explicit instruction practices include these features.

  • Well-designed and planned instruction: Instruction that is well planned moves students from their current level of competency toward explicit criteria for success.
  • Instructional design with clear instructional objectives: The teacher should present these objectives to students for each lesson.
  • Scope and sequencing: The teacher should teach the range of related skills and the order in which they should be learned.
  • Instruction that offers sufficient opportunities for successful acquisition:
  • High rates of responding for each student to practice the skill: The teacher should provide sufficient opportunities for unpunished errors and ample reinforcement for success.
  • Sufficient quantity of instruction: The teacher should allocate enough time to teach a topic.
  • Teaching to mastery: Students need to learn the knowledge/skills to criteria that are verified by teachers or students’ peers.
  • Teaching foundation knowledge/skills that become the basis for teaching big ideas: Current lessons should be built on past knowledge to increase fluency and maintain mastery of material. The teacher should relate lessons to complex issues and big ideas that provide deeper meaning and give students better understanding of the content.

Teaching Practices

View graph detail

Classroom management: Classroom management is one of the most persistent areas of concern voiced by school administrators, the public, and teachers (Evertson & Weinstein, 2013). Research consistently places classroom management among the top five issues that affect student achievement.

Impact Behavior Management

To put its in perspective, classroom management was associated with an increase of 20% in student achievement when classroom rules and procedures were applied systematically (Hattie, 2005).

A good body of research highlights four important areas that classroom teachers should be proficient in to create a climate that maximizes learning and induces a positive mood and tone.

  • Rules and procedures: Effective rules and procedures identify expectations and appropriate behavior for students. To be effective, these practices must be observable and measurable.
  • Schoolwide rules and procedures : Clearly stated rules identify, define, and operationalize acceptable behavior specific to a school. These rules, applicable to all students, are designed to build pro-social behavior and reduce problem behavior in a school. They distinguish appropriate from problem behavior as well as specify consequences for infractions.
  • Classroom rules and procedures : Another set of clearly stated rules establishes acceptable behavior specific in a classroom. These rules need to be consistent with schoolwide rules, but may be unique to meet the needs of an individual classroom.
  • Proactive classroom management: These are the practices that teachers and administrators can employ to teach and build acceptable behavior that is positive and helpful, promotes social acceptance, and leads to greater success in school. The key to proactive classroom management is active teacher supervision. The practice elements that constitute active supervision require staff to observe and interact with students regularly. The goal is to build a positive teacher-student relationship by providing timely and frequent positive feedback for appropriate behavior, and to swiftly and consistently respond to inappropriate behaviors.
  • Effective classroom instruction: The key to maintaining a desirable classroom climate is to provide students with quality instructional delivery aligned to the skill level of each student. This enables students to experience success and keeps them attentive.
  • Behavior reduction: These practices, designed to reduce problem and unacceptable behavior, are employed in the event the first three strategies fail. Behavior reduction strategies include giving students corrective feedback at the time of an infraction, minimizing reinforcement of a student’s unacceptable behavior, and guiding students in how to behave appropriately.

Formative assessment: Effective ongoing assessment, referred to in education literature as formative assessment and progress monitoring, is indispensable in promoting teacher and student success. It is frequently listed at the top of interventions for school improvement (Walberg, 1999).

Feedback, a core component of formative assessment, is recognized as an essential tool for improving performance in sports, business, and education. Hattie (2009) identified feedback as the single most powerful educational tool available for improving student performance, with a medium to large effect size ranging from 0.66 to 0.94.

Formative assessment consists of a range of formal and informal diagnostic testing procedures, conducted by teachers throughout the learning process, for modifying teaching and adapting activities to improve student attainment. Systemic interventions such as Response to Intervention (RtI) and Data-Based Decision Making depend heavily on the use of formative assessment (Hattie, 2009; Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001).

Impact of Assessment

The following are the practice elements of formative assessment (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1986).

  • Assessment: (Effect size 0.26) Assessing a student’s performance throughout a lesson offers a teacher insight into who is succeeding and who is falling behind. It is important that teachers collect and maintain data gained through both informal and formal assessments.
  • Data display: (Effect size 0.70) Displaying the data in the form of a graphic has a surprisingly powerful effect on formative assessment’s usefulness as a tool.
  • Data analysis following defined rules: (Effect size 0.90) Formative assessment is most valuable when teachers use evidence-based research and their own professional judgment to develop specific remedial interventions, before it is too late, for those falling behind.

Personable competencies (soft skills): An inspiring teacher can affect students profoundly by stimulating their interest in learning. It is equally true that most students have encountered teachers who were uninspiring and for whom they performed poorly. Unfortunately, effective and ineffective teachers have no readily discernable personality differences. Some of the very best teachers are affable, but many ineffective instructors can be personable and caring. Conversely, some of the best teachers appear as stern taskmasters, but whose influence is enormous in motivating students to accomplish things they never thought possible.

What soft skills do successful teachers have in common? Typically, the finest teachers display enthusiasm and excitement for the subjects they teach. More than just generating excitement, they provide a road map for students to reach the goals set before them. The best teachers are proficient in the technical competencies of teaching: instructional delivery, formative assessment, and classroom management. Equally significant, they are fluent in a multilayered set of social skills that students recognize and respond to, which leads to greater learning (Attakorn, Tayut, Pisitthawat, & Kanokorn, 2014). These skills must be defined as clear behaviors that teachers can master for use in classrooms.

Indispensable soft skills include:

  • Establishing high but achievable expectations
  • Encouraging a love for learning
  • Listening to others
  • Being flexible and capable of adjusting to novel situations
  • Showing empathy
  • Being culturally sensitive
  • Embedding and encouraging higher order thinking along with teaching foundation skills
  • Having a positive regard for students

What does research tell us about personal competencies? Quantitative studies provide an overall range of effect sizes from 0.72 to 0.87 for effective teacher-student relations. Better teacher-student relations promote increased student academic performance and improve classroom climate by reducing disruptive student behavior (Cornelius-White, 2007; Marzano, Marzano & Pickering, 2003).

Student Teacher Relations

There is abundant research to support the notion that teachers play the critical role in improving student achievement in schools. What teachers do in the classroom is crucial in this process. The breadth of high-quality research accumulated over the past 40 years offers educators a clear picture of how to maximize teacher competency in four critical categories: instructional delivery, classroom management, formative assessment, and personal competencies. There is now ample evidence to recommend these competencies as the core around which to build teacher preparation, teacher hiring, teacher development, and teacher and school evaluations.

Archer, A. L., & Hughes, C. A. (2011). Explicit instruction: Efficient and effective teaching. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.

Attakorn, K., Tayut, T., Pisitthawat, K., & Kanokorn, S. (2014). Soft skills of new teachers in the secondary schools of Khon Kaen Secondary Educational Service Area 25, Thailand. Procedia—Social and Behavioral Sciences, 112, 1010–1013.

Babu, S., & Mendro, R. (2003). Teacher accountability: HLM-based teacher effectiveness indices in the investigation of teacher effects on student achievement in a state assessment program. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Chicago, IL, April.

Cornelius-White, J. (2007). Learner-centered teacher-student relationships are effective: A meta-analysis. Review of educational research, 77 (1), 113–143.

Evertson, C. M., & Weinstein, C. S. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues. New York, NY: Routledge.

Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (1986). Effects of systematic formative evaluation: A meta-analysis. Exceptional Children, 53 (3), 199–208.

Hattie, J., (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses related to achievement. New York, NY: Routledge.

Jackson, P. W. (1990). Life in classrooms. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Knight, J. (2012). High-impact instruction: A framework for great teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Marzano, R. J., Marzano, J. S., & Pickering, D. (2003). Classroom management that works: Research-based strategies for every teacher. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

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Walberg, H. (1999). Productive teaching. In H. C. Waxman & H. J. Walberg (Eds.), New directions for teaching practice and research (pp. 75–104). Berkeley, CA: McCutchen Publishing.

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White, W. A. T. (1988). A meta-analysis of the effects of direct instruction in special education. Education and Treatment of Children, 11 (4), 364–374.

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A substantial body of evidence is available to guide teacher preparation programs in developing a pre-service curriculum based on universal skills needed for success across settings, age ranges, and subjects being taught. These skills include instructional delivery, classroom management, formative assessment, and personal competencies (soft skills)

Cleaver, S., Detrich, R., States, J. & Keyworth, R. (2021). Curriculum Content for Teacher Training Overview . Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.

To produce better outcomes for students two things are necessary: (1) effective, scientifically supported interventions (2) those interventions implemented with high integrity.  Typically, much greater attention has been given to identifying effective practices.  This review focuses on features of high quality implementation.

Detrich, R. (2014). Treatment integrity: Fundamental to education reform. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 13 (2), 258-271.

Heward and Wood consider a range of instructional practices that were identified by participants of the eighth Wing Institute summit and make an argument that Active Student Responding (ASR) has the potential to significantly improve student learning. The authors consider ASR in the context of the positive benefits and the cost considerations including equipment/materials, training, logistical fit, and the fit with the teacher's belief about effective instruction.

Heward, W.L. & Wood, C.L. (2015). Improving Educational Outcomes in America: Can A Low-Tech, Generic Teaching Practice Make A Difference Retrieved from ../../uploads/docs/2013WingSummitWH.pdf.

This article shared information about the Wing Institute and demographics of the Summit participants. It introduced the Summit topic, sharing performance data on past efforts of school reform that focused on structural changes rather than teaching improvement. The conclusion is that the system has spent enormous resources with virtually no positive results. The focus needs to be on teaching improvement.

Keyworth, R., Detrich, R., & States, J. (2012). Introduction: Proceedings from the Wing Institute’s Fifth Annual Summit on Evidence-Based Education: Education at the Crossroads: The State of Teacher Preparation. In Education at the Crossroads: The State of Teacher Preparation (Vol. 2, pp. ix-xxx). Oakland, CA: The Wing

Keyworth, R., Detrich, R., & States, J. (2012). Introduction: Proceedings from the Wing Institute’s Fifth Annual Summit on Evidence-Based Education: Education at the Crossroads: The State of Teacher Preparation. In  Education at the Crossroads: The State of Teacher Preparation  (Vol. 2, pp. ix-xxx). Oakland, CA: The Wing

In this overview, classroom management strategies have been grouped into four essential areas: rules and procedures, proactive management, well-designed and delivered instruction, and disruptive behavior management. These strategies are devised for use at both school and classroom levels.

States, J., Detrich, R. & Keyworth, R. (2017).  Overview of Classroom Management. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.

This analysis examines the available research on effective teaching, how to impart these skills, and how to best transition teachers from pre-service to classroom with an emphasis on improving student achievement. It reviews current preparation practices and examine the research evidence on how well they are preparing teachers

States, J., Detrich, R. & Keywroth, R. (2012). Effective Teachers Make a Difference. In Education at the Crossroads: The State of Teacher Preparation (Vol. 2, pp. 1-46). Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.

This commentary review the critical competencies for teacher success in the classroom.

Twyman, J. S. (2013) Seven Habits of Superhero Teachers. Wing Institute. Date accessed: 5/7/14.

This paper argues that ineffective practices in schools carry a high price for consumers and suggests that school systems consider the measurable yield in terms of gains in student achievement for their schooling effort.

VanDerHeyden, A. (2013). Are we making the differences that matter in education. In R. Detrich, R. Keyworth, & J. States (Eds.), Advances in evidence- ‐ based education :   Vol  3 (pp. 119–138). Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. Retrieved from

Data Mining


The book is written for individuals interested in procedures for increasing consultation skills to assist parents, teachers, and other socialization agents to solve mental health and educational problems of children and youths.

This study was guided by a reduced version of the Self-System Process Model developed by Connell. This paper report the optimal and risk thresholds for the Student Performance and Commitment Index (SPCI) and engagement, and then data on how much engagement matters for later success in school are presented. 

Klem, A. M., & Connell, J. P. (2004). Relationships matter: Linking teacher support to student engagement and achievement.  Journal of school health ,  74 (7), 262-273.

This is a meta-analysis that examines teacher-student relations impact on student performance.

Learner-centered teacher-student relationships are effective: A meta-analysis Retrieved from;77/1/113.

This study compared the impact of long and short reprimands on children's off-task behavior in a classroom.

Abramowitz, A. J., O'Leary, S. G., & Futtersak, M. W. (1988). The relative impact of long and short reprimands on children's off-task behavior in the classroom. Behavior Therapy, 19(2), 243-247.

The main focus of this study is to find different kinds of variables that might contribute to variations in the strength and direction of the relationship by examining quantitative studies that relate mathematics teachers’ subject matter knowledge to student achievement in mathematics.

Ahn, S., & Choi, J. (2004). Teachers' Subject Matter Knowledge as a Teacher Qualification: A Synthesis of the Quantitative Literature on Students' Mathematics Achievement.  Online Submission .

Environmental features of elementary school classrooms are examined in relation to distraction and privacy. Teachers' adjustments of their activities to make their settings less distracting are also explored. 

Ahrentzen, S., & Evans, G. W. (1984). Distraction, privacy, and classroom design.  Environment and Behavior ,  16 (4), 437-454.

This study examines the effectiveness of simultaneous prompting in teaching naming relatives to

Akmanoglu-Uludag, N., & Batu, S. (2005). Teaching naming relatives to individuals with autism using simultaneous prompting. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 40(4), 401.

Value-added assessment proves that very good teaching can boost student learning and that family background does not determine a student's destiny. Students taught by highly effective teachers several years in a row earn higher test scores than students assigned to particularly ineffective teachers.

American Education Research Association (AERA). (2004). Teachers matter: Evidence from value-added assessments. Research Points, 2(2). Retrieved from Portals/38/docs/Publications/Teachers%20Matter.pdf

This article explores the theoretical underpinnings surrounding quality teaching in online settings as well as practical considerations for what teachers should know and be able to do in online environments. 

Archambault, L., DeBruler, K., & Freidhoff, J. (2014). K-12 online and blended teacher licensure: Striking a balance between policy and preparedness.  Journal of Technology and Teacher Education ,  22 (1), 83-106. Retrieved from and_blended _Teacher_licensure_Striking_a_balance_between_Policy_ and_Preparedness

This book gives special and general education teachers the tools to implement explicit instruction in any grade level or content area. The authors provide clear guidelines for identifying key concepts, skills, and routines to teach; designing and delivering effective lessons; and giving students opportunities to practice and master new material.

Archer, A., & Hughes, C. A. (2011). Explicit instruction: Efficient and effective teaching.  New York, NY: Guilford Publications .

This research objective was to study soft skills of new teachers in the secondary schools of Khon Kaen Secondary Educational Service Area 25, Thailand. The data were collected from 60 purposive samples of new teachers by interviewing and questionnaires. The results of this study were informed that new teachers have all of soft skills at high level totally. Communicative skills were highest among seven of soft skills and next Life-long learning and information management skills, Critical and problem solving skills, Team work skills, Ethics, moral and professional skills, Leadership skills and Innovation invention and development skills were lowest in all skills. Based on the research findings obtained, the sub-skills of seven soft skills will be considered and utilized in the package of teacher development program of next research.

Attakorn, K., Tayut, T., Pisitthawat, K., & Kanokorn, S. (2014). Soft skills of new teachers in the secondary schools of Khon Kaen Secondary Educational Service Area 25, Thailand.  Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences ,  112 , 1010-1013.

This study examined whether associations between teacher policies and student achievement were mediated by the teacher–student relationship climate. Results of this study were threefold. These findings are discussed in light of their educational policy implications.

Barile, J. P., Donohue, D. K., Anthony, E. R., Baker, A. M., Weaver, S. R., & Henrich, C. C. (2012). Teacher–student relationship climate and school outcomes: Implications for educational policy initiatives.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence ,  41 (3), 256-267.

The later effects of the Direct Instruction Follow Through program were assessed at five diverse sites. Low-income fifth and sixth graders who had completed the full 3 years of this first- through third-grade program were tested on the Metropolitan Achievement Test (Intermediate level) and the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT).

Becker, W. C., & Gersten, R. (1982). A follow-up of Follow Through: The later effects of the Direct Instruction Model on children in fifth and sixth grades.  American Educational Research Journal ,  19 (1), 75-92.

In this article aspects of lecturing are explored. Attention is given to explaining and to other strategies of lecturing and to the possibility of demarcating certain lecturing styles.

Behr, A. L. (1988). Exploring the lecture method: An empirical study.  Studies in Higher Education ,  13 (2), 189-200.

This well-written book on assertiveness clearly describes the non assertive, assertive, and aggressive styles of supervision. Each chapter provides numerous examples, practice exercises, and self-tests. The author identifies feelings and beliefs that support aggressiveness, non aggressiveness, or non assertiveness which help the reader "look beyond the words themselves."

Black, M. K. (1991). Assertive Supervision-Building Involved Teamwork.  The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing ,  22 (5), 224-224.

This paper is a review of the literature on classroom formative assessment.

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in education, 5(1), 7-74.

This is a review of the literature on classroom formative assessment. Several studies show firm evidence that innovations designed to strengthen the frequent feedback that students receive about their learning yield substantial learning gains.

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education: principles, policy & practice, 5(1), 7-74.

This paper theorizes that variations in learning and the level of learning of students are determined by the students' learning histories and the quality of instruction they receive.

Bloom, B. (1976). Human characteristics and school learning. New York: McGraw-Hill.

This study was conducted to create a reliable and valid low- to medium-inference, multidimensional measure of instructor clarity from seminal work across several academic fields. The five factors were explored in regards to their ability to predict the outcomes. Implications for instructional communication researchers are discussed.

Bolkan, S. (2017). Development and validation of the clarity indicators scale.  Communication Education ,  66 (1), 19-36.

The author shares nine teachable competencies that can serve as a principal's guide for empathy education. This paper will help answer which practices enhance empathy and how will principals know if teachers are implementing them effectively. 

Borba, M. (2018). Nine Competencies for Teaching Empathy.  Educational Leadership ,  76 (2), 22-28.

The purpose of this guide is to help district leaders take on the challenge of ensuring that students have equitable access to excellent teachers. It shares some early lessons the Education Trust has learned from districts about the levers available to prioritize low-income students and students of color in teacher quality initiatives. The guide outlines a seven-stage process that can help leaders define their own challenges, explore underlying causes, and develop strategies to ensure all schools and students have equitable access to effective teachers.

Bromberg, M. (2016). Achieving Equitable Access to Strong Teachers: A Guide for District Leaders.  Education Trust .

This paper, prepared as a chapter for the "Handbook of Research on Teaching" (third edition), reviews correlational and experimental research linking teacher behavior to student achievement. It focuses on research done in K-12 classrooms during 1973-83, highlighting several large-scale, programmatic efforts. 

Brophy, J., & Good, T. L. (1984). Teacher Behavior and Student Achievement. Occasional Paper No. 73.

This paper describes a survey of teachers trained in Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement (TESA). The study examined whether teachers: agreed that TESA interactions were useful with today's children; continued to practice the TESA coding and observation process after being trained; and would recommend TESA to colleagues. 

