How to Be a Transformational Teacher in 2020

By Huntington Learning Center

In business, you often hear about transformational leadership, wherein leaders create a vision, inspire others to achieve that vision, and execute important change with buy-in from those around them.

So, what does transformational teaching look like? Research published in Educational Psychology Review describes transformational teaching as “creating dynamic relationships between teachers, students, and a shared body of knowledge to promote student learning and personal growth.”

Here are several tips to help you engage in transformational teaching practices that have a long-lasting, positive impact on your students:

  • Engage students in active learning. Your students should not be passive receivers of information; rather, they should be active participants in their own learning. Assign work and activities that invite them to explore ideas, analyze, synthesize, and articulate their thinking.
  • Aim for student-centered learning. Differentiate your instruction by paying close attention to students’ needs, abilities, interests, and learning styles. Give your students choices (when feasible) and autonomy. Foster their responsibility as self-directed learners.
  • Foster collaborative learning. Encourage students to work together, but also create experiences that give them opportunities to solve problems and discuss one another’s ideas. Allow your students to challenge themselves and their understanding of different concepts.
  • Whenever possible, have your students tackle complex problems independently and in small groups. Scaffold your lessons through good modeling activities, guiding them to be independent as learners.

You want to help students master content while also maximizing their potential, both in the classroom and life. Guide them, support them, and teach to them to think. The results will amaze you.

“Transformational Teaching: Theoretical Underpinnings, Basic Principles, and Core Methods” by George M. Slavich and Philip G. Zimbardo, Educational Psychology Review, December 2012

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