Cantor, J., Kester, D., & Miller, A. (2000). Amazing Results! Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement (TESA) Follow-Up Survey of TESA-Trained Teachers in 45 States and the District of Columbia.

This book provide detailed information on how to systematically and explicitly teach essential reading skills. The procedures describe in this text have been shown to benefit all student, especially powerful with the most vulnerable learners, children who are at risk because of poverty, disability, or limited knowledge of English. 

Carnine, D., Silbert, J., Kameenui, E. J., & Tarver, S. G. (1997).  Direct instruction reading . Columbus, OH: Merrill.

This book provides evidence-based principles of effective teaching. College students preparing to teach, new teachers struggling to find their way, and experienced teachers eager to hone their skills will benefit from this set of commonsense principles that, when practiced together, will markedly improve student performance.

Chance, P. (2008).  The teacher's craft: The 10 essential skills of effective teaching . Waveland PressInc.

This meta-analysis looks at the effectiveness of two strategies in teaching motor skills to students: practice and reciprocal. The research examined two of the 11 teaching strategies identified in Mosston’s Spectrum of Teaching Styles designed for teachers in physical education. Six studies met the criteria for inclusion in this paper. The practice strategy involves the student in the decision-making process. The reciprocal strategy assigns each learner to a specific role: One learner performs the task and the other is the observer who offers immediate and ongoing feedback using a criteria sheet designed by the teacher. At the end of the practice, the students switch roles.

The study showed a very large effect size of 1.16 for the practice strategy, and a large effect size of 0.94 for the reciprocal strategy. It would not be surprising to see these particularly large effect sizes moderated in subsequent replication studies (Makel & Plucker, 2014; van Aert & van Assen, 2018). The study confirms previous research on reciprocal teaching as an effective instructional strategy. Reciprocal teaching has been found to be a powerful strategy for teaching reading and other academic subjects. John Hattie (1995) reported an effect size of 0.74 for reciprocal teaching. The takeaway from this meta-analysis is that practice and reciprocal styles have positive effects on motor skill acquisition.

Chatoupis, C., & Vagenas, G. (2018). Effectiveness of the practice style and reciprocal style of teaching: A meta-analysis.  Physical Educator ,  75 (2), 175–194.

This study presents the Teacher Clarity Short Inventory (TCSI) as an alternative to existing measures of teacher clarity. Analyses revealed a 10 item scale with an acceptable factor structure, acceptable reliability and validity. 

Chesebro, J. L., & McCroskey, J. C. (1998). The development of the teacher clarity short inventory (TCSI) to measure clear teaching in the classroom.  Communication Research Reports ,  15 (3), 262-266.

Neither holding a college major in education nor acquiring a master's degree is correlated with elementary and middle school teaching effectiveness, regardless of the university at which the degree was earned. Teachers generally do become more effective with a few years of teaching experience, but we also find evidence that teachers may become less effective with experience, particularly later in their careers. 

Chingos, M. M., & Peterson, P. E. (2011). It's easier to pick a good teacher than to train one: Familiar and new results on the correlates of teacher effectiveness.  Economics of Education Review ,  30 (3), 449-465.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview for those interested in the current state‐of‐the‐art in time management research. The review demonstrates that time management behaviours relate positively to perceived control of time, job satisfaction, and health, and negatively to stress.

Claessens, B. J., Van Eerde, W., Rutte, C. G., & Roe, R. A. (2007). A review of the time management literature.  Personnel Review ,  36 (2), 255–276.

The purpose of this appear is to describe a school-wide staff development model that is based on a proactive instructional approach to solving problem behavior on a school-wide basis and utilizes effective staff development procedures. 

Colvin, G., Kameenui, E. J., & Sugai, G. (1993). Reconceptualizing behavior management and school-wide discipline in general education.  Education and treatment of children , 361-381.

This systematic review of the literature examines the evidence behind teacher-directed strategies to increase students’ opportunities to respond (OTR) during whole-group instruction. 

Common, E. A., Lane, K. L., Cantwell, E. D., Brunsting, N. C., Oakes, W. P., Germer, K. A., & Bross, L. A. (2019). Teacher-delivered strategies to increase students’ opportunities to respond: A systematic methodological review.  Behavioral Disorders , 0198742919828310.

This study sought to investigate the impact of a supplemental program’s script on the rate of on-task and off-task instructional opportunities offered by the instructor for students to practice the specific skills targeted in lesson exercises.

Cooke, N. L., Galloway, T. W., Kretlow, A. G., & Helf, S. (2011). Impact of the script in a supplemental reading program on instructional opportunities for student practice of specified skills.  The Journal of Special Education ,  45 (1), 28-42.

This book is a comprehensive description of the principles and procedures for systematic change of socially significant behavior. It includes basic principles, applications, and behavioral research methods.

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis.

The author reviewed about 1,000 articles to synthesize 119 studies from 1948 to 2004 with 1,450 findings and 355,325 students. The meta-analysis design followed Mackay, Barkham, Rees, and Stiles’s guidelines, including comprehensive search mechanisms, accuracy and bias control, and primary study validity assessment.

Cornelius-White, J. (2007). Learner-centered teacher-student relationships are effective: A meta-analysis.  Review of educational research ,  77 (1), 113-143.

This monograph summarizes a sample of programs and procedures demonstrated to work. Each program included in the monograph has been validated through solid scientific research.

Crandall, J., & Sloane, H. (1997). What works in education. Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

This article describes what communication strategies are and provides an overview of the teachability issue, discussing the arguments for and against strategy instruction, and suggests three possible reasons for the existing controversy. 

Dörnyei, Z. (1995). On the teachability of communication strategies.  TESOL quarterly ,  29 (1), 55-85.

The framework for teaching is a research-based set of components of instruction that are grounded in a constructivist view of learning and teaching. The framework defines four levels of performance--Unsatisfactory, Basic, Proficient, and Distinguished--for each element, providing a valuable tool that all teachers can use.

Danielson, C. (2007).  Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teaching . ASCD.

The authors respond to Dan Goldhaber and Dominic Brewer’s article in the Summer 2000 issue of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis that claimed from an analysis of NELS teacher and student data that teacher certification has little bearing on student achievement. Goldhaber and Brewer found strong and consistent evidence that, as compared with students whose teachers are uncertified, students achieve at higher levels in mathematics when they have teachers who hold standard certification in mathematics. 

Darling-Hammond, L., Berry, B., & Thoreson, A. (2001). Does teacher certification matter? Evaluating the evidence.  Educational evaluation and policy analysis ,  23 (1), 57-77.

Recent debates about the utility of teacher education have raised questions about whether certified teachers are, in general, more effective than those who have not met the testing and training requirements for certification, and whether some candidates with strong liberal arts backgrounds might be at least as effective as teacher education graduates.

Darling-Hammond, L., Holtzman, D. J., Gatlin, S. J., & Heilig, J. V. (2005). Does teacher preparation matter? Evidence about teacher certification, Teach for America, and teacher effectiveness.  Education Policy Analysis Archives/Archivos Analíticos de Políticas Educativas ,  13 , 1-48.

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) recently released a summary report of the impact of School Improvement Grants (SIG). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided states and school districts with $3 Billion for SIG. By accepting SIG grants states agreed to implement one of four interventions to improve the lowest performing schools: transformation, turnaround, restart, or closure. The goals of SIG were to improve practices in four main areas: (1) adopting comprehensive instructional reform strategies, (2) developing and increasing teacher and principal effectiveness, (3) increasing learning time and creating community-oriented schools, and (4) having operational flexibility and receiving support. The report finds minimal positive effects from the grants and no evidence that SIG had significant impacts on math and reading scores, graduation rates, or increased college enrollment.

Dragoset, L., Thomas, J., Herrmann, M., Deke, J., James-Burdumy, S., Graczewski, C., … & Giffin, J. (2017). School Improvement Grants: Implementation and Effectiveness (No. 76bce3f4bb0944f29a481fae0dbc7cdb). Mathematica Policy Research.

Reports a meta-analysis of research on the bases of teacher expectancies. The following conclusions were drawn: Student attractiveness, conduct, cumulative folder information, race, and social class were related to teacher expectancies. 

Dusek, J. B., & Joseph, G. (1983). The bases of teacher expectancies: A meta-analysis.  Journal of Educational psychology ,  75 (3), 327.

Collective teacher efficacy is an emergent school level variable reflecting a faculty’s collective belief in its ability to positively affect students. It has been linked in the literature to school achievement. The research questions addressed the distribution of effect sizes for the relationship and the moderator variables that could explain any variance found among the studies.

Eells, R. J. (2011).  Meta-analysis of the relationship between collective teacher efficacy and student achievement  (Doctoral dissertation, Loyola University Chicago).

This monograph presents a synthesis of the literature on empirically supported effective teaching principles that have been derived from research on behavioral, cognitive, social-learning, and other theories.

Ellis, E. S., Worthington, L. A., & Larkin, M. J. (1994).  research synthesis on effective teaching principles and the design of quality tools for educators. (Tech. Rep. No. 6). Eugene, OR: University of Oregon, National Center to Improve the Tools of Educators.

Classroom management is a topic of enduring concern for teachers, administrators, and the public. It consistently ranks as the first or second most serious educational problem in the eyes of the general public, and beginning teachers consistently rank it as their most pressing concern during their early teaching years. Management problems continue to be a major cause of teacher burnout and job dissatisfaction. Strangely, despite this enduring concern on the part of educators and the public, few researchers have chosen to focus on classroom management or to identify themselves with this critical field. 

Evertson, C. M., & Weinstein, C. S. (Eds.). (2013).  Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues.  New York, NY: Routledge.

The purpose of this commentary is to consider the crisis in education and the complex role teachers play in our society; to examine critically major aspects of the traditional modus operandi of behavior analysis that are counterproductive to teacher use; and to identify practices related to promoting greater teacher use and thereby enhancing the relevance of behavioral technology in education.

Fantuzzo, J., & Atkins, M. (1992). Applied behavior analysis for educators: Teacher centered and classroom based.  Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis ,  25 (1), 37.

Thirty-one studies were located in each of which students and faculty specified the instructional characteristics they considered particularly important to good teaching and effective instruction. 

Feldman, K. A. (1988). Effective college teaching from the students' and faculty's view: Matched or mismatched priorities?.  Research in Higher Education ,  28 (4), 291-329.

This paper aim to determine the correlation between teacher clarity and the mean class student learning (achievement gain) in normal public-education classes in English-speaking, industrialized countries.

Fendick, F. (1992). The correlation between teacher clarity of communication and student achievement gain: A meta-analysis.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of contingent teacher praise, as specified by Canter's Assertive Discipline programme, on children's on task behaviour. Continuous data collection indicated that following training in the appropriate use of praise, as specified by Canter, all three teachers successfully increased their rates of praising. Of the 24 children, all but one evidenced increases in levels of on‐task behaviour.

Ferguson, E. & Houghton, S. (1992). The effects of contingent teacher praise, as specified by Canter's Assertive Discipline programme, on children's on-task behaviour. Educational Studies, 18(1), 83-93.

This is a comprehensive literature review of the topic of Implementation examining all stages beginning with adoption and ending with sustainability.

Fixsen, D. L., Naoom, S. F., Blase, K. A., & Friedman, R. M. (2005). Implementation research: A synthesis of the literature.

This article examines the lecture as a pedagogical genre, as “a site where differences between media are negotiated” (Franzel) as these media coevolve. This examination shows the lecture as bridging oral communication with writing and newer media technologies, rather than as being superseded by newer electronic and digital forms.

Friesen, N. (2011). The lecture as a transmedial pedagogical form: A historical analysis.  Educational researcher ,  40 (3), 95-102.

This paper explain a three-stage process of Pilot Research, Formal Evaluation, and Scaling Up. Finally, we discuss several misconceptions about empirical research and researchers.

Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. S. (1998). Researchers and teachers working together to adapt instruction for diverse learners.  Learning Disabilities Research & Practice .

In this meta-analysis of studies that utilize formative assessment the authors report an effective size of .7.

Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (1986). Effects of Systematic Formative Evaluation: A Meta-Analysis. Exceptional Children , 53 (3), 199-208.

Research begun in the 1960s provided the impetus for teacher educators to urge classroom teachers to establish classroom rules, deliver high rates of verbal/nonverbal praise, and, whenever possible, to ignore minor student provocations.  The research also discuss several newer strategies that warrant attention.

Gable, R. A., Hester, P. H., Rock, M. L., & Hughes, K. G. (2009). Back to basics: Rules, praise, ignoring, and reprimands revisited.  Intervention in School and Clinic ,  44 (4), 195-205.

In this article, a case is made for improving the school success of ethnically diverse students through culturally responsive teaching and for preparing teachers in preservice education programs with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to do this.

Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching.  Journal of teacher education ,  53 (2), 106-116.

Combining insights from multicultural education theory with real-life classroom stories, this book demonstrates that all students will perform better on multiple measures of achievement when teaching is filtered through students’ own cultural experiences. This perennial bestseller continues to be the go-to resource for teacher professional learning and preservice courses.

Gay, G. (2018).  Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice . Teachers College Press.

High-school grades are often viewed as an unreliable criterion for college admissions, owing to differences in grading standards across high schools, while standardized tests are seen as methodologically rigorous, providing a more uniform and valid yardstick for assessing student ability and achievement. The present study challenges that conventional view. The study finds that high-school grade point average (HSGPA) is consistently the best predictor not only of freshman grades in college, the outcome indicator most often employed in predictive-validity studies, but of four-year college outcomes as well.

Geiser, S., & Santelices, M. V. (2007). Validity of High-School Grades in Predicting Student Success beyond the Freshman Year: High-School Record vs. Standardized Tests as Indicators of Four-Year College Outcomes. Research & Occasional Paper Series: CSHE. 6.07. Center for studies in higher education .

This chapter progresses four specific comp onents of “a practical application of time management”.

George, D. (2012).  A practical application of time management. Retrieved from

This paper provide a list of soft skills that are important for collaboration and teamwork, based on the authors own experience and from an opinion survey of team leaders. This paper also outline workable short courses for graduate schools to strengthen teamwork and collaboration skills among research students.

Gibert, A., Tozer, W. C., & Westoby, M. (2017). Teamwork, soft skills, and research training.  Trends in ecology & evolution ,  32 (2), 81-84.

This article evaluates the extent to which quantity of instruction influences time spent on self‐ study and achievement. The results suggest that time spent on self‐study is primarily a function of the degree of time allocated to instruction. 

Gijselaers, W. H., & Schmidt, H. G. (1995). Effects of quantity of instruction on time spent on learning and achievement.  Educational Research and Evaluation ,  1 (2), 183-201.

The article presents an overview of these tenets drawn from opinion positions, practical experiences, and empirical research studies. There is clear evidence that additional empirical research would be beneficial.

Gillard, S. (2009). Soft skills and technical expertise of effective project managers.  Issues in informing science & information technology ,  6 .

This book discuss how extrinsic incentives may come into conflict with other motivations and examine the research literature in which monetary incentives have been used in a nonemployment context to foster the desired behavior. The conclusion sums up some lessons on when extrinsic incentives are more or less likely to alter such behaviors in the desired directions.

Gneezy, U., Meier, S., & Rey-Biel, P. (2011). When and why incentives (don't) work to modify behavior.  Journal of Economic Perspectives ,  25 (4), 191-210.

The goal of this paper was to document and analyze the research on the connection between teachers' preparation to teach special education students, their instructional practices once in the classroom, and their students' eventual learning achievement 

Goe, L. (2006). The teacher preparation→ teacher practices→ student outcomes relationship in special education: Missing links and next steps: A research synthesis.  Washington, DC: National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. Retrieved September ,  3 , 2009.

FIFTY YEARS after the release of "Equality of Educational Opportunity"--widely known as the Coleman Report--much of what James Coleman and his colleagues reported holds up well to scrutiny. It is, in fact, remarkable to read through the 700-plus pages and see how little has changed about what the empirical evidence says matters. The report's conclusions about the importance of teacher quality, in particular, have stood the test of time, which is noteworthy, given that today's studies of the impacts of teachers use more-sophisticated statistical methods and employ far better data.

Goldhaber, D. (2016). In schools, teacher quality matters most: today's research reinforces Coleman's findings.  Education Next ,  16 (2), 56-63.

This paper examines the consequences of having an apprentice teacher for 4-8 graders in the state of Washington. 

Goldhaber, D., Krieg, J. M., & Theobald, R. (2020). Exploring the impact of student teaching apprenticeships on student achievement and mentor teachers.  Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness , 1-22.

This report provides information about new teachers' preparation experiences and explores whether particular types of experiences are related to teachers' effectiveness in improving their students' test scores. Prior research indicates that teaching effectiveness is the largest in-school factor affecting student achievement.

Goodson, B., Caswell, L., Price, C., Litwok, D., Dynarski, M., Crowe, E., ... & Rice, A. (2019). Teacher Preparation Experiences and Early Teaching Effectiveness. Executive Summary. NCEE 2019-4010.  National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance .

The report analyzes the evidence supporting those teaching methods commonly employed to increase student competency in becoming a fluent writer. The guide is for teachers, literacy coaches, principals, districts, and curriculum developers, and other educators.

Graham, S., Bollinger, A., Olson, C. B., D’Aoust, C., MacArthur, C., McCutchen, D., & Olinghouse, N. (2012). Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers: A Practice Guide. NCEE 2012-4058.  What Works Clearinghouse .

This study examined teachers' relational approach to discipline as a predictor of high school students' behavior and their trust in teacher authority. 

Gregory, A., & Ripski, M. B. (2008). Adolescent trust in teachers: Implications for behavior in the high school classroom.  School Psychology Review ,  37 (3), 337.

This quantitative review examines 20 studies to establish an effect size of .71 for the impact of “metacognitive” instruction on reading comprehension.

Haller, E. P., Child, D. A., & Walberg, H. J. (1988). Can comprehension be taught? A quantitative synthesis of “metacognitive” studies. Educational researcher, 17 (9), 5-8.

This report and podcast examines the scientific basis for how to teach reading to children. This investigation reveals how children learn to read, emphasizing the five critical components of reading instruction. 

Hanford, E, (2018). Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read? American Public Media (APM). Retrieved from

This chapter of  Handbook of The Economics of Education reviews research on teacher labor markets, the importance of teacher quality in the determination of student achievement, and the extent to which specific observable characteristics often related to hiring decisions and salary explain the variation in the quality of instruction.

Hanushek, E. A., & Rivkin, S. G. (2006). Teacher quality. In E. A. Hanushek & F. Welch (Eds.),  Handbook of the economics of education,  vol. 2 (pp. 1051–1078). Amsterdam, Netherlands: North Holland.

This new research addresses a number of critical questions:  Are a teacher’s cognitive skills a good predictor of teacher quality? This study examines the student achievement of 36 developed countries in the context of teacher cognitive skills. This study finds substantial differences in teacher cognitive skills across countries that are strongly related to student performance.

Hanushek, E. A., Piopiunik, M., & Wiederhold, S. (2014).  The value of smarter teachers: International evidence on teacher cognitive skills and student performance  (No. w20727). National Bureau of Economic Research.

The authors study the effects of various types of education and training on the ability of teachers to promote student achievement.

Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2011). Teacher training, teacher quality and student achievement.  Journal of Public Economics ,  95 (7–8), 798-812.

Hattie’s book is designed as a meta-meta-study that collects, compares and analyses the findings of many previous studies in education. Hattie focuses on schools in the English-speaking world but most aspects of the underlying story should be transferable to other countries and school systems as well. Visible Learning is nothing less than a synthesis of more than 50.000 studies covering more than 80 million pupils. Hattie uses the statistical measure effect size  to compare the impact of many influences on students’ achievement, e.g. class size, holidays, feedback, and learning strategies.

Hattie, J. (2008). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement . New York, NY: Routledge.

This influential book is the result of 15 years research that includes over 800 meta-analyses on the influences on achievement in school-aged students. This is a great resource for any stakeholder interested in conducting a serious search of evidence behind common models and practices used in schools.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning. A synthesis of over, 800.

Offering a concise introduction into the ‘Visible Learning Story’, the book provides busy teachers with a guide to why the Visible Learning research is so vital and the difference it can make to learning outcomes.

Hattie, J., & Zierer, K. (2019).  Visible Learning Insights . Routledge.

This book reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. Along the way, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds draw their power from the same six traits.

Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2007).  Made to stick: Why some ideas survive and others die . Random House.

This book for teachers in the area of Special Education looks at highly effective, research-based practices described in a very step-by-step, applied manner.

Heward, W. L. (2012). Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education. Pearson.

This outstanding textbook presents innovative interventions for youth with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. Community Treatment for Youth is designed to fill a gap between the knowledge base and clinical practice through its presentation of theory, practice parameters, training requirements, and research evidence.

Hoagwood, K. I. M. B. E. R. L. Y., Burns, B. J., & Weisz, J. R. (2002). A profitable conjunction: From science to service in children’s mental health.  Community treatment for youth: Evidence-based interventions for severe emotional and behavioral disorders , 327-338.

This special issue addresses a general question that is at the heart of much research in applied linguistics and second language acquisition (SLA): What makes a second or foreign language (L2) user, or a native speaker for that matter, a more or less proficient language user?

Housen, A., & Kuiken, F. (2009). Complexity, accuracy, and fluency in second language acquisition. Applied linguistics, 30(4), 461-473. Retrieved from

This paper investigates organizational characteristics and conditions in schools that drive staffing problems and teacher turnover.

Ingersoll, R. (2001). Teacher turnover and teacher shortages: An organizational analysis. American Educational Research Journal, 38 (3), 499-534.

Focusing on elementary classrooms, chapters include: Students' Feelings about School; Involvement and Withdrawal in the Classroom; Teachers Views; The Need for New Perspectives.

Jackson, P. W. (1990).  Life in classrooms . Teachers College Press.

This report analyses whether and how highperforming systems have supported the subject expertise of their elementary school teachers.

Jensen, B., Roberts-Hull, K., Magee, J., & Ginnivan, L. (2016).  Not so elementary: Primary school teacher quality in high-performing systems . Washington, DC: National Center on Education and the Economy.

Demonstrates the experimenting society model using data-based decision making and collaborative consultation to evaluate behavior-management intervention strategies in 25 seventh graders. Each intervention results in improved behavior, but active teaching of classroom rules was determined to be most effective. 

Johnson, T. C., Stoner, G., & Green, S. K. (1996). Demonstrating the Experimenting Society Model with Classwide Behavior Management Interventions.  School Psychology Review ,  25 (2), 199-214.

This study investigated the effects of training preschool teachers to use environmental arrangement and milieu teaching in interactions with children using augmented communication systems. Three teachers were taught seven environmental strategies and four milieu teaching procedures through written materials, lecture, modeling, role-playing, and feedback.

Kaiser, A. P., Ostrosky, M. M., & Alpert, C. L. (1993). Training teachers to use environmental arrangement and milieu teaching with nonvocal preschool children.  Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps ,  18 (3), 188-199.

The authors examined the effectiveness of self-monitoring for increasing the rates of teacher praise statements and the acceptability of using this technique for teachers. This study's results support the use of self-monitoring to increase effective teaching practices, namely praise, and further demonstrates high social validity for the participant and the students.

Kalis, T. M., Vannest, K. J., & Parker, R. (2007). Praise counts: Using self-monitoring to increase effective teaching practices.  Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth ,  51 (3), 20-27.

The nature of effective instruction for students with specific learning disability is explored.

Kavale, K. A. (2005). Effective Intervention for Students with Specific Learning Disability: The Nature of Special Education.  Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal ,  13 (4), 127-138.

Responsiveness to intervention (RTI) is being proposed as an alternative model for making decisions about the presence or absence of specific learning disability. The author argue that there are many questions about RTI that remain unanswered, and radical changes in proposed regulations are not warranted at this time.

Kavale, K. A. (2005). Identifying specific learning disability: Is responsiveness to intervention the answer?.  Journal of Learning Disabilities ,  38 (6), 553-562.

This meta-analysis examines the impact of formative assessment.

Kingston, N., & Nash, B. (2011). Formative assessment: A meta?analysis and a call for research. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 30(4), 28-37.

The authors proposed a preliminary FI theory (FIT) and tested it with moderator analyses. The central assumption of FIT is that FIs change the locus of attention among 3 general and hierarchically organized levels of control: task learning, task motivation, and meta-tasks (including self-related) processes.

Kluger, A. N., & DeNisi, A. (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory.  Psychological bulletin ,  119 (2), 254.

This book offers strategies that make a difference in student learning including: content planning, instructional practices, and community building.

Knight, J. (2013). High-impact Instruction: A Framework for Great Teaching. Corwin Press.

The authors introduce Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) as a way of representing what teachers need to know about technology and argue for the role of authentic design-based activities in the development of this knowledge.

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2005). What happens when teachers design educational technology? The development of technological pedagogical content knowledge.  Journal of Educational Computing Research, 32 (2) 131–152.

This meta-analysis of findings from 108 studies shows mastery learning programs have positive effects on the examination performance of students in colleges, high schools, and the upper grades in elementary schools.

Kulik, C. L. C., Kulik, J. A., & Bangert-Drowns, R. L. (1990). Effectiveness of mastery learning programs: A meta-analysis. Review of educational research, 60(2), 265-299.

This article discusses differences that are hypothesized to exist between hard‐ (technical) and soft‐ (intrapersonal and interpersonal) skills training that we believe impact the degree of training transfer achieved. 

Laker, D. R., & Powell, J. L. (2011). The differences between hard and soft skills and their relative impact on training transfer.  Human Resource Development Quarterly ,  22 (1), 111-122.

This study examined the effectiveness of social skills instruction for seven elementary-age students at risk for antisocial behavior who were unresponsive to a school wide primary intervention program

Lane, K. L., Wehby, J., Menzies, H. M., Doukas, G. L., Munton, S. M., & Gregg, R. M. (2003). Social skills instruction for students at risk for antisocial behavior: The effects of small-group instruction.  Behavioral Disorders ,  28 (3), 229-248.

This study uses longitudinal administrative data to examine the relationship between third- grade reading level and four educational outcomes: eighth-grade reading performance, ninth-grade course performance, high school graduation, and college attendance.

Lesnick, J., Goerge, R., Smithgall, C., & Gwynne, J. (2010). Reading on grade level in third grade: How is it related to high school performance and college enrollment. Chicago: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, 1, 12.

in this article, the author describes the policies of precision teaching. 

Lindsley, O. R. (1990). Precision teaching: By teachers for children. Teaching Exceptional Children , 22 (3), 10-15.

The authors examined the effects of pullout small-group and teacher-directed classroom-based social skills instruction on the social behaviors of five third- and fourth-grade students at risk for emotional or behavioral disorders.

Lo, Y. Y., Loe, S. A., & Cartledge, G. (2002). The effects of social skills instruction on the social behaviors of students at risk for emotional or behavioral disorders.  Behavioral Disorders ,  27 (4), 371-385.

The successful implementation of school-based behavioral interventions requires school personnel to be competent with program content and procedures. An unfortunate trend within school-based behavioral intervention research is that the core intervention components and implementation features are often not fully described.

Maggin, D. M., & Johnson, A. H. (2015). The reporting of core program components: an overlooked barrier for moving research into practice.  Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth ,  59 (2), 73-82.

In this special issue, this Journal introduce a fourth peer teaching model, Classwide Student Tutoring Teams. This journal also provide a comprehensive analysis of common and divergent programmatic components across all four models and discuss the implications of this analysis for researchers and practitioners alike.

Maheady, L., Mallette, B., & Harper, G. F. (2006). Four classwide peer tutoring models: Similarities, differences, and implications for research and practice.  Reading & Writing Quarterly ,  22 (1), 65-89.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a model for more effective data-driven decision making in classrooms, schools, and districts.

Mandinach, E. B., Honey, M., & Light, D. (2006, April). A theoretical framework for data-driven decision making. In annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

This research synthesis examines instructional research in a functional manner to provide guidance for classroom practitioners.

Marzano, R. J. (1998). A Theory-Based Meta-Analysis of Research on Instruction.

How does classroom management affect student achievement? What techniques do  teachers find most effective? How important are schoolwide policies and practices in setting  the tone for individual classroom management? In this follow-up to What Works in Schools,  Robert J. Marzano analyzes research from more than 100 studies on classroom  management to discover the answers to these questions and more. He then applies these  findings to a series of" Action Steps"--specific strategies.

Marzano, R. J., Marzano, J. S., & Pickering, D. (2003).  Classroom management that works: Research-based strategies for every teacher.  Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

This is a study of classroom management on student engagement and achievement.

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Ascd

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) identified five studies of NBPTS certification that both fall within the scope of the Teacher Training, Evaluation, and Compensation topic area and meet WWC group design standards.

Mathematica Policy Research (2018). What Works Clearinghouse Intervention Report: National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Retrieved from .

This research examines the relationship between noise and preschool children's acquisition of prereading skills, environmental factors in preschool inclusive classrooms, and children's use of outdoorplay equipment.

Maxwell, L. E. (1996). Multiple effects of home and day care crowding. Environment and Behavior, 28(4), 494-511.

This study provides a description of 34 practicing teachers' beliefs regarding the role of empathy as an attribute in their effectiveness with culturally diverse students. Empathy involves cognitive, affective, and behavioral components that teachers believed were manifested in their practice.

McAllister, G., & Irvine, J. J. (2002). The role of empathy in teaching culturally diverse students: A qualitative study of teachers’ beliefs.  Journal of teacher education ,  53 (5), 433-443.

This report offers recommendations for the implementation of standards-based reform and outlines possible consequences for policy changes. It summarizes both the vision and intentions of standards-based reform and the arguments of its critics.

McLaughlin, M. W., & Shepard, L. A. (1995).  Improving Education through Standards-Based Reform. A Report by the National Academy of Education Panel on Standards-Based Education Reform . National Academy of Education, Stanford University, CERAS Building, Room 108, Stanford, CA 94305-3084..

The constituent parts of a five component behavioural intervention package are described and the effect of the intervention on the on‐task behaviour of two “disruptive” secondary school classes reported. 

McNamara, E., Evans, M., & Hill, W. (1986). The reduction of disruptive behaviour in two secondary school classes.  British Journal of Educational Psychology ,  56 (2), 209-215.

Less than 1 in 5 general education teachers feel “very well prepared” to teach students with mild to moderate learning disabilities, including ADHD and dyslexia, according to a new survey from two national advocacy groups.

Mitchell, C. (2019, May 29). Most classroom teachers feel unprepared to support students with disabilities.  Education Week .

The current study examined methods for training teachers to use functional analysis methods.

Moore, J. W., Edwards, R. P., Sterling‐Turner, H. E., Riley, J., DuBard, M., & McGeorge, A. (2002). Teacher acquisition of functional analysis methodology.  Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis ,  35 (1), 73-77.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of group inservice training plus written and verbal feedback on four Head Start teachers’ use of incidental teaching. D

Mudd, J. M., & Wolery, M. (1987). Training head start teachers to use incidental teaching.  Journal of the Division for Early Childhood ,  11 (2), 124-134.

This book is designed to help the reader fully comprehend teacher leadership as a pathway to school improvement.

Murphy, J. (2005).  Connecting teacher leadership and school improvement . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

This book introduces the foundations of the recently revised professional educational leadership standards and provides an in-depth explanation and application of each one.

Murphy, J. F. (2016).  Professional standards for educational leaders: The empirical, moral, and experiential foundations . Corwin Press.

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 ESEA Reauthorization

No child left behind act of 2001.  Publ. L , 107-110. (2002)

This Campbell systematic review examines the effect of multi‐component teacher classroom management programmes on disruptive or aggressive student behaviour and which management components are most effective.

Oliver, R. M., Wehby, J. H., & Reschly, D. J. (2011). Teacher classroom management practices: Effects on disruptive or aggressive student behavior.  Campbell Systematic Reviews ,  7 (1), 1-55.

Two instructional studies directed at the comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoringactivitiesof seventhgrade poor comprehendersare reported

Palinscar, A. S., & Brown, A. L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities.  Cognition and instruction ,  1 (2), 117-175.

This study examined the hypothesis that teachers’ and students’ assessment of preferred LS correspond. The study found no relationship between pupils’ self-assessment and teachers’ assessment. Teachers’ and students’ answers didn’t match up. The study suggests that teachers cannot assess the LS of their students accurately.

Papadatou-Pastou, M., Gritzal, M., & Barrable, A. (2018). The Learning Styles educational neuromyth: Lack of agreement between teachers’ judgments, self-assessment, and students’ intelligence. Frontiers in Education, 3, 1-5. [105].

This research synthesis examines randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental research on the mathematics achievement outcomes for elementary school programs. The best outcomes were found for tutoring programs. The findings suggest that programs emphasizing personalization, engagement, and motivation are most impactful in elementary mathematics instruction.

Pellegrini, M., Lake, C., Inns, A, & , Slavin, R. (2018). Effective programs in elementary mathematics: A best-evidence synthesis.  Best Evidence Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Research using student scores on standardized tests confirms the common perception that some teachers are more effective than others. It also reveals that being taught by an effective teacher has important consequences for student achievement. The best way to assess a teacher's effectiveness is to look at his or her on-the-job performance.

RAND Education. (2012). Teachers matter: Understanding teachers’ impact on student achievement , Santa Monica, Calif.: Author. Retrieved from

Our nation faces a daunting challenge in making sure that we have a sufficient supply of well-educated, well-prepared teachers for our children. There is surely widespread agreement that good teachers are vital to our future. However, there is not widespread agreement about how we accomplish this goal. Some propose that we raise standards for entry into the teaching profession, while others suggest that we lower unnecessary barriers.

Ravitch, D. (2003, August 23).  A brief history of teacher professionalism.  U. S. Department of Education, White House Conference on Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers.

The terms cloze procedure and cohesion are associated with reading development. Specifically, doze applies to the testing and teaching of reading while cohesion applies to a description of how the way in which reading material is written can affect reading development. 

Raymond, P. (1988). Cloze procedure in the teaching of reading.  TESL Canada Journal, 6 (1), 91–97. 

In order to provide accurate estimates of how much teachers affect the achievement of their students, this study used panel data covering over a decade of elementary student test scores and teacher assignment in two contiguous New Jersey school districts.

Rockoff, J. E. (2004). The impact of individual teachers on student achievement: Evidence from panel data.  American economic review ,  94 (2), 247-252.

The present study assessed the relative strength of daily rule review and rehearsal on student behavior when such procedures were added to a token economy. The token program was designed to increase appropriate classroom behaviors of disruptive boys attending a multi categorical resource room.

Rosenberg, M. S. (1986). Maximizing the effectiveness of structured classroom management programs: Implementing rule-review procedures with disruptive and distractible students.  Behavioral Disorders ,  11 (4), 239-248.

The editors of  What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction  present the most recent research on fluency and show how you can put it into practice. 

Samuels, S. J., & Farstrup, A. E. (Eds.). (2006). What research has to say about fluency instruction. International Reading Association.

The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System determines the effectiveness of school systems, schools, and teachers based on student academic growth over time. Research conducted utilizing data from the TVAAS database has shown that race, socioeconomic level, class size, and classroom heterogeneity are poor predictors of student academic growth. Rather, the effectiveness of the teacher is the major determinant of student academic progress.

Sanders, W. L., & Rivers, J. C. (1996). Cumulative and residual effects of teachers on future student academic achievement.

This article discuss how "Micro-Credentialing" offer an opportunity to shift away from credit-hour and continuing-education requirements that dominate the PD apparatus in most states, toward a system based on evidence of progress in specific instructional skills.

Sawchuk, S. (2016). Can "Micro-Credentialing" Salvage Teacher PD?. Education Week.  Retrieved from

This book looks at research and theoretical models used to define educational effectiveness with the intent on providing educators with evidence-based options for implementing school improvement initiatives that make a difference in student performance.

Scheerens, J. and Bosker, R. (1997). The Foundations of Educational Effectiveness. Oxford:Pergmon

This is a meta-analysis of research published from 1980 to 2004 on the effect of specific science teaching strategies on student achievement.

Schroeder, C. M., Scott, T. P., Tolson, H., Huang, T. Y., & Lee, Y. H. (2007). A meta?analysis of national research: Effects of teaching strategies on student achievement in science in the United States. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(10), 1436-1460.

Teacher-centered instruction implies a high degree of teacher direction and a focus of students on academic tasks. And it vividly contrasts with student-centered or constructivist approaches in establishing a leadership role for the teacher

Schug, M. C. (2003). Teacher-centereed instruction.  Where did social studies go wrong , 94-110.

This popular practitioner guide and text presents an effective, problem-solving-based approach to evaluating and remediating academic skills problems. The author provides practical strategies for working with students across all grade levels (K–12) who are struggling with reading, spelling, written language, or math. 

Shapiro, E. S. (2011).  Academic skills problems: Direct assessment and intervention . Guilford Press.

The purpose of this article was to describe the developmental effects of one elementary physical education teacher's proactive teaching of prosocial behavior. An ABA (B) design coupled with a control group comparison across six matched urban physical education classes was used to assess the teaching strategy.

Sharpe, T., Crider, K., Vyhlidal, T., & Brown, M. (1996). Description and effects of prosocial instruction in an elementary physical education setting.  Education & Treatment of Children ,  19 (4), 435.

The goal of this paper is to provide a general understanding for teachers and administrators of the concepts of validity and reliability; thereby, giving them the confidence to develop their own assessments with clarity of these terms.

Shillingburg. W. (2016). Understanding validity and reliability in classroom, school-wide, or district-wide assessments to be used in teacher/principal evaluations. Retrieved from

As the successor to one of NASP's most popular publications,  Interventions for Academic and Behavior Problems II  offers the latest in evidence-based measures that have proven to create safer, more effective schools.

Shinn, M. R., Walker, H. M., & Stoner, G. E. (2002).  Interventions for academic and behavior problems II: Preventive and remedial approaches . National Association of School Psychologists.

In this strategy guide, you will learn how to organize students and classroom topics to encourage a high degree of classroom participation and assist students in developing a conceptual understanding of a topic through the use of the Think-Pair-Share technique.

Simon, C. A. (2019). National Council of Teachers of English. Using the think-pair-share technique. Retrieved from 

In this grounded theory study, 19 teachers were interviewed and then, in constant comparative fashion, the interview data were analyzed. The theoretical model that emerged from the data describes novice teachers' tendencies to select and implement differing strategies related to the severity of student behavior. 

Smart, J. B., & Igo, L. B. (2010). A grounded theory of behavior management strategy selection, implementation, and perceived effectiveness reported by first-year elementary teachers.  The Elementary School Journal ,  110 (4), 567-584.

Several barriers can impede critical thinking instruction. However, actively engaging students in project-based or collaborative activities can encourage students’ critical thinking development if instructors model the thinking process, use effective questioning techniques, and guide students’ critical thinking processes.

Snyder, L. G., & Snyder, M. J. (2008). Teaching critical thinking and problem solving skills.  The Journal of Research in Business Education ,  50 (2), 90.

This book is written for school administrators, staff developers, behavior specialists, and instructional coaches to offer guidance in implementing research-based practices that establish effective classroom management in schools. The book provides administrators with practical strategies to maximize the impact of professional development. 

Sprick, et al. (2010). Coaching Classroom Management: Strategies & Tools for Administrators & Coaches . Pacific Northwest Publishing.

States, J., Detrich, R. & Keywroth, R. (2012). Effective Teachers Make a Difference. In  Education at the Crossroads: The State of Teacher Preparation  (Vol. 2, pp. 1-46). Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.

This book examines issues pertaining to making effective hiring decisions. The authors present a research-based interview protocol built on quality indicators.

Stronge, J. and Hindman, J., (2006). Teacher Quality Index. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

This study has 2 purposes: examine the effect of an observation-feedback intervention on the rate of a teacher's behavior-specific praise of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) and the effect of increased rates of a teacher's behavior-specific praise on the on-task behavior of a class of students with EBD.

Sutherland, K. S., Wehby, J. H., & Copeland, S. R. (2000). Effect of varying rates of behavior-specific praise on the on-task behavior of students with EBD.  Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders ,  8 (1), 2-8.

This article summarize changes and challenges that school personnel will face in order to implement The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA).

"The Mirage" describes the widely held perception among education leaders that they already know how to help teachers improve, and that they could achieve their goal of great teaching in far more classrooms if they just applied what they knew more widely.

TNTP. (2015).  The Mirage: Confronting the truth about our quest for teacher development . Retrieved from:

This study investigated preservice teachers' perceived barriers for implementing multicultural curriculum with preservice teachers as they began their teacher education program.

Van Hook, C. W. (2002). Preservice teachers' perceived barriers to the implementation of a multicultural curriculum.  Journal of Instructional Psychology ,  29 (4), 254-265.

Keeping RTI on Track is a resource to assist educators overcome the biggest problems associated with false starts or implementation failure. Each chapter in this book calls attention to a common error, describing how to avoid the pitfalls that lead to false starts, how to determine when you're in one, and how to get back on the right track.

Vanderheyden, A. M., & Tilly, W. D. (2010). Keeping RTI on track: How to identify, repair and prevent mistakes that derail implementation. LRP Publications.

This literature review examines the impact of various instructional methods

Walberg H. J. (1999). Productive teaching. In H. C. Waxman & H. J. Walberg (Eds.) New directions for teaching, practice, and research (pp. 75-104). Berkeley, CA: McCutchen Publishing.

This study examined the social attitudes related to race, gender, age, and ability among senior level health education students at a mid-sized university in the southeast by means of a personally experienced critical incident involving a cross-cultural incident. 

Wasson, D. H., & Jackson, M. H. (2002). Assessing cross-cultural sensitivity awareness: A basis for curriculum change.  Journal of Instructional Psychology ,  29 (4), 265-277.

Wenglinsky, H. (2002). How schools matter: The link between teacher classroom practices and student academic performance.  Education Policy Analysis Archives, 10 (12).

Studies of the effectiveness of Direct Instruction programs with special education students  were examined in a meta-analysis comparison. To be included, the outcomes had to be  compared with outcomes for some other treatment to which students were assigned prior to  any interventions. Not one of 25 studies showed results favoring the comparison groups.  Fifty-three percent of the outcomes significantly favored DI with an average magnitude of  effect of. 84 standard deviation units. The effects were not restricted to a particular handicapping condition, age group or skill area. 

White, W. A. T. (1988). A meta-analysis of the effects of direct instruction in special education.  Education and Treatment of Children, 11 (4), 364–374.

This paper considers what the research can tell us about how critical thinking is acquired, and the implications for how education might best develop young people’s critical thinking capabilities.

Willingham, D. (2019). How to teach critical thinking. New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education.

Help your students understand the perspectives of other people with these tried-and-tested methods.

Wilson, D., & Conyers, M. (2017).  4 proven strategies for teaching empathy. Edutopia. Retrieved from

This study evaluated the effects of performance feedback on increasing the quality of implementation of interventions by teachers in a public school setting.

Witt, J. C., Noell, G. H., LaFleur, L. H., & Mortenson, B. P. (1997). Teacher use of interventions in general education settings: Measurement and analysis of ?the independent variable. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30 (4), 693.

Four groups of preservice teachers participating in student teaching seminars were randomly assigned to one of three conditions to test the effectiveness of brief training in time-management techniques. 

Woolfolk, A. E., & Woolfolk, R. L. (1986). Time management: An experimental investigation.  Journal of school Psychology ,  24 (3), 267-275.

This study compares the effect size and return on investment for rapid assessment, between, increased spending, voucher programs, charter schools, and increased accountability.

Yeh, S. S. (2007). The cost-effectiveness of five policies for improving student achievement. American Journal of Evaluation, 28(4), 416-436.

This policy brief surveys historical and contemporary trends in teacher preparation, and explores what is known about the quality of five of the most prominent independent teacher education programs in the U.S., including their impact on teacher quality and student learning. The author's analysis demonstrates that claims regarding the success of such programs are not substantiated by peer-reviewed research and program evaluations.

Zeichner, K. (2016). Independent Teacher Education Programs: Apocryphal Claims, Illusory Evi-dence. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from

The purpose of this study was to synthesize the literature in support of training teachers to use behavior-specific praise, which is a strategy used to reduce students’ disruptive and off-task behavior as well as prevent students’ problem behaviors from occurring. 

Zoder-Martell, K. A., Floress, M. T., Bernas, R. S., Dufrene, B. A., & Foulks, S. L. (2019). Training Teachers to Increase Behavior-Specific Praise: A Meta-Analysis.  Journal of Applied School Psychology , 1-30.

The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) is dedicated to supporting state education leaders in their efforts to grow, respect, and retain great teachers and leaders for all students.

You’ve graduated college, completed your student teaching, earned your teaching credential, been offered a position, and are ready to jump into the classroom head first. But before your first day, it’s important to recognize the challenges that await many new teachers. According to the Learning Policy Institute , studies show that between 19 and 30 percent of teachers leave within their first five years due to low pay, lack of administrative support, poor work conditions, and other reasons. And the first year can be the most challenging of all. Teachers like you are the cornerstone of our educational system, but often lack the resources needed to succeed – or aren’t sure where to find them.

We’re here to fill that gap with this guide, which provides meaningful support through helpful resources and expert tips, whether you’re teaching Pre-K children or college freshmen. Read on to learn how you and other teachers can make it through your first year and come out stronger on the other side.

The National Council on Teacher Quality works to achieve fundamental changes in the policy and practices of teacher preparation programs, school districts, state governments, and teachers unions.

The goal of the WWC is a resource for informed education decision-making. The WWC identifies evidence-based practice, program, or policy, and disseminates summary information on the WWC website.

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Becoming Your Best: Building Professional Competencies

Young professionals in a meeting room

You are here

My career in early childhood education has been an unexpected adventure, giving me an expanded view of life outside the classroom. Before my current role supporting early education programs pursuing NAEYC accreditation, I was a preschool teacher for five years. As much as I loved teaching, I also had a passion for policy that brought me to Washington, DC. Now, I’m honored to help teachers have a voice in education policy and support high-quality programs for children.

While the primary focus of your job as a teacher is educating and caring for young children, there’s growing momentum for teachers to take charge of their profession. I’ve gathered the following be-your-best ideas for busy teachers regarding competencies, professionalism, and support from my time as a teacher, an advocate, and a trainer (and continuous learner!) working with programs from coast to coast.

teaching competencies essay

1. Be knowledgeable

While many teachers don’t focus on their program’s general employment policies—sick leave and vacation, coverage and break times, and health care benefits—these things directly impact how you practice in the field. For example, knowing that NAEYC calls for staff to have planning time built into the schedule, as opposed to the common expectation that teachers will do this work in their personal time, can help you advocate for work–life balance. Make sure you understand policy implications and participate in staff meetings in which policies are reviewed. If you don’t know when the program policy reviews occur, ask for a schedule and to be included.

2. Be self-aware

In a typical office job, you can step away for a coffee break if you feel stressed, but the pressures of coverage and teacher-to-child ratios can quickly make a teacher feel overwhelmed. Take time for your mental health and ask for breaks away from the classroom when needed. You’ll be a better teacher for the children when you’re at your best.

3. Be vocal

Working at an advocacy organization in Washington, DC, I saw that classroom teachers had the greatest impact when they addressed issues like teacher salaries or class size from their unique perspectives and experiences. I became much more passionate about speaking for the field when I found that leaders listened to the real-life challenges I had faced in my classroom. I also saw how many opportunities to influence policy we miss by not speaking up. You know (and research demonstrates) how crucial your role with children is, so find ways to advocate for the importance of early childhood education and increase support at local, state, and federal levels. It can be as simple as posting on social media about your work or having the children in your classroom draw and write messages to mail to your representatives!

4. Be ethical

Part of what defines a profession is having a set of ethical guidelines for practice. Doing what is right for children starts with agreed-upon guidelines for interactions in your classroom, with your fellow educators, and with the families you serve. When I was working in an infant classroom, we focused on partnering with families to understand their specific preferences for their child’s feeding, napping, emotional support, and more. I used the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct to guide me as I developed relationships with families. It reminded me that it’s important “to acknowledge families’ childrearing values and their right to make decisions for their children,” especially when I felt tension between meeting the needs of an individual child and supporting all the children in my care.

5. Be educated

While a degree alone does not make a high-quality teacher, it’s important to have knowledge of child development. For example, through studying child psychology I’ve learned that toddlers act out, such as by biting, because of some sort of emotional trigger. Biting is a way to communicate distress, so instead of punishing the child, it’s important to figure out the action or situation that causes the biting—strategies I’ve learned through child development coursework. Even if college seems out of reach, start by taking a course or even attending a single lecture at a local college. You’ll support the children better in their learning by being a lifelong learner yourself.

6. Be passionate

An easy way to start your own higher education or professional development path is to find what motivates you to teach. For me it was American Sign Language (ASL), which became a core part of my teaching practice. In college I minored in communication disorders, which is how I learned ASL. From there, I used it with infants and toddlers. Whether or not the children had diagnosed needs, ASL helped the children communicate better, which decreased their frustration when communicating needs to adults and interacting with peers. Find classes you enjoy—children’s literature, STEM, or even puppetry—that you can put directly into practice to make your learning useful and fun!

7. Be mentored

Aside from deepening your knowledge, gaining experience is a large part of becoming a successful teacher. I was blessed throughout my career to have mentors to guide me and inspire me to be my best. My first mentor in the field—who continues to support my career today—challenged me to leave my comfort in the classroom and use my voice to become a full-time policy advocate. Invest in yourself by learning from experienced members of the profession so you can continue to develop our field.

8. Be accountable

Take charge of your professional development. Your program’s leaders should be providing you access to curriculum materials and professional development opportunities. If they aren’t, take it upon yourself to find learning opportunities that inspire you. I am passionate about child-driven lesson planning, so I sought out articles, books, online sessions, and conferences—anything I could get my hands on—so I could learn more and share with my colleagues. Many conferences offer great scholarships to make attending affordable!

9. Be equitable

I’m extremely grateful that I learned early in my career the importance of connecting with families to understand their preferences and beliefs before making judgments about how a child was behaving. This framed my understanding of cultural differences and gave me a strong foundation for educating children equitably. For example, my colleagues and I had a few children in class who struggled to settle at nap time. This was frustrating for us—as most programs do, we used nap time for planning and meetings. The children would not settle, wanted individual attention from their primary teachers, and quite often were exhausted (and fussy!) by the end of the day because they did not have a nap. Before frustrations could escalate, we took the time to discuss this challenge with the families. They explained that following their cultural practices, the children never slept alone—which explained why the children wouldn’t settle when staff moved away from them. We learned to recognize their cultural practices and planned for an extra staff member at nap time to stay near those children so the teachers could still use that time and the children would have that period to rest.

Setting the Standard for the Profession

With a workgroup that includes practitioners, subject matter experts, higher education faculty, and researchers, NAEYC is revising the standards and competencies that define the early childhood education profession. The revisions incorporate feedback from two rounds of public comment that came in through surveys, focus groups, conference sessions, letters from organizations and individuals, and many other avenues. Thousands of individuals in the early childhood field from all over the United States engaged in this process! This exciting work highlights the importance and complexity of teaching young children; it also creates a framework for ensuring that everyone in the profession is well prepared and supported.

To access the current draft of the Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators (and to access the final statement when it is published in late December 2019), visit .

teaching competencies essay

This article supports the following NAEYC Early Learning Program Accreditation standards and topic areas

Meghann Hickey is a former relationship implementation specialist in NAEYC’s Division of Early Learning Systems. She also worked for the Early Care and Education Consortium in Washington, DC, and as an infant through prekindergarten teacher in Massachusetts.

Vol. 13, No. 2

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Education Policy

Culturally responsive teaching: a reflection guide, policy paper.

teaching competencies essay

Jenny Muñiz

Sept. 23, 2020, introduction.

This is an unprecedented time for U.S. schools: a pandemic has upended education for millions of students and families in the midst of nationwide protests for Black lives. These crises have put a spotlight on disparities that have long plagued our education system. School segregation is on the rise.' Far too many Black, Indigenous, and other youth of color lack access to educational resources, including technology, enrichment activities, suitable school buildings, and diverse and effective teachers) As if resource disparities were not enough, these students are often held back by low teacher expectations, exclusionary disciplinary practices, curricula that neglect the struggles and contributions of people of color,' and school norms that privilege white and middle class ways of communicating, thinking, and even dressing.

These enormous challenges cannot be addressed without culturally responsive teachers. While educators cannot singlehandedly make schools less segregated and more equitable, they can ensure that students feel valued and affirmed in schools, in the curriculum, and in their interactions with peers. They can promote engagement and achievement by connecting curriculum to students' daily lives, cultural backgrounds, and concerns. They can deploy rigorous activities that help students make sense of the world around them and become agents for positive change. They can call attention to educational injustice and work to bolster opportunities for all learners. Culturally responsive teachers do these things and more.

Culturally Responsive Teaching involves connecting academics to students' daily lives, cultural backgrounds, and concerns in ways that support engagement, achievement, and empowerment.

There are many frameworks and ways to think about culturally responsive teaching.' Building on this scholarship, New America developed a set of eight core competencies that describe what culturally responsive teachers know and do (see Figure 1)." Since it was published in 2019, the framework has been used widely by individual teachers, districts, non-profit organizations, and teacher preparation programs to boost culturally responsive teaching practices across the country. Additionally, states such as Illinois and California have incorporated the framework into their resources for teachers.'

Building on our past work, this resource offers a set of reflection questions that make self-appraisal, goal setting, and critical conversations across the eight competencies more concrete. We also share research evidence that describes the benefits of culturally responsive teaching. Now is the time to revamp efforts to foster a culturally responsive teacher workforce. We hope this resource enables teachers and those who support them to promote rigorous and relevant learning that leads to the engagement, achievement, and empowerment of all learners.

Eight Competencies for Culturally Responsive Teaching

teaching competencies essay

Using this resource

This resource is intended to support the reflective practice and ongoing learning of culturally responsive teachers. It can help teachers assess their personal strengths and develop a plan to sharpen their practice. Additionally, this guide can and should be used by those who support teachers. Teacher preparation faculty, mentors, coaches, and administrators can use this resource to assess how well they model and support the development of culturally responsive teaching practices. Specifically, school system leaders should take a closer look at how they embed the eight culturally responsive teaching competencies outlined in this resource into important school and district initiatives and systems of teacher preparation, training, evaluation, professional development, coaching, and rewards. Ultimately, leaders have the biggest role to play in ensuring all educators have the resources they need to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of culturally responsive teachers.

Competencies And Reflection Questions

Competency 1 - reflect on one's cultural lens.

Culturally responsive educators routinely reflect on their own life experiences and membership in various identity groups (i.e., those assigned by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and gender), and they ask themselves how these factors influence their beliefs and actions. They understand that they, like everyone, can unwittingly internalize biases that shape their instruction and their interactions with students, families, and colleagues. They understand that they can unknowingly use stereotypes (over-generalized beliefs about certain groups) and commit microaggressions (subtle comments or actions that are unintentionally discriminatory) if they are not vigilant about how they think and act. Therefore, these teachers diligently work to reflect on their unconscious attitudes and develop cultural competency that is, understanding, sensitivity, and appreciation for the history, values, experiences, and lifestyles of others. Although becoming self-aware can be difficult and uncomfortable, particularly for educators who have never explored their identities, research shows that actions such as guided reflection, reflective journaling, and group discussions can help teachers overcome those feelings.')

Reflection Questions

  • When did I become aware of my membership in various identity groups (i.e., those assigned by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic group, sexual orientation, and gender)? What types of interactions did I have with individuals from identity groups different than my own growing up?
  • How does my identity shape my thinking, values, and understanding of the world?
  • How does my identity differ from my students and colleagues? How does it shape my interactions with students, families, and colleagues?
  • Have I ever used or been the victim of stereotypes and microaggressions? Do I have the skills to respond to stereotypes and microaggressions if I encounter them?
  • What are my short- and long-term goals for developing this competency? What resources will I need to accomplish these goals?

teaching competencies essay

Competency 2 - Recognize and Redress Bias in the System

Culturally responsive educators understand the difference between bias at the personal level (i.e., racist speech) and bias at the institutional or systemic level (i.e., housing discrimination). They seek to deepen their understanding of how identity markers (i.e., those assigned by race, ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and gender) influence the educational opportunities that students receive. Sonia Nieto suggests that teachers ask questions like: "Where are the best teachers assigned?", "Which students take advanced courses?" and "Where are resources allocated?". A wide range of resources and professional learning opportunities are now available to help teachers learn more about the ways that institutional racism and other systemic biases disadvantage some groups of students and privilege others. Teachers who take advantage of these resources understand that not all learners are equally rewarded for their hard work. These educators advocate for the disruption of school and district-level practices, policies, and norms that hold students back. Conversely, teachers who are poorly informed about institutional biases may blame learners and perceived cultural deficiencies for academic achievement disparities.

  • Do I understand the difference between bias at the personal level and bias at the institutional or systemic level?
  • Do I disaggregate and analyze data by student subgroups (i.e., those assigned by race, ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and gender) to uncover potential disparities?
  • How does my classroom, school, and district reinforce barriers that reproduce disparities in student outcomes? Where are resources (people, time, and money) allocated? Which students face surveillance, policing, and higher disciplinary consequences?
  • What part do I play in the status quo I described above? Am I an enabler or do I take action to disrupt policies, practices, and norms that disadvantage certain student groups?

Competency 3 - Draw on Students' Culture to Shape Curriculum and Instruction

Central to culturally responsive teaching is the belief that students' cultural background and existing knowledge can help bridge new learning. Believing this to be true, culturally responsive teachers use cultural scaffolding by providing links between new academic concepts and students' background knowledge that comes from their families, communities, and lived experiences. They regularly use student input to shape assignments, projects, and assessments. Although school system leaders traditionally set formal curricula (see "The Importance of Culturally Responsive Instructional Resources" on page 8), culturally responsive teachers evaluate the textbooks and instructional resources they use to ensure they do not perpetuate stereotypes or fail to represent certain identity groups. They complement the official curriculum with examples, newspaper clippings, articles, song lyrics, plays, comics, video games, and other resources that reflect experiences, characters, settings, and themes their students can relate to. In addition to providing "mirrors" reflecting students' own worlds, teachers provide "windows" into the history, traditions, and experiences of other cultures and groups.'

  • Do the assignments, assessments, and instructional resources I use allow my students to see themselves and see others?
  • Do I review the assignments, assessments, and instructional resources I use for historical accuracy, stereotypes, cultural relevance, and multiple perspectives?
  • How do I seek to learn about my students' existing knowledge, cultural backgrounds, interests, issues of concern, and family traditions?
  • Do I incorporate students' background knowledge, cultures, and family traditions daily or only on particular holidays or units (i.e., Black History Month)?

Competency 4 - Bring Real-World Issues into the Classroom

Culturally responsive teachers address the "so what?" factor of instruction by helping students see how the knowledge and skills they learn in school are valuable to their lives, families, their communities. They ask:

"What does this material have to do with your lives?" "Does this knowledge connect to an issue you care about?" and "How can you use this information to take action?" They regularly assign activities, projects, and assessments that require learners to identify and propose solutions to complex issues, including issues of bias and discrimination. They actively seek input from families, community members, and students when planning learning activities and they ensure learning happens inside and outside of the classroom. For example, elementary school students might learn about environmental injustice and devise a plan for cleaning up a local river; middle school students might learn to apply math concepts to an analysis of racial inequities in traffic stop data;" and high school students might engage in a Socratic seminar to explore solutions to police brutality. Through rigorous and relevant projects, learners in culturally responsive classrooms build their sense of civic responsibility and learn to see themselves as agents of change.

  • How can the content area I teach (i.e., English language arts, science, mathematics, social studies) help students solve problems in their lives, in their communities, and in the world?
  • How do the assignments, projects, and assessments I use empower and prepare students to solve problems in their lives, in their communities, and the world?
  • How do the assignments, projects, and assessments I use connect content area knowledge to students' daily lives, including experiences with racism and injustice?
  • Do the assignments, projects, and assessments I use develop my students' self-efficacy, civic responsibility, and motivation to challenge the status quo?

Competency 5 - Model High Expectations for All Students

Culturally responsive educators believe all students are capable of achieving high levels of success. These educators understand that Black,

Indigenous, students of color, and other marginalized groups are vulnerable to negative stereotypes about their intelligence, academic ability, and behavior. They understand that these stereotypes can inadvertently influence their pedagogical choices and expectations of students, which in turn influence students' perceptions about their own abilities. Culturally responsive

educators are vigilant in maintaining their belief that all students can meet high expectations if given proper support and scaffolds, regardless of their identity or past performance. These teachers do not allow students to disengage from learning. They, instead, help students develop high expectations for themselves. Other research-backed behaviors that teachers use to communicate high expectations include using eye contact and proximity with both high-achieving and struggling learners; deploying language, gestures, and expressions to communicate that students' opinions are important; and ensuring all students have access to a rigorous core curriculum.

  • How do my I communicate that I have high expectations for students of all backgrounds, even those who have historically struggled?
  • How do I help students develop high expectations for themselves?
  • How do I ensure no students disengage from learning?
  • What supports and scaffolds do I provide to ensure that all students are able to meet rigorous outcome goals?

Competency 6 - Promote Respect for Student Differences

Culturally responsive teachers foster learning environments that are respectful, inclusive, and affirming. Educators contribute to such environments by modeling how to engage across differences and embodying respect for all forms of diversity. They assess how learners from different backgrounds might experience the environment and encourage students to reflect on their own experience with bias. They help students value their own and others' cultures and develop a sense of responsibility for addressing prejudice and mistreatment when they encounter it. Research finds that when students face discrimination, they may develop feelings of frustration, anger, and unworthiness that can result in low achievement, behavioral problems, and leaving schoo1. On the other hand, a caring school community can improve students' academic performance and sense of belonging in school.

  • How do I create learning environments that are safe, respectful, and inclusive for students of all identity groups?
  • How do I help students develop empathy, respect, and understanding for people who are both similar to and different from them?
  • How do I role-model proactive response to all forms of bias incidents (i.e., racist speech)?
  • How do I help students recognize their responsibility to stand up against all forms of bias incidents in their everyday lives?

Competency 7 - Collaborate with Families and the Local Community

Culturally responsive educators assume that parents are interested in being involved in their children's education and they remove barriers to family engagement. For example, they are available to meet families at convenient times and locations. They are also mindful of any past trauma families might have around interfacing with schoo1. Because schools have traditionally privileged the input and collaboration of white, middle-class families, culturally responsive educators aim to develop the trust of families of color and low-income families to ensure they are involved at all levels of their children's education throughout the year. They continually seek to learn more about the local community and families' cultures, values, and expectations for their children's education. Further, they see themselves as members of the community and they collaborate with local agencies and organizations to arrange resources that families need.

  • Which families are most involved in my classroom and school? Whose voices are typically heard, valued, and acknowledged?
  • How do I reduce participation barriers for families and community members?
  • How do I involve families from various backgrounds in developing classroom and school activities, practices, and policies?
  • Do I consider myself a member of the community in which my students live? Do I regularly visit churches, local stores, or other community spaces?

Competency 8 - Communicate in Linguistically and Culturally Responsive Ways

When educators communicate in culturally and linguistically sensitive ways, students and families feel more welcome and inclined to participate in school. Too often, however, miscommunication can occur between white teachers who value passive and indirect styles of communication and students who come from cultures that prefer active and participatory styles. The communication styles of Black students, in particular, can too often be misconstrued as adversarial or defiant, which can lead to over-disciplining. Therefore, culturally responsive teachers seek to understand how culture influences communication, both in verbal ways (e.g., the tone of voice, rhythm, and vocabulary used) and nonverbal ways (e.g., the amount of space between speaker and listener, eye contact, body movements, and gestures). They allow students to use their natural ways of talking in the classroom. They also honor and accommodate multilingual students and families, including by advocating for translation services and resources in various languages.

  • What is my style of communicating verbally and nonverbally? Does my style of communication differ from that of my students and their families?
  • How do my behavioral and communication expectations of students and families take into account varying cultural norms?
  • How do I actively work to reduce communication barriers between myself and students and families?
  • Do I offer communication in multiple languages? Do I use translators, not students, to improve my communication with families?

Culturally Responsive Instructional Resources

Textbooks and supplementary materials that reflect the experiences, perspectives, and contributions of diverse groups can be powerful tools for cultivating inclusive environments and making learning experiences meaningful, engaging, and effective. Nevertheless, the lion's share of instructional resources available today ignore students' daily experiences, cultures, and concerns. Worse, some go as far as to feature incomplete, distorted, and inaccurate depictions of diverse groups.

To support the development and adoption of more inclusive resources, New America developed a tool to help educators and education leaders become better consumers of curricular resources (see Culturally Responsive Curriculum `Look-Fors '). In addition, we have championed the use of open educational resources (OER), which are openly licensed and free to use and repurpose18. Unlike most proprietary educational resources that prohibit educators from editing or sharing them, OER can be adapted in ways that reflect the experiences, perspectives, and contributions of diverse groups. This means resources—from textbooks to assessments to videos to images—can be tailored to students' out-of-school lives, interests, and cultural backgrounds. And because open licenses permit free distribution as long as credit is given, these resources are available to all students who need them.

OER can also be used to support teacher learning. For example, our colleague Sabia Prescott has spotlighted how OER is helping teachers learn to cultivate LGBTQ-inclusive classrooms (see Supporting LGBTQ-Inclusive Teaching: How Open Digital Materials Can Help ). Over the next few years, New America will be delving more deeply into the role OER can play in supporting inclusive, culturally responsive teaching classrooms

Evidence on the Benefits of Culturally Responsive Teaching

Research shows that there are important educational and personal benefits to learning in culturally responsive classrooms. While more rigorous studies are needed to determine which culturally responsive practices influence student outcomes, there is evidence to affirm what many teachers already know: culturally responsive teaching works.

Academic Performance

  • Courses that utilize culturally responsive teaching practices have been shown to improve student attendance, grade-point average, high school graduation rates, and assessment scores.'
  • Students who participate in culturally responsive classrooms report having greater interest in school, more motivation to learn, and higher confidence in taking standardized tests.

Life and Well-Being

  • Learning about one's own cultural background, history, traditions is associated with positive racial and ethnic identities, which in turn benefit young people's self-esteem, socio-emotional wellbeing, and ability to overcome discrimination.
  • Learning about social issues and racism in school can buffer students of color from the negative academic and mental health outcomes of discrimination.'
  • Students who encounter messages about the value of diversity in school are more likely to have positive attitudes toward people of different backgrounds.

Even though the historic closing of schools has created enormous challenges, there is room for optimism. School closures have upended traditional curriculum and teaching practices, opening the door to more culturally responsive models of schooling that integrate students' daily lives, cultural knowledge, histories, and concerns into everything that happens in classrooms—both virtual and in-person. At the same time, a nationwide reckoning over racial injustice is building momentum for replacing practices and policies that reproduce disparities in education. We hope this resource will encourage and enable teachers and education leaders to leave behind the status quo and embrace a model of schooling that honors and empowers all learners, especially Black, Indigenous, and other students of color.

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Related topics.

  • Educational psychology
  • Professional development
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Evaluating teacher competence

To evaluate teacher competence effectively, teacher educators should be able to:

  • define appropriate criteria for evaluating teachers’ skills and knowledge
  • evaluate teachers’ skills and knowledge using a range of tools and methods, such as observation, self-assessment and student feedback
  • give teachers oral and written feedback that is clear, specific and related to the evaluation criteria
  • evaluate teachers formatively and use the results to support teacher learning
  • evaluate teachers in a manner that is transparent, fair and which supports their professional learning

teaching competencies essay

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Your teaching philosophy is a self-reflective statement of your beliefs about teaching and learning. It's a one to two page narrative that conveys your core ideas about being an effective teacher in the context of your discipline. It develops these ideas with specific, concrete examples of what the teacher and learners will do to achieve those goals. Importantly, your teaching philosophy statement also explains why you choose these options.

+ Getting Started

Your reasons for writing a teaching philosophy may vary. You might be writing it as an exercise in concisely documenting your beliefs so that you can easily articulate them to your students, peers, or a search committee. It might serve as the introduction to your teaching portfolio. Or, it can serve as a means of professional growth as it requires you to give examples of how you enact your philosophy, thus requiring you to consider the degree to which your teaching is congruent with your beliefs.

Generating ideas

Teaching philosophies express your values and beliefs about teaching. They are personal statements that introduce you, as a teacher, to your reader. As such, they are written in the first person and convey a confident, professional tone. When writing a teaching philosophy, use specific examples to illustrate your points. You should also discuss how your values and beliefs about teaching fit into the context of your discipline.

Below are categories you might address with prompts to help you begin generating ideas. Work through each category, spending time thinking about the prompts and writing your ideas down. These notes will comprise the material you’ll use to write the first draft of your teaching philosophy statement. It will help if you include both general ideas (‘I endeavor to create lifelong learners’) as well as specifics about how you will enact those goals. A teaching philosophy template is also available to help you get started.

Questions to prompt your thinking

Your concept of learning.

What do you mean by learning? What happens in a successful learning situation? Note what constitutes "learning" or "mastery" in your discipline.

Your concept of teaching

What are your values, beliefs, and aspirations as a teacher? Do you wish to encourage mastery, competency, transformational learning, lifelong learning, general transference of skills, critical thinking? What does a perfect teaching situation look like to you and why? How are the values and beliefs realized in classroom activities? You may discuss course materials, lesson plans, activities, assignments, and assessment instruments.

Your goals for students

What skills should students obtain as a result of your teaching? Think about your ideal student and what the outcomes of your teaching would be in terms of this student's knowledge or behavior. Address the goals you have for specific classes or curricula and that rational behind them (i.e., critical thinking, writing, or problem solving).

Your teaching methods

What methods will you consider to reach these goals and objectives? What are your beliefs regarding learning theory and specific strategies you would use, such as case studies, group work, simulations, interactive lectures? You might also want to include any new ideas or strategies you want to try.

Your interaction with students

What are you attitudes towards advising and mentoring students? How would an observer see you interact with students? Why do you want to work with students?

Assessing learning

How will you assess student growth and learning? What are your beliefs about grading? Do you grade students on a percentage scale (criterion referenced) or on a curve (norm referenced)? What different types of assessment will you use (i.e. traditional tests, projects, portfolios,  presentations) and why?

Professional growth

How will you continue growing as a teacher? What goals do you have for yourself and how will you reach them? How have your attitudes towards teaching and learning changed over time? How will you use student evaluations to improve your teaching? How might you learn new skills? How do you know when you've taught effectively?

+ Creating a Draft

Two ways of organizing your draft.

Now that you've written down your values, attitudes, and beliefs about teaching and learning, it's time to organize those thoughts into a coherent form. Perhaps the easiest way of organizing this material would be to write a paragraph covering each of the seven prompts you answered in the Getting Started section. These would then become the seven major sections of your teaching philosophy.

Another way of knitting your reflections together—and one that is more personal—is to read through your notes and underscore ideas or observations that come up more than once. Think of these as "themes" that might point you toward an organizational structure for the essay. For example, you read through your notes and realize that you spend a good deal of time writing about your interest in mentoring students. This might become one of the three or four major foci of your teaching philosophy. You should then discuss what it says about your attitudes toward teaching, learning, and what's important in your discipline.

No matter which style you choose, make sure to keep your writing succinct. Aim for two double-spaced pages. And don't forget to start with a "hook." Your job is to make your readers want to read more; their level of engagement is highest when they read your opening line. Hook your readers by beginning with a question, a statement, or even an event from your past.

Using specific examples

Remember to provide concrete examples from your teaching practice to illustrate the general claims you make in your teaching philosophy. The following general statements about teaching are intended as prompts to help you come up with examples to illustrate your claims about teaching. For each statement, how would you describe what happens in your classroom? Is your description specific enough to bring the scene to life in a teaching philosophy?

"I value helping my students understand difficult information. I am an expert, and my role is to model for them complex ways of thinking so that they can develop the same habits of mind as professionals in the medical field."
"I enjoy lecturing, and I'm good at it. I always make an effort to engage and motivate my students when I lecture."
"It is crucial for students of geology to learn the techniques of field research. An important part of my job as a professor of geology is to provide these opportunities."
"I believe that beginning physics students should be introduced to the principles of hypothesis generation, experimentation, data collection, and analysis. By learning the scientific method, they develop critical thinking skills they can apply to other areas of their lives. Small group work is a crucial tool for teaching the scientific method."
"As a teacher of writing, I am committed to using peer review in my classes. By reading and commenting on other students' work in small cooperative groups, my students learn to find their voice, to understand the important connection between writer and audience, and to hone their editing skills. Small group work is indispensible in the writing classroom."

Go back to the notes you made when getting started and underline the general statements you’ve made about teaching and learning. As you start drafting, make sure to note the specific approaches, methods, or products you use to realize those goals.

+ Assessing Your Draft

Assessing your draft teaching philosophy.

According to a survey of search committee chairs by the University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, there are five elements that are shared by strong teaching philosophy statements:

  • They offer evidence of practice (specific examples)
  • They are student-centered
  • They demonstrate reflectiveness
  • They demonstrate that the writer values teaching
  • They are well written, clear, and readable

Now that you’ve completed an initial draft, ask whether your statement captures these elements and how well you articulate them.

You might find it useful to compare your draft to other teaching philosophies in your discipline. It can also be useful to have a colleague review your draft and offer recommendations for revision. Consider printing out a teaching philosophy rubric from our “Rubrics and Samples” tab to provide your reviewer with guidelines to assess your draft. These exercises will give you the critical distance necessary to see your teaching philosophy objectively and revise it accordingly.

+ Rubrics and Samples

Rubrics and sample teaching philosophies.

Here are links to three teaching philosophy rubrics to help you assess your statement. We have included four different rubrics for you to choose from. These rubrics cover similar elements, and one is not necessarily better than the other. Your choice of which to use should be guided by how comfortable you feel with the particular instrument and how usable you find it. 

  • Teaching Philosophy Rubric 1   This rubric allows a reader to rate several elements of persuasiveness and format on a scale of 1 to 5.
  • Teaching Philosophy Rubric 2   This rubric contains prompts for assessing purpose and audience, voice, beliefs and support, and conventions.
  • Teaching Philosophy Rubric 3   This rubric contains prompts for assessing content, format, and writing quality.
  • Rubric for Statements of Teaching Philosophy  This rubric was developed by Kaplan et. al. from the University of Michigan.
  • Marisol Brito – philosophy 
  • Benjamin Harrison – biology  
  • Jamie Peterson – psychology
  • The University of Michigan has a wide variety of  samples  organized by field of study.
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Analyzing student response processes to refine and validate a competency model and competency-based assessment task types provisionally accepted.

  • 1 University of Paderborn, Germany

The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.

Regarding competency-oriented teaching in higher education, lecturers face the challenge of employing aligned task material to develop the intended competencies. What is lacking in many disciplines are well-founded guidelines on what competencies to develop and what tasks to use to purposefully promote and assess competency development. Our work aims to create an empirically validated framework for competency-oriented assessment in the area of graphical modeling in computer science. This article reports on the use of the think-aloud method to validate a competency model and a competency-oriented task classification. For this purpose, the response processes of 15 students during the processing of different task types were evaluated with qualitative content analysis. The analysis shed light on the construct of graphical modeling competency and the cognitive demand of the task types. Evidence was found for the content and substantive aspect of construct validity but also for the need to refine the competency model and task classification.

Keywords: competency-oriented assessment, Task Types, Validation, think-aloud, Competency model, Graphical modeling, conceptual modeling, computer science

Received: 06 Mar 2024; Accepted: 03 Jun 2024.

Copyright: © 2024 Soyka and Schaper. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Chantal Soyka, University of Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany

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NASW, National Association of Social Workers

Read the Code of Ethics

The NASW Code of Ethics is a set of standards that guide the professional conduct of social workers. The 2021 update includes language that addresses the importance of professional self-care. Moreover, revisions to Cultural Competence standard provide more explicit guidance to social workers. All social workers should review the new text and affirm their commitment to abide by the Code of Ethics. Also available in Spanish.

  • The first Section, "Preamble," summarizes the social work profession's mission and core values.
  • The second section, Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics , provides an overview of the Code's main functions and a brief guide for dealing with ethical issues or dilemmas in social work practice.
  • The third section, Ethical Principles , presents broad ethical principles, based on social work's core values, that inform social work practice.
  • The final section, Ethical Standards , includes specific ethical standards to guide social workers' conduct and to provide a basis for adjudication.

The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the profession’s dual focus on individual well-being in a social context and the well-being of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living.

Social workers promote social justice and social change with and on behalf of clients. “Clients” is used inclusively to refer to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers are sensitive to cultural and ethnic diversity and strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. These activities may be in the form of direct practice, community organizing, supervision, consultation, administration, advocacy, social and political action, policy development and implementation, education, and research and evaluation. Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs. Social workers also seek to promote the responsiveness of organizations, communities, and other social institutions to individuals’ needs and social problems.

The mission of the social work profession is rooted in a set of core values. These core values, embraced by social workers throughout the profession’s history, are the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective:

  • social justice
  • dignity and worth of the person
  • importance of human relationships
  • competence.

This constellation of core values reflects what is unique to the social work profession. Core values, and the principles that flow from them, must be balanced within the context and complexity of the human experience.

Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics

Professional ethics are at the core of social work. The profession has an obligation to articulate its basic values, ethical principles, and ethical standards. The NASW Code of Ethics sets forth these values, principles, and standards to guide social workers’ conduct. The Code is relevant to all social workers and social work students, regardless of their professional functions, the settings in which they work, or the populations they serve.

The NASW Code of Ethics serves six purposes:

  • The Code identifies core values on which social work’s mission is based.
  • The Code summarizes broad ethical principles that reflect the profession’s core values and establishes a set of specific ethical standards that should be used to guide social work practice.
  • The Code is designed to help social workers identify relevant considerations when professional obligations conflict or ethical uncertainties arise.
  • The Code provides ethical standards to which the general public can hold the social work profession accountable.
  • The Code socializes practitioners new to the field to social work’s mission, values, ethical principles, and ethical standards, and encourages all social workers to engage in self-care, ongoing education, and other activities to ensure their commitment to those same core features of the profession.
  • The Code articulates standards that the social work profession itself can use to assess whether social workers have engaged in unethical conduct. NASW has formal procedures to adjudicate ethics complaints filed against its members.* In subscribing to this Code, social workers are required to cooperate in its implementation, participate in NASW adjudication proceedings, and abide by any NASW disciplinary rulings or sanctions based on it.

The Code offers a set of values, principles, and standards to guide decision making and conduct when ethical issues arise. It does not provide a set of rules that prescribe how social workers should act in all situations. Specific applications of the Code must take into account the context in which it is being considered and the possibility of conflicts among the Code’s values, principles, and standards. Ethical responsibilities flow from all human relationships, from the personal and familial to the social and professional.

* For information on the NASW Professional Review Process, see NASW Procedures for Professional Review.

Furthermore, the NASW Code of Ethics does not specify which values, principles, and standards are most important and ought to outweigh others in instances when they conflict. Reasonable differences of opinion can and do exist among social workers with respect to the ways in which values, ethical principles, and ethical standards should be rank ordered when they conflict. Ethical decision making in a given situation must apply the informed judgment of the individual social worker and should also consider how the issues would be judged in a peer review process where the ethical standards of the profession would be applied.

Ethical decision making is a process. In situations when conflicting obligations arise, social workers may be faced with complex ethical dilemmas that have no simple answers. Social workers should take into consideration all the values, principles, and standards in this Code that are relevant to any situation in which ethical judgment is warranted. Social workers’ decisions and actions should be consistent with the spirit as well as the letter of this Code.

In addition to this Code, there are many other sources of information about ethical thinking that may be useful. Social workers should consider ethical theory and principles generally, social work theory and research, laws, regulations, agency policies, and other relevant codes of ethics, recognizing that among codes of ethics social workers should consider the NASW Code of Ethics as their primary source. Social workers also should be aware of the impact on ethical decision making of their clients’ and their own personal values and cultural and religious beliefs and practices. They should be aware of any conflicts between personal and professional values and deal with them responsibly. For additional guidance social workers should consult the relevant literature on professional ethics and ethical decision making and seek appropriate consultation when faced with ethical dilemmas. This may involve consultation with an agency-based or social work organization’s ethics committee, a regulatory body, knowledgeable colleagues, supervisors, or legal counsel.

Instances may arise when social workers’ ethical obligations conflict with agency policies or relevant laws or regulations. When such conflicts occur, social workers must make a responsible effort to resolve the conflict in a manner that is consistent with the values, principles, and standards expressed in this Code. If a reasonable resolution of the conflict does not appear possible, social workers should seek proper consultation before making a decision. The NASW Code of Ethics is to be used by NASW and by individuals, agencies, organizations, and bodies (such as licensing and regulatory boards, professional liability insurance providers, courts of law, agency boards of directors, government agencies, and other professional groups) that choose to adopt it or use it as a frame of reference. Violation of standards in this Code does not automatically imply legal liability or violation of the law.

Such determination can only be made in the context of legal and judicial proceedings. Alleged violations of the Code would be subject to a peer review process. Such processes are generally separate from legal or administrative procedures and insulated from legal review or proceedings to allow the profession to counsel and discipline its own members.

A code of ethics cannot guarantee ethical behavior. Moreover, a code of ethics cannot resolve all ethical issues or disputes or capture the richness and complexity involved in striving to make responsible choices within a moral community. Rather, a code of ethics sets forth values, ethical principles, and ethical standards to which professionals aspire and by which their actions can be judged. Social workers' ethical behavior should result from their personal commitment to engage in ethical practice. The NASW Code of Ethics reflects the commitment of all social workers to uphold the profession’s values and to act ethically. Principles and standards must be applied by individuals of good character who discern moral questions and, in good faith, seek to make reliable ethical judgments.

With growth in the use of communication technology in various aspects of social work practice, social workers need to be aware of the unique challenges that may arise in relation to the maintenance of confidentiality, informed consent, professional boundaries, professional competence, record keeping, and other ethical considerations. In general, all ethical standards in this Code of Ethics are applicable to interactions, relationships, or communications, whether they occur in person or with the use of technology. For the purposes of this Code, “technology-assisted social work services” include any social work services that involve the use of computers, mobile or landline telephones, tablets, video technology, or other electronic or digital technologies; this includes the use of various electronic or digital platforms, such as the Internet, online social media, chat rooms, text messaging, e-mail and emerging digital applications. Technology-assisted social work services encompass all aspects of social work practice, including psychotherapy; individual, family, or group counseling; community organization; administration; advocacy; mediation; education; supervision; research; evaluation; and other social work services. Social workers should keep apprised of emerging technological developments that may be used in social work practice and how various ethical standards apply to them.

Professional self-care is paramount for competent and ethical social work practice. Professional demands, challenging workplace climates, and exposure to trauma warrant that social workers maintain personal and professional health, safety, and integrity. Social work organizations, agencies, and educational institutions are encouraged to promote organizational policies, practices, and materials to support social workers’ self-care.

Ethical Principles

The following broad ethical principles are based on social work’s core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. These principles set forth ideals to which all social workers should aspire.

Value: Service Ethical Principle: Social workers’ primary goal is to help people in need and to address social problems

Social workers elevate service to others above self-interest. Social workers draw on their knowledge, values, and skills to help people in need and to address social problems. Social workers are encouraged to volunteer some portion of their professional skills with no expectation of significant financial return (pro bono service).

Value: Social Justice Ethical Principle: Social workers challenge social injustice.

Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers’ social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. These activities seek to promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers strive to ensure access to needed information, services, and resources; equality of opportunity; and meaningful participation in decision making for all people.

Value: Dignity and Worth of the Person Ethical Principle: Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.

Social workers treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers promote clients’ socially responsible self-determination. Social workers seek to enhance clients’ capacity and opportunity to change and to address their own needs. Social workers are cognizant of their dual responsibility to clients and to the broader society. They seek to resolve conflicts between clients’ interests and the broader society’s interests in a socially responsible manner consistent with the values, ethical principles, and ethical standards of the profession.

Value: Importance of Human Relationships Ethical Principle: Social workers recognize the central importance of human relationships.

Social workers understand that relationships between and among people are an important vehicle for change. Social workers engage people as partners in the helping process. Social workers seek to strengthen relationships among people in a purposeful effort to promote, restore, maintain, and enhance the well-being of individuals, families, social groups, organizations, and communities.

Value: Integrity Ethical Principle: Social workers behave in a trustworthy manner.

Social workers are continually aware of the profession’s mission, values, ethical principles, and ethical standards and practice in a manner consistent with them. Social workers should take measures to care for themselves professionally and personally. Social workers act honestly and responsibly and promote ethical practices on the part of the organizations with which they are affiliated.

Value: Competence Ethical Principle: Social workers practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise.

Social workers continually strive to increase their professional knowledge and skills and to apply them in practice. Social workers should aspire to contribute to the knowledge base of the profession.

Ethical Standards

The following ethical standards are relevant to the professional activities of all social workers. These standards concern (1) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to clients, (2) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to colleagues, (3) social workers’ ethical responsibilities in practice settings, (4) social workers’ ethical responsibilities as professionals, (5) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to the social work profession, and (6) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to the broader society. Some of the standards that follow are enforceable guidelines for professional conduct, and some are aspirational. The extent to which each standard is enforceable is a matter of professional judgment to be exercised by those responsible for reviewing alleged violations of ethical standards.

1. Social Workers' Ethical Responsibilities to Clients >>

2. social workers' ethical responsibilities to colleagues >>, 3. social workers' ethical responsibilities in practice settings >>, 4. social workers' ethical responsibilities as professionals >>, 5. social workers' ethical responsibilities to the social work profession >>, 6. social workers' ethical responsibilities to the broader society >>.

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Revised Code of Ethics

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  • 2021 Highlighted Revisions to the Code of Ethics
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  • Published: 30 May 2024

Enhancing AI competence in health management: students’ experiences with ChatGPT as a learning Tool

  • Lior Naamati-Schneider 1  

BMC Medical Education volume  24 , Article number:  598 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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The healthcare industry has had to adapt to significant shifts caused by technological advancements, demographic changes, economic pressures, and political dynamics. These factors are reshaping the complex ecosystem in which healthcare organizations operate and have forced them to modify their operations in response to the rapidly evolving landscape. The increase in automation and the growing importance of digital and virtual environments are the key drivers necessitating this change. In the healthcare sector in particular, processes of change, including the incorporation of artificial intelligent language models like ChatGPT into daily life, necessitate a reevaluation of digital literacy skills.

This study proposes a novel pedagogical framework that integrates problem-based learning with the use of ChatGPT for undergraduate healthcare management students, while qualitatively exploring the students’ experiences with this technology through a thematic analysis of the reflective journals of 65 students.

Through the data analysis, the researcher identified five main categories: (1) Use of Literacy Skills; (2) User Experiences with ChatGPT; (3) ChatGPT Information Credibility; (4) Challenges and Barriers when Working with ChatGPT; (5) Mastering ChatGPT-Prompting Competencies . The findings show that incorporating digital tools, and particularly ChatGPT, in medical education has a positive impact on students’ digital literacy and on AI Literacy skills.


The results underscore the evolving nature of these skills in an AI-integrated educational environment and offer valuable insights into students’ perceptions and experiences. The study contributes to the broader discourse about the need for updated AI literacy skills in medical education from the early stages of education.

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In recent years, the healthcare sector has undergone significant shifts in both local and global contexts. These shifts are primarily attributed to demographic, technological, economic, and political factors. These changes have had a profound impact on the healthcare ecosystem, requiring organizations to adapt their operations and strategies to this evolving landscape [ 1 , 2 ]. In response, healthcare organizations have had to modify their behavior to adapt to this ever-changing reality [ 3 ]. Among the factors that have most significantly affected the healthcare system are technological advancements, automation, and the rise of digital and virtual environments. The impact of these factors gained momentum in December 2019, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Technological advances, particularly the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital tools, have been central to this transformation, with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the need for healthcare systems to adapt and innovate [ 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 ]. The integration of AI in healthcare, including the deployment of chatbots like ChatGPT that utilize the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT)—a type of large language model (LLM)—underscores a shift toward digital and AI literacy in medical education and practice. [ 9 , 10 ].

The adoption of AI in healthcare, highlighted by the use of systems like ChatGPT, marks a pivotal shift towards greater digital and AI literacy in medical education and practice [ 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 ]. This reflects the healthcare sector’s broader move towards technological innovation, aiming to enhance patient care and revolutionize healthcare professional training. Incorporating AI, such as ChatGPT, into educational frameworks prepares students for the complexities of modern healthcare, demonstrating AI’s potential to transform both healthcare delivery and professional skill development [ 11 , 12 ].

In the rapidly evolving landscape of AI, where technological developments are occurring at an accelerated pace, there is a significant need for comprehensive research to navigate this ever-changing landscape. In particular, research into the impact of AI on healthcare is still limited, highlighting the urgent need for more focused studies on the implications for medical education and the effective training of healthcare professionals in the use of AI technologies [ 13 , 14 ]. The emergence of LLMs, such as GPT, and their applications in educational frameworks, including chatbots like ChatGPT, has increased the urgency of reassessing the skills required, with a particular focus on digital literacy. This reassessment is essential to determine the continued relevance of these skills or whether a fundamental refocusing is required. Such a re-examination is essential to ensure that the healthcare workforce is adequately prepared for the challenges and opportunities presented by the integration of AI into healthcare practice [ 11 ].

Studies [ 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 ] have identified a significant gap in understanding how digital literacy skills—such as accessing, analyzing, evaluating, and creating digital content—play a role in effectively leveraging LLMs like GPT and their applications, including chatbots such as ChatGPT, within educational frameworks. Furthermore, the successful integration of ChatGPT into educational settings may potentially lessen the reliance on traditional digital literacy skills, prompting a reevaluation of their ongoing relevance [ 19 , 20 ]. This gap underscores the need for more research into the critical role that digital literacy skills hold in the efficient use of technologies like ChatGPT for educational aims, as highlighted by recent literature [ 15 , 17 , 18 ]. ChatGPT’s access to accurate medical information could reduce the need for individual data analysis skills [ 21 , 22 ]. Yet, concerns persist among researchers that its content generation might hinder critical thinking development, including source evaluation and idea generation [ 23 , 24 ].

This qualitative study introduces a pedagogical framework that synergizes problem-based learning with the application of ChatGPT among undergraduate healthcare management students. It aims to qualitatively examine their interactions with this technology, focusing on the transition from traditional digital literacy towards a more advanced AI literacy. This evolution in educational focus is poised to revolutionize the requisite competencies for navigating the dynamic healthcare sector of today.

The rationale behind focusing on ChatGPT stems from its notable accessibility, user-friendly design, and versatility as a comprehensive tool in healthcare settings. Its capability to simulate human-like dialogues positions it as a prime resource for educational initiatives, thereby enriching the pedagogical domain of healthcare management and clinical practices. The unrestricted access to ChatGPT, along with its wide-ranging utility in executing diverse healthcare operations, underscores its capacity to significantly contribute to and spearhead innovation within healthcare education and practices. The selection of ChatGPT, attributed to its approachability and adaptability, marks a strategic endeavor to investigate the impact of artificial intelligence amidst the shifting paradigms of healthcare requirements. Yet, despite the widespread integration of ChatGPT in healthcare, research into the long-term effects and the necessary adaptation of skills and methods remains lacking. [ 11 , 12 ].

Literature review

Ai tools in medical settings.

AI involves creating systems that mimic human cognitive functions such as perception, speech recognition, and decision-making through machine learning. It excels in analyzing data, identifying patterns, and making predictions, offering improvements over traditional data processing. AI’s applications span multiple sectors, including healthcare, at various levels from individual to global [ 25 , 26 ]. The integration of AI into healthcare enhances diagnostic, treatment, and patient care, offering advanced decision-making and predictions [ 9 , 10 , 25 , 27 ].AI technologies enhance clinical decision-making, diagnosis, and treatment by analyzing patient data through machine learning for informed decisions, offering 24/7 support via AI chatbots, and enabling remote monitoring with AI-powered devices like wearable sensors [ 9 , 28 ].

AI facilitates remote patient monitoring, minimizing in-person healthcare visits [ 29 ]. It improves service personalization, with AI assistants managing appointments and reminders, and chatbots streamlining insurance claims, easing provider workloads [ 9 ]. AI automates routine administrative tasks, freeing providers to concentrate on patient care. It streamlines operations, cuts bureaucracy, and analyzes data to improve healthcare management and predict service demand, allowing for better resource allocation. AI’s analysis of patient feedback further aids in enhancing service delivery [ 10 ]. AI integration can transform patient-caregiver dynamics, enhancing diagnosis, treatment, and self-management of health conditions [ 30 ]. While AI integration in healthcare promises significant advancements, it presents challenges, including data management issues and the need for specialized skills.

Sallam [ 14 ] highlights ChatGPT’s potential advantages in healthcare, including enhancing clinical workflows, diagnostics, and personalized medicine. However, challenges such as ethical dilemmas, interpretability issues, and content accuracy must be tackled. In healthcare education, although ChatGPT holds promise for customized learning and creating lifelike clinical scenarios, concerns about bias, plagiarism, and content quality persist. Addressing these concerns necessitates preparing healthcare professionals and students through education and training to navigate the complexities of AI. Additionally, extensive research in these domains is essential [ 6 , 9 , 14 , 31 , 32 ].

Teaching with AI and about AI: advancing education in the digital age

To be able to utilize AI tools effectively and integrate them seamlessly into their everyday work, healthcare professionals need early exposure to AI tools in their education to boost their proficiency and confidence, understanding both their potential and limitations [ 9 , 32 , 33 ]. York et al. [ 32 ] explored medical professionals’ attitudes towards AI in radiology, revealing a positive outlook on AI’s healthcare benefits but also highlighting a notable gap in AI knowledge. This emphasizes the need for enhanced AI training in medical education.

According to Sallam [ 14 ], ChatGPT and other models based on lLLMs have significantly improved healthcare education. They customize responses to student inquiries, curate relevant educational material, and tailor content to individual learning styles. For instance, ChatGPT generates personalized quiz questions, suggests resources to fill knowledge gaps, and adjusts explanations to suit diverse learning preferences. Moreover, it simplifies complex medical concepts, employs analogies and examples for clarity, and offers supplementary materials to enhance comprehension.

Breeding et al. [ 11 ] argued that in medical education, ChatGPT should be viewed as a supplementary tool rather than a substitute for traditional sources. While it offers clear and organized information, medical students still perceive evidence-based sources as more comprehensive. Eysenbach [ 33 ] engaged in a series of dialogues with ChatGPT to explore its integration into medical education. ChatGPT demonstrated proficiency in various tasks, such as grading essays, providing feedback, creating virtual patient scenarios, enhancing medical textbooks, summarizing research articles, and explaining key findings. Nevertheless, it also demonstrated a tendency to produce erroneous responses and fabricated data, including references. Such inaccuracies have the potential to generate student misconceptions, spread misinformation, and cause a decline in critical thinking skills [ 33 ]. Han et al. [ 34 ] conducted a comprehensive examination of ChatGPT’s effectiveness as a pedagogical tool in medical education, focusing on the chatbot’s interaction with delineated educational objectives and tasks. Their findings suggest that while ChatGPT is capable of providing elementary data and explanations, it is not impervious to constraints and sometimes provides incorrect or partial information. The study stresses active learning and analytical reasoning in medical education, emphasizing the importance of understanding basic sciences and the need for expert oversight to ensure AI-generated information accuracy [ 34 ].

Das et al. [ 35 ] evaluated ChatGPT’s efficacy in medical education, focusing on microbiology questions at different difficulty levels. They found that ChatGPT could answer basic and complex microbiology queries with roughly 80% accuracy, indicating its potential as an automated educational tool in medicine. The study underscores the importance of ongoing improvements in training language models to enhance their effectiveness for academic use [ 35 , 36 ].AI implementation in healthcare must be carefully managed to maximize benefits and minimize risks [ 11 , 12 , 35 , 36 ]. With the rapid development of digital technologies and AI tools, particularly in healthcare, students need appropriate resources to use these technologies effectively [ 37 ]. Digital literacy is essential in the 21st century, including skills for interacting with digital content [ 16 , 18 ]. Hence, medical literacy skills should start early in the education of healthcare students.

Digital literacy and eHealth literacy skills

Digital literacy skills encompass a collection of essential abilities necessary for using digital technologies effectively in accessing and retrieving information [ 38 ]. These skills are often viewed as foundational digital literacies that are critical for full participation in the digital era [ 39 ]. The European Commission emphasizes the importance of digital literacy for employability and citizenship. They advocate for policies and programs to enhance digital skills across all segments of society. The EU aims for 70% of adults to have basic digital skills by 2025, focusing on analytical, evaluative, and critical thinking abilities crucial for assessing digital information’s quality and credibility [ 40 ]. Individuals need these skills to discern biases and misinformation in various media formats [ 16 , 17 , 41 ] and evaluate the credibility of online sources [ 42 ]. Critical thinking is crucial for distinguishing between accurate information and misinformation [ 43 ], while data literacy is essential for interpreting data and detecting misleading statistics [ 44 ]. These competencies are fundamental for navigating today’s complex digital information landscape.

eHealth literacy, which incorporates the digital skills needed to access and utilize medical information from digital platforms [ 45 ], is gaining recognition as an integral component of overall health literacy. Enhanced online medical literacy is vital for healthcare professionals and administrators [ 46 ] to adapt to changing demands and improve care management within evolving healthcare paradigms [ 47 ]. Additionally, acquisition of digital competencies has been identified as a valuable strategy that healthcare providers and managers can use to manage the psychological effects of heightened workloads and uncertainty, such as the fear, stress, and anxiety emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic [ 48 ]. These skills enable individuals to use AI as both an independent tool and a supplementary aid in decision-making. However, addressing challenges like bias and academic integrity is crucial when integrating AI into medical education [ 32 , 33 , 49 ]. Critical thinking skills are essential for analyzing digital information, identifying inconsistencies, and evaluating arguments. In today’s era of misinformation, users must verify the accuracy of online content and distinguish between reliable sources and hoaxes [ 43 ]. Data literacy skills are also crucial for interpreting data accurately, detecting misleading statistics, and making informed decisions based on credible sources in the digital age [ 44 ].

Research on digital literacy emphasizes the importance of analytical and evaluative skills. Morgan et al. [ 17 ] found that higher education students struggle most with evaluating digital content for bias and quality. They excel in social literacy skills like communication. This highlights the need to prioritize adaptability in digital literacy, integrating industry-relevant experiences into education to ensure students can navigate and critically assess digital information for real-world applications.

Indeed, since the introduction of ChatGPT in 2022, it has been beneficial in various educational contexts. Nevertheless, concerns have been raised about potential inaccuracies and misinformation that may affect student learning and critical thinking [ 20 ]. Moreover, the potential redundancy of certain digital skills as a result of ChatGPT’s capabilities has also sparked discussions on changing educational objectives [ 19 , 21 , 22 ]. The development of ChatGPT may replace some digital skills as it takes over tasks previously expected of students. Researchers [ 21 , 22 ] argue that it is constantly improving its ability to access accurate medical information, providing reliable advice and treatment options from reputable sources. This ability may render the need for individuals to be adept at information retrieval and evaluation redundant. In other words, ChatGPT’s growing proficiency in tasks such as translation, text summarization, and sentiment analysis, and its ability to generate content like movies [ 23 ] may potentially lead to the underdevelopment of critical thinking skills, including the ability to evaluate source quality and reliability, formulate informed judgments, and generate creative and original ideas [ 24 ]. Indeed, the integration of AI into the healthcare sector raises critical questions about the nature and scope of the digital skills required in the future [ 19 , 20 ].

As AI advances, essential digital competencies may need reassessment to keep pace with technology. This requires forward-thinking digital literacy initiatives, particularly in healthcare education and practice. Proactively addressing the potential impact of AI on human interactions with digital healthcare technologies is critical. This will ensure that healthcare professionals and students are skilled in current digital practices, and prepared for the evolving role of AI in the sector. Despite the swift integration of AI tools in healthcare, and applications like ChatGPT, research on their long-term impacts, effects on users, and the necessary adaptation of skills and methodologies in the ever-evolving learning environment remains insufficient [ 11 , 12 , 15 , 17 , 18 , 49 , 50 , 51 , 52 , 53 , 54 , 55 , 56 , 57 , 58 ].

This study aims to address the intersection of AI adoption in healthcare and its implications for medical education, specifically focusing on the skills required by healthcare professionals. With the rapid incorporation of AI, into healthcare settings, there is an urgent need to reassess the digital literacy skills traditionally emphasized in medical education. This reassessment prompts questions about the ongoing relevance of these skills as AI technologies continue to evolve and expand their role in healthcare [ 13 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 ].

Research questions

Given the context, this study aims to explore the following qualitative research questions:

How does a pedagogical framework integrating problem-based learning with ChatGPT affect healthcare management undergraduates’ digital literacy skills?

What are students’ experiences with the combined use of problem-based learning and ChatGPT in their healthcare management education?

How do students perceive the shift towards AI-relevant skills as a result of engaging with this integrated pedagogical approach?


Methodological approach.

The present research adopts the case study methodology, which entails in-depth empirical research of a current phenomenon within its real-world context [ 50 ]. This approach involves collecting data on human activities within a defined time and space setting, thereby facilitating an understanding of the various processes occurring within the research case. In qualitative research, and particularly in case study research, themes are formulated from the participants’ narratives, thus allowing for the development of arguments or generalizations derived deductively from participants’ statements [ 51 ]. By focusing on our research questions and using a methodological framework that emphasizes depth and context, the study aims to shed light on the transformative impact of AI on medical education and the development of the skills required for future healthcare professionals.

The research was conducted and analyzed by the researcher, who has a PhD in Healthcare Management and over 15 years of experience in qualitative analysis. Her expertise ensures a deep understanding of the study’s qualitative data. Throughout the research, she engaged in continuous reflexive practices to evaluate how her subjectivity and context influenced the study. This included reflecting on her assumptions, considering power dynamics with participants, aligning research paradigms and methods, and understanding the research context [ 59 ].

Participants and research population

The study involved 89 third-year undergraduate students enrolled in a Health System Management degree program, specifically participating in a course on Service Quality in the Healthcare System during the 2023 academic year. The researcher, serving as the lecturer for this course, integrated writing reflective journals into the curriculum as part of the learning process. Following the course’s conclusion and after grades were distributed, the researcher asked students, in adherence to ethical guidelines, if they consented to have their reflective journals analyzed for research purposes, as outlined in the data collection section. Only students who completed all components of the intervention plan outlined for the class were considered potential participants in the research population.

From this group, qualitative data was extracted from the reflective journals of 65 students who consented to participate. The demographic breakdown of this participant subset included 80% females, with an average age of 24.26 years (Standard Deviation = 3.80).

Data collection

Throughout the course, participants were required to keep a reflective journal documenting their learning journey, to be submitted at the end of the semester. The aim of writing the journal was to capture their personal perceptions of their learning experience. They were encouraged to articulate various challenges, obstacles, and positive and negative aspects they encountered [ 52 ]. Specifically, they were asked to describe the main challenges they faced and the obstacles they overcame, and to provide an introspective account of their experiences. The practice of writing a personal journal not only served as a tool for reflection but also helped them adopt a comprehensive perspective on their educational process [ 53 ].

The credibility of the reflective journal prompts was assured by grounding their development in an extensive literature review and expert consultations within the field of healthcare education. This process ensured that the prompts accurately reflected the constructs of interest, facilitating consistent and meaningful student reflections. Content validity was emphasized to ensure the journal prompts were aligned with the study’s objectives and relevant to students’ experiences in healthcare management education. Refinement of these prompts to effectively meet research objectives was facilitated through expert input. A detailed coding scheme was developed, featuring definitions and categories reflecting the study’s aims and insights from the journals. The coding was applied to a subset of journals by the researcher to ensure credibility.

The data were collected from the reflective journals in accordance with the intervention plan outlined in the Instructional Method section. The study carefully complied with several ethical guidelines for research with human subjects. The nature and purpose of the research were fully explained to the students, with particular emphasis on the use of reflective journals to evaluate the intervention plan. The students gave their informed consent and signed consent forms. To ensure confidentiality, participants were informed that all names would be replaced by pseudonyms and all identifying details would be removed from the final research report. They were also explicitly told that the journal entries would be processed anonymously. The research was approved by the college’s Ethics Committee.

Instructional method procedure (intervention plan)

The focus of this study is a required course titled Introducing Quality into the Health System, which had formerly been taught using traditional frontal teaching methods. The study examines the transformation of this course into a course taught using ChatGPT-mediated online guided learning. This innovative learning approach provides learners a comprehensive experience that entails self-directed learning. The approach emphasizes problem-based learning and focuses on identifying ethical dilemmas and analyzing them within organizational contexts. The intervention plan was strategically organized into five primary stages. Each stage comprised a series of carefully constructed steps that were specifically designed to build upon the knowledge and skills acquired in the previous stages, thus ensuring a coherent and cumulative educational progression. Figure  1 summarizes the instructional method.

Initial Familiarization with ChatGPT

At the beginning of the course, students were introduced to ChatGPT to develop their understanding and proficiency with the tool. This involved providing them detailed instructions on effective usage and encouraging them to engage in interactive dialogues with ChatGPT. The aim was to foster a sense of familiarity and ease, thereby facilitating an informal, hands-on learning experience.

Exploratory Analysis of a Dilemma using ChatGPT

In this exploratory stage, students began to examine the topic of hospital accreditation. Through interactions with ChatGPT, they were introduced to the pros and cons of the accreditation process and to the dilemmas posed by following the accreditation guidelines. The issue of accreditation is central to the discourse on how to improve healthcare quality, but it is also fraught with challenges, such as staff shortages and funding issues. Hospitals have had to make significant changes to meet accreditation standards, leading to debates about possible abolition of the accreditation system. While accreditation is crucial for quality control, its associated costs, particularly those related to inspections and the need for additional staff, pose significant challenges. Without proportional funding, compulsory accreditation has placed financial pressures on hospitals, creating a complex dynamic for both the Ministry of Health and healthcare institutions as they navigate the accreditation process.

To explore the topic of accreditation in depth, students were instructed to develop a series of questions to input to ChatGPT aimed at extracting detailed information about the accreditation dilemma. Students engaged with ChatGPT by posing questions and critically analyzing the answers from three perspectives: organizational, healthcare worker, and patient/customer. They iteratively refined their queries to increase precision until they achieved a comprehensive understanding. Following guidelines, they condensed and reorganized the information into a structured paragraph, incorporating the core dilemmas and arguments from each perspective. To meet objectives, students demonstrated digital media skills, including locating and sharing relevant materials, analyzing ChatGPT responses, verifying sources, and assessing content credibility.

Synthesis and Documentation of Concepts Emerging through ChatGPT Interaction

In the third stage, students were required to submit a comprehensive list detailing new concepts, themes, and sub-themes that emerged from their learning experience with ChatGPT. Their submitted list was not limited to the final results, but also included documentation of all stages of their work, including their initial set of questions, their subsequent refinement of these questions, and the process of their development throughout the learning journey. In addition, they were required to provide a final section summarizing the culmination of their exploration and learning process with ChatGPT. This comprehensive approach was designed to demonstrate the students’ engagement and progression with the tool and to highlight their ability to develop their inquiries and synthesize information effectively.

Analytical Structuring of Learning Outcomes

In the fourth stage, students attempted to refine the learning outcomes they had previously generated. Following the established guidelines, their main objective was to identify and highlight the pros and cons of the various arguments related to the dilemmas they had studied, making sure to consider them from different perspectives. The challenge was to present their arguments in a coherent and logical order, for example by comparing budgetary considerations with quality considerations. They were also expected to support each argument with scientific evidence, thereby aligning their analysis with academic accuracy and empirical research. This stage was crucial in developing their ability to critically evaluate and articulate complex issues, particularly in the field of healthcare.

Final project: Integrative Analysis and multidimensional presentation

In the final stage, students developed and presented a final project, building upon their prior work to explore a comprehensive research question or delve into a specific aspect of their study. This included presenting organizational and managerial viewpoints. The choice of format and tools for their project and presentation—ranging from e-posters and slides to video clips, using familiar technologies like PowerPoint and ThingLink—was left to the students. This method fostered diversity and empowered students by allowing them to select their preferred presentation technique. Moreover, the project featured a peer review phase where students critiqued each other’s work through insightful questions and suggestions, enhancing the discussion. This interactive element aimed to bolster critical thinking and collaborative learning.

figure 1

Summary of instructional method

Reflective Journaling: documenting the Learning Journey

Throughout the semester, students kept a reflective journal, which they submitted at the end of the course. The primary aim of this journal was to document their personal learning experiences. The journal provided a window on their challenges, difficulties and successes they encountered, all viewed through the lens of their own perceptions and experiences.

Data analysis

The present research employed a deductive-inductive method for categorical analysis of the dataset. Integration of these deductive and inductive approaches was essential to facilitate investigation of predefined categories that are grounded in extant literature and theoretical frameworks, as well as to permit the discovery of novel categories that surfaced during the analysis process [ 51 ]. Initially, the deductive stage was conducted, focusing on predefined categories derived from existing literature and theoretical frameworks. Following this, the inductive stage allowed for the identification and development of novel categories based on the data analysis. The inclusion of episodes, thoughts, and feelings expressed by the students in this study serves to reinforce the reliability of the identified themes. The analysis of the reflective journals began with in-depth reading to identify initial themes from students’ narratives. Inductive coding facilitated the identification and development of themes by the researcher, rather than merely allowing them to ‘emerge.’ This active interpretation and organization of the data by the researcher led to a compilation of key insights. After ensuring the reliability and validity of these findings through careful review, the researcher then organized the codes into themes and sub-themes, ensuring they accurately reflected the data and provided a clear narrative of the students’ experiences.

The findings

The researcher’s analysis of the reflective journals actively uncovered five main categories: (1) Use of Literacy Skills; (2) User Experiences with ChatGPT; (3) ChatGPT Information Credibility; (4) Challenges and Barriers when Working with ChatGPT; (5) Mastering ChatGPT Prompting Competencies. Table  1 summarizes the identified categories and subcategories. To further clarify each category, the table includes representative quotations from the data for illustrative purposes. Throughout the manuscript, pseudonyms have been used with quotations. This approach ensures confidentiality and anonymity for all participants.

Use of literacy skills

The category comprising the use of literacy skills, the code refers to instances where participants relate literacy skills such as reading comprehension, searching evaluation of Information, etc., in their interactions with ChatGPT.

It includes three subcategories: Search Strategies and Access to Data in ChatGPT Use; Data Analysis Enhancement with ChatGPT ; and Evaluation of Information in ChatGPT Interactions Search Strategies and Access to Data in ChatGPT Use.

In the reflective journals, the students consistently expressed their high regard for the efficiency and ease of searching for and accessing information through ChatGPT. The chat interface significantly improved the process of retrieving information by removing the necessity to navigate through multiple websites or sources, thereby making the material more accessible. Furthermore, the interface’s user-friendly and accessible content format played a crucial role in significantly enhancing students’ understanding of the material. Shir wrote: The chat was super easy and helpful in making the dilemma clearer for me. It put all the info I needed in one spot, and everything was explained in a way that was simple to understand.

The analysis of the student journals underscored the remarkable proficiency of ChatGPT in rapidly and effortlessly providing information for various tasks. This technology alleviated the necessity for students to delve into multiple sources, offering a direct approach for understanding concepts, interpreting implications, and compiling data for complex issues. ChatGPT’s swift and handy information retrieval supported autonomous learning on the topic. As an accessible and user-friendly tool, it saved considerable time. Moreover, its accessibility and constant availability helped in tailoring learning experiences to fit the learner’s schedule, independent of external factors or intermediaries. ChatGPT’s use of simple, everyday language, coupled with its capacity to deconstruct and elucidate complex concepts, rendered it exceedingly approachable and beneficial for information searches and for enhancing the accessibility of educational content. Lihi also acknowledged the efficacy of ChatGPT in facilitating the rapid acquisition and expansion of her conceptual knowledge. She underscored that the ChatGPT tool obviated the need to consult multiple databases and websites for extracting conceptual information: ChatGPT is really fast and easy to use when you need info on lots of different things. It’s great for finding technical stuff, explaining problems, understanding things better, and getting new ideas on the spot. You don’t even have to go looking for more sources – it’s all right there.

Data synthesis and analysis enhancement with ChatGPT

Analysis of the reflective journals indicates that students found the synthesis, editing, and analysis of content facilitated by ChatGPT to be extremely beneficial. The tool significantly reduced the technical complexity of gathering and synthesizing information from different sources, tasks that had previously been their responsibility. As a result, they were spared the need for synthesizing, editing, and analyzing the raw data, with ChatGPT efficiently performing these functions on their behalf. Meir wrote: ChatGPT really helped us out. It gave us a full picture of the whole process, including the good and bad parts, and how to handle them. We didn’t even need to look at any other info sources at that point .

Evaluation of information in ChatGPT Interaction

The streamlined data collection procedures enabled the students to engage in more advanced learning processes, such as distinguishing between facts and assumptions, differentiating critical from non-critical information, and developing arguments as they advanced to more complex stages. The students observed that although ChatGPT presented data objectively, it did not offer explicit arguments, thus requiring them to actively interpret and formulate their own positions regarding the dilemma and identify the foundational principles for their principal arguments. For example, Miri’s reflections highlighted her need to formulate and develop a stance on the dilemma, which compelled her to engage in critical assessment of the situation:

ChatGPT didn’t really point out which arguments were more important or less important. It kind of listed them all the same way, which made me decide for myself what to focus on. I had to pick the arguments I thought were key and then find evidence to back them up.

Furthermore, the students were asked to support their arguments with evidence from the academic literature, necessitating a thorough evaluation and critical analysis of the information. This process led them to make informed decisions and formulate solutions. In their reflective journals, students documented a cautious approach, emphasizing the need not to simply accept information as it is presented. Instead, they highlighted the importance of thoroughly evaluating the information’s accuracy. Amir similarly addressed this issue, noting his necessity to independently navigate the “thinking part” and acquire the skills to construct strong arguments or effectively employ academic resources: The chat didn’t really help me figure out what’s important and what’s not when I write. It also didn’t teach me how to make strong arguments or how to use academic stuff to back up my points.

User experiences with ChatGPT

This category refers to the qualitative data related to participants’ overall experiences, perceptions, and attitudes towards interacting with ChatGPT. The theme of user experiences is divided into three sub-themes: Time Efficiency using ChatGPT; Accessibility and Availability of ChatGPT; and User-Friendly Dynamics . Overall, analysis of the students’ reflective journals reveals broad agreement about ChatGPT’s user-friendliness and ease of use. Many students noted the chatbot’s intuitive interface and straightforward functionality, which made it accessible to those who may not be tech-savvy. This consensus highlights the effectiveness of ChatGPT as a tool that simplifies information acquisition and supports learning without the typical complexities associated with advanced technological tools.

Time efficiency using ChatGPT

In this sub-category, analysis of the student journals revealed the major time-saving benefits of using ChatGPT for various tasks. ChatGPT successfully eliminated the need for students to sift through numerous sources of information. By providing a straightforward way to understand a concept, grasp its implications, and gather information on complex dilemmas, ChatGPT demonstrated its efficiency in saving students’ time. Riad mentioned the significant time efficiency gained from using the tool, highlighting how it saved him considerable time: You can find out a lot about all sorts of things really quickly. The chat gives you detailed breakdowns and explanations, sorting everything into different arguments and topics; it saves you a lot of time.

Ali also referred to this point: I was not very familiar with the details of accreditation, including its benefits and challenges, but within minutes I was able to grasp its essence and understand the importance of the whole process.

The time efficiency extended not only to data retrieval and collection but also encompassed information synthesis, significantly reducing the amount of time usually required for comprehensive and coherent processing and reformulating of acquired data. Mai observed that the time saved was also because she didn’t need to search for data across multiple sources and combine it together:

The amount of time I save is insane. If I had to search for this stuff on the internet instead of using the chat, it would take me way longer to find an answer. And even after finding it, I’d have to summarize what I found and then rephrase it in my own words, which takes so much time.

Accessibility and availability of ChatGPT

A majority of the students noted that the tool’s immediate accessibility and availability significantly facilitated the personalization of learning approaches. This customization seamlessly interfaced with the unique scheduling needs of each learner, offering flexibility that in traditional learning settings is typically constrained by external factors or intermediaries. Hana highlighted ChatGPT’s anytime, anywhere accessibility through a simple interface, enabling quick and comprehensive responses without the wait for expert assistance: ChatGPT is available to use anytime, anywhere using a simple and convenient interface. This would allow you to get a quick and comprehensive response at any time of the day, without having to wait around for people or experts to help you out.

Lina similarly noted: It’s pretty great how available it is (as long as it’s not too busy…). Any question I have, I get an answer. It saved me a lot of Google searches and reading articles and stuff. I get a quick and clear answer to everything I ask and it’s all super fast.

ChatGPT Information credibility

This category involves instances where participants discuss the credibility, reliability, and trustworthiness of the information provided by ChatGPT. Analysis of the reflective journals showed that interaction with ChatGPT facilitated students’ ability to acquire fundamental knowledge, which could then be expanded upon through subsequent inquiries and verification. Nevertheless, as students proceeded in their tasks, particularly those that required articulating arguments and substantiating their stances on complex dilemmas, they acknowledged the limitations of relying solely on ChatGPT. These limitations focused primarily on concerns about the tool’s credibility in providing sufficiently authoritative information. In this regard, Ofri appreciated ChatGPT’s quick access to information but expressed concerns over its credibility and occasional inaccuracies, leading to unexpected disappointment:

I have found that ChatGPT has a lot of good points. It can quickly give you a lot of information on so many topics and you can really use that information. But I have also learned that this tool has its drawbacks. It is not always right, and it certainly doesn’t always give you things that are based on solid academic facts. Sometimes ChatGPT just makes things up. To be honest, realizing this was a bit of a shock to me.

Students also noted that they were often faced with an overwhelming amount of information, some of which was irrelevant or incorrect, requiring them to evaluate the information and determine its quality. Dalia noted that while ChatGPT provided extensive information initially, aiding in learning about the topic, it also required discernment to distinguish between accurate and less relevant information: In the first stage, the chat gave us a lot of information, which was great because it helped us learn more about the topic. But at the same time, we had to decide which information was really important and accurate and which wasn’t.

Students’ understanding of the limitations of relying solely on the information provided to justify arguments and articulate positions in dilemmas motivated them to examine and assess its reliability. They did so by asking specific questions and consulting established academic references. From the students’ point of view, this careful research and critical evaluation process not only provided them with the opportunity to refine their powers of critical thinking and analysis, it also equipped them with the capacity to critically evaluate the credibility of the information presented. Lina wrote:

I attempted to back up the info I found with academic sources, but then I figured out that the chat isn’t always reliable…. I went through each article that I got results from…to check where is it from, and whether the author actually existed or was just made up… After that, I did another check with other databases. This whole process made me super cautious and thorough in checking everything.

The students expressed unanimous agreement that the need to assess the information provided by the chat forced them to be critical and use evaluation skills. Not only was this a skill they needed to be able to put to good use. It also constituted a challenge in using ChatGPT, as Limor stated that, contrary to reducing critical thinking, proper use of ChatGPT can enhance it by prompting users to reconsider and verify information, despite the challenge:

It might seem that using ChatGPT would make you think less because, well, it’s like chatting to a robot. But actually, if you use it properly and really get into it, it adds a lot to your knowledge and makes you think more broadly and deeper. This is because it makes you think about things over and over again, and double-check the information… it wasn’t easy.

Challenges and barriers in Working with ChatGPT

This category encompasses the various obstacles, difficulties, and limitations encountered by participants while using ChatGPT, including technical issues, comprehension challenges, and frustration. The analysis suggests that despite the students’ widespread agreement on the advantages of using ChatGPT, such as its ease of use, constant availability, and user-friendliness, its accompanying challenges should also be considered. Among these challenges are hesitation in adopting new, cutting-edge technology, difficulties in learning how to use the tool, and language barriers. The language issue was particularly significant, as ChatGPT operates mainly in English, which is not the first language of many of the students. Shir faced difficulties with English translation but viewed it as an opportunity to improve language skills, eventually becoming more comfortable with the chat and reducing reliance on outside translation help:

One big problem I had was writing in English and then translating it to express what I wanted to say. But I decided to take it on as a challenge and use it as a chance to improve my reading and writing in English. Since we didn’t have to use English much, at first it felt like it took forever to understand or read stuff. But gradually, we got the hang of the chat and didn’t need as much help with translating from outside sources.

Some students noted that they also faced some technical issues, revealing the downside of depending exclusively on online tools for studying. For many students, this was their first time using AI including applications like ChatGPT that are built on large language models. As they continued to use it, however, they became more accustomed to it. Ali found initially accessing the GPT chat difficult and, despite its ease of use, experienced issues with site access due to high traffic and occasional freezing, hindering continuous use:

When I first tried the GPT chat for my task, it was a bit tough to get onto the site. But after a while, I noticed that even though the chat is easy to use, it’s got its problems. Sometimes, you can’t even get into the chat because too many people are trying to use it at the same time, and other times, it just freezes up, and you can’t keep using it.

Mastering ChatGPT-Prompting competency

This category involves instances where participants demonstrate proficiency in formulating effective prompts and questions to elicit accurate and relevant responses from ChatGPT. Analysis of the reflective journals revealed that this theme posed a notable challenge for the students, primarily due to their unfamiliarity with the tool. Indeed, they needed to learn how to use the chat effectively to elicit the correct responses and achieve their desired outcomes. Additionally, they encountered challenges in ensuring accuracy and setting the right parameters to establish a reliable and precise database. Despite these obstacles, the students recognized that their efforts to achieve accuracy and their practice of asking repetitive questions were instrumental in developing higher-order thinking skills and being able to organize and manage the required information proficiently. Liya related to this challenge by noted that dealing with inaccurate responses from the model involves clarifying questions with more details, considering alternative answers, and emphasizing the importance of verifying the information received:

Sometimes the model may give you wrong information or answers… to cope with getting answers that are not accurate, you should make your question clearer and add more details. Also think about using different choices of answers. And it is really important to always check the answers you’re getting.

Analysis of the reflective journals showed that systematic demonstration of these activities, along with comprehensive detailing of early learning stages and the cumulative nature of the tasks, provided students the chance to assess and revisit each step retrospectively. This reflective review allowed them to seek explanations for any aspects that were unclear, ask more questions and craft more targeted prompts, and gain a deeper understanding of the entire process. Rim, for example, explained: The chat lets us get information in a series, like being able to ask another question to get a better understanding or clear up something from the first questions we asked. This helped us keep track of everything by linking all our questions together.

Nir noted that the need to aim for accuracy by repeatedly refining the questions really helped in dealing with the assigned tasks effectively:

From my experience with ChatGPT, I have learned that if you want good answers, you have to be really clear about what you are asking. You need to know what you want to achieve with the chat. It is best to give specific instructions to obtain the exact info you need. Also, you should think carefully about the answers you get, making sure the facts are right, and using your own thinking to make wise decisions.

This qualitative study examined the process of introducing and using a pedagogical framework that integrates problem-based learning with the use of ChatGPT among undergraduate healthcare management students. The study also provided a qualitative exploration of their experiences using this technology and assessed how the use of ChatGPT can shift the focus from traditional digital literacy skills to advanced AI literacy skills. It demonstrated how the use of the ChatGPT platform can be managed to encourage the development of critical thinking and evaluation skills through active student engagement. These skills are considered critical for learning and working with AI platforms.

The analysis of students’ reflective journals indicated a perception of the platform as user-friendly. Minichiello et al. [ 54 ] expand the definition of “user experience” beyond mere interaction with user interfaces to include design, information presentation, technological features, and factors related to emotion, personal connection, and experience. Students described their experience with the platform positively, citing it as an incentive for ongoing engagement.

The analysis also showed that the platform’s efficiency was significantly influenced by its high availability and accessibility, which were key factors in its attractiveness to users. This attractiveness was further enhanced by its ease of use. A critical aspect of the platform’s effectiveness was its efficiency in providing key materials in a timely manner, drastically reducing the time required to retrieve information. Users particularly appreciated this aspect of the platform as it streamlined their access to information and significantly improved their learning efficiency. The platform’s ability to deliver relevant information quickly and efficiently was instrumental in its positive reception. In an academic environment where efficient time management and quick access to educational materials are essential, the platform’s ability to meet these needs effectively constituted a notable advantage.

However, students noted initial difficulties and obstacles in utilizing ChatGPT, primarily related to data credibility. These challenges, highlighted in the qualitative data, necessitated the application of critical thinking and conducting various checks to verify the information received. This concern over the credibility of information from AI tools aligns with observations by Mohamad-Hani et al. [ 55 ], who reported similar credibility issues with ChatGPT data among healthcare professionals.

Another significant challenge for the students focused on how to retrieve relevant and accurate information. To this end, they had to refine their question formulation to extract the most relevant and accurate data from the tool. Such challenges have increasingly become a focus of academic attention due to the emerging recognition of the importance of developing prompting skills for effective interaction with platforms such as ChatGPT and other AI tools [ 19 , 20 ].

In terms of digital literacy skills, the findings of this study suggest that basic literacy skills such as locating, retrieving, synthesizing, and summarizing information may become less important as AI systems improve. Yet students still must be trained to evaluate and think critically about AI tools and what they can accomplish, especially since AI technologies like ChatGPT are not always completely trustworthy. Therefore, students need to learn how to evaluate the information these tools provide. These findings also offer some support for the notion that while digital literacy is undeniably recognized as crucial for the 21st century, especially in the healthcare arena [ 36 , 45 ], the definition of digital literacy is changing as technological tools develop. For decades, education focused on developing basic skills. Over time, however, there was a shift toward the cultivation of more complex skills involving information evaluation, synthesis, and assessment [ 56 , 57 ]. Yet as AI continues to penetrate everyday life, there has been a noticeable evolution in the forms of literacy required.

This evolution marks a transition from traditional data digital literacy, which emphasizes a basic understanding and processing of information, to AI digital literacy, which goes beyond mere data consumption to include using digital tools skillfully, understanding the nature of digital content, and effectively navigating the complex digital landscape. This shift reflects the changing demands of a technology-driven society, in which digital literacy is becoming increasingly essential for both personal and professional development [ 58 ]. As AI becomes integrated into different dimensions of work and daily life, especially in the healthcare industry, AI digital literacy will continue to evolve to meet the new demands. This will require a different set of skills, including prompting skills that allow users to better interact with AI tools [ 19 , 20 ].

These results highlight the importance of rethinking the educational use of AI tools such as ChatGPT, potentially leading to changes in future learning curricula. Without the ability to use digital tools, students are liable to fall behind when it comes to adapting to new technologies, thus limiting their ability to learn key skills. Therefore, AI tools must be taught and used in a way that supports students’ holistic learning. These findings align with those of other researchers who focus on the use of the AI platform in education [ 40 , 42 , 43 ]. Such an approach will ensure that students are prepared for the evolving challenges and opportunities of our increasingly digital world. This is especially important in the medical education field, as AI is increasingly being used in different ways to improve the accuracy of disease diagnosis, treatment strategies, and prediction of patient outcomes [ 9 , 10 , 25 , 27 ].

Given that AI technology is still developing and is anticipated to advance and become more widely used [ 21 , 22 ], the need to adapt and acquire new literacy skills is growing. As AI evolves, reliance on traditional basic skills may decline over time, underscoring the importance of learning how to effectively utilize and interact with emerging technologies. Learning to engage with AI tools such as ChatGPT from an early stage in their education can greatly enhance students’ learning experiences. This early exposure will not only provide them with a deeper understanding of these tools. It will also boost their motivation to learn how to use them more effectively, thus highlighting the importance of training students to handle such technologies proficiently. Equally important is the need to guide students through these learning processes to ensure they acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate and utilize AI tools successfully in their educational journey [ 11 ].

Limitations and future research directions

This study utilized a pedagogical framework that integrates problem-based learning with the use of ChatGPT. While the researcher focused on the pedagogical aspect, future research is warranted to compare this digitally supported activity to a non-digital equivalent and examine the impact on students’ literacy and skills. Such a comparison would make it possible to assess what the digital instrument contributes to skill development and to identify any challenges encountered.

The use of this tool across different teaching methods could also be explored to determine whether it is particularly effective for certain types of tasks or requirements. The current study focused on health management. Implementation of this teaching approach in other academic areas should be examined to assess its effectiveness in acquiring competencies in different arenas. The findings of this study highlight the need for further research into the use of AI in learning environments that focus on goal-oriented pedagogy. Such research can help in developing educational strategies that promote the skills essential for lifelong learning.

Conclusions and recommendations

In conclusion, revisiting the research questions in the context of our findings highlights the transformative potential of integrating ChatGPT with problem-based learning in healthcare management education. This study underscores how such integration not only shifts the focus from traditional digital literacy to advanced AI literacy skills but also enhances critical thinking and evaluation capabilities among students. These competencies are indispensable as AI continues to reshape the landscape of healthcare and medical education. AI is emerging as a transformative force that will fundamentally change the global landscape. Although we are still in the early stages of integrating and understanding AI capabilities, its potential to shape our future is clear. Adapting to this digital transformation, especially in healthcare, is crucial [ 4 , 6 ].

Integrating AI into healthcare systems poses significant challenges and raises many unanswered questions [ 9 , 10 ]. These issues require careful consideration and strategic planning to maximize benefits while addressing implementation complexities. The extent and impact of these transformations on the health system and its workforce remain uncertain. However, it is crucial to prepare for these changes at both individual and organizational levels. Educational institutions must update their teaching methods to meet digital demands, recognizing the critical role of educators in developing effective support strategies.

To enable healthcare professionals to integrate AI tools effectively, these tools should be introduced early in education, such as during undergraduate studies or initial professional training [ 9 , 32 , 33 ]. Hands-on experience allows learners to build confidence and understand the tools’ limitations. Additionally, AI tools and especially LLMs such as GPT and their applications, including platforms like ChatGPT, can serve as user-friendly and efficient learning aids, as demonstrated in this research. In addition, researchers should strive to develop innovative pedagogical methods for integrating these tools into different curricula, as exemplified here by the effective use of dilemma-based learning enhanced by ChatGPT. These studies should focus on determining which skills will become redundant and on highlighting essential competencies needed for AI literacy, including prompting, evaluation skills, and critical thinking, all of which are essential for effectively integrating AI and LLMs into medical education and daily practice. Participants in such studies have noted that the acquisition of such skills, particularly in the area of effective prompting, significantly improves the quality of AI responses. Similar to learning a new language, learning to use AI requires precise phrasing and an in-depth understanding of context. Not only will AI skills improve student engagement and comprehension, they will also encourage critical thinking, leading to better educational outcomes. Students who formulate well-structured search queries obtain more accurate responses from AI, which are critical to improving healthcare and learning outcomes.

It is therefore imperative that academia and higher education institutions, including medical education institutions, adopt methods for effectively guiding and training students in using AI. This approach is essential to address the evolving global educational landscape and to embrace the shift in roles. Educators should move from being primarily providers of knowledge to being facilitators of cultural understanding and skill development. Such a shift is essential to promote the transformative evolution of the role of educators in the modern educational context.

Availability of data and materials

Data are available upon request from the Corresponding author.

